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A hidden treasure: Hertford Castle

There was once an impressive Norman keep in the middle of the town of Hertford in Hertfordshire. Now all that remains is its gatehouse, an imposing red-brick structure rebuilt during the 16th and 18th centuries. Queen Elizabeth I spent much of her childhood here, hidden from view by its 12th century flint and stone wall. Hertford Castle is now a hugely popular wedding, events and corporate venue; its stunning grounds are open to the public.

Hertford's historic past

The town of Hertford dates back to the 8th century and is worth a visit by those who enjoy historic architecture. Although the castle is the obvious destination, it's possible to see the site that Parliament moved to during an outbreak of the plague in London in 1563, a Robert Adam-designed shire hall and links to the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail at St Andrew's Church.

Local lives at Hertford Museum

No visit to the area is complete without a trip to Hertford Museum, which is located in a 17th-century town house featuring a Jacobean-style garden to the rear. Objects on the ground floor include exotic animals, fossils and Japanese armour, while the first floor concentrate on the history of the town and its residents. Looking for a cheap hotel Near Hertford Castle? Try Travelodge Hatfield Central Hotel, Travelodge Cheshunt Hotel or Travelodge Harlow Central Hotel, which are all under 10 miles away.