Celtic Harmony Camp near Hertford is a place you may have come across when your children have visited on a school trip as they’re a pre-history education centre. I recently discovered that they also open for family fun days so we went along to check it out. This review of Celtic Harmony was of their Easter holidays event, so the actual activities you do on your own visit might vary slightly.
Let’s start with the s****y bit!
Just a heads up – they have composting loos here. The kids think this is cool; “gross but cool” kinda cool. I was less taken with the idea. TBF it’s not actually as bad as it sounds, and the most unpleasant part is putting the toilet seat up and down – all felt a little bit close to the action for my liking. (I’ve just realised I’m actually pulling a face whilst typing this!!). It’s also worth pointing out that there’s no running water inside the loos, including for hand washing. That all has to be done in the sinks outside.
They are actually installing new, “normal” toilets at the moment but I’m not sure when they will be ready. For now you’re just pooping into a pit (as the boys so delightfully put it!)
There are a total of seven roundhouses at Celtic Harmony which, apparently, makes this the largest Iron Age village in the UK. Obviously, they’re not original but they’re still pretty cool. The biggest house is the Chieftain’s house. Inside it looks like we probably all expect a roundhouse to look like – big fire, smokey, tools etc.
There are a couple of the roundhouses that you can eat in and there are some that you can hire to stay overnight in! It’s certainly a lot sturdier than the last place I went glamping at, and you get to go on a guided bat walk.
Because we were visiting Celtic Harmony for the Easter family fun day the majority of the day was spent taking part in our quest. There was a trail to follow and we had a couple of craft activities to do along the way. We also had to solve a few riddles and then, if we got them right, we’d win a small prize. The crafts we did were making a fairie wand and decorating a dragon egg. We also had to find as many dragon eggs as we could.
Finally we went on a mammoth hunt. And a sabre tooth tiger hunt. And a bear hunt. Turns out I wasn’t very good at throwing spears but I managed to bag a few! The boys were much better than I was so we had a couple of rounds.
Once we’d done all of that there was also den building and their small woodland area to explore. Several times a day they do a talk about pre-history, the people and their weapons. The talk was REALLY interesting. They’ve got some replica swords and spears. They demonstrate flint knapping which the boys thought was epic. We’ve obviously watched FAR too much Horrible Histories in this house so we already knew a lot of what was said, but we still found it interesting.
Den building area
I’m not sure if it’s because of covid, or to keep things fair, but besides each main pole there is a full den-building kit of perfect branches and leaves etc for coverage. That meant a lot less faffing around to find the “perfect branch” but, at the same time, it also meant we didn’t have the fun of finding good branches! We were very proud of our dens by the end!
The future for Celtic Harmony Camp
There are some big changes coming to Celtic Harmony Camp, although they’ve been slightly delayed by covid. In the not too distant future there will be a brand new prehistory exhibition opening. This looks like it’s going to be absolutely brilliant. There’s already life-size stone age cave, complete with cave paintings. During lockdown they’ve been using this as their virtual classroom.
There’s going to be a partial roundhouse where they can do some of the demonstrations and talks indoors if the weather is bad. The rest of the exhibition will be about key parts of pre-history such as Boudica, Stonehenge and Skara Brae. I spent most of the day singing the Boudica song from Horrible Histories whilst we were here!
It’s still very much a work in progress. It was supposed to be finished in 2020 but we all know how 2020 worked out for everyone! Hopefully it will be ready in later 2021 / 2022.
Whilst we were doing this review of Celtic Harmony camp I got to talk to lots of the staff. It was really clear that the people who work here are very passionate about all things pre-history, and that they genuinely enjoy their jobs. It might be because they’d only just reopened after lockdown 3, but they all seemed really enthusiastic.
The family fun session that we attended cost £10 per person (including adults). They have to be pre-booked via the website.
Parking / How to get there
Address – Brickendon Lane, Brickendon, Hertfordshire, SG13 8NY
There is plenty of free car parking onsite.
See above! For those of us who prefer more traditional comforts, new loos will be available very soon.
Because it is a conservation site they don’t allow you to bring your own food. There is a range of hot and cold food available to buy, although the range is currently more limited than normal. When we visited Celtic Harmony Camp we ordered hog roast baps with apple sauce for £7.00 each. A portion of chips was £4.00. The quality of food was good and those baps were massive!!
As well as tables in the round houses there’s also a large, covered picnic area.
Our Celtic Harmony Camp review
The main reason I had booked our visit to Celtic Harmony is because Middle Child missed out on the school trip he would normally have had because of lockdown. When I saw they did the family fun sessions it seemed a great way to make up for that. From the description on the website I had assumed this would be a full day activity but it really wasn’t. After about 3 1/2 hours we really had done everything that we could. I was a bit disappointed about that, but that’s more that my expectations were wrong rather than it’s a bad place. The staff here really were brilliant, so passionate. I wish I enjoy my real (aka non-blogging) job as much as they do!
Whilst I can understand why they don’t let you bring your own food, but it did significantly add to the cost of the day. If I’d know that we wouldn’t have been there all day then maybe I would have booked a different time slot and had our own food.
It isn’t the cheapest place to visit, particularly when you add in food, but it is quite different from anything else you can do locally. I’m glad we went, and we had a really good time. I would consider doing another event there, but it’s not the kind of place you go back to time, after time, after time.
Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with our three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook