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tried & tested

When there are so many places to choose from it's hard to know where to visit! In good or bad weather, with very young children or older teens, activity venues or quiet walks, every venue will offer something different with a variety of facilites available. We will add our thoughts on places that we have Tried & Tested so that you are well-informed before you make your decision to leave the house!

Crawling through caves at HYMB


Having exhausted all the free or budget options during the summer holidays I had a look at our Holiday Clubs & Classes section and clicked on Other Activities. I searched for something active for 10-11 year olds that was in budget and not too far away. Bingo! Caving sounded ideal. The weather isn’t as hot as it had been so long-sleeves and trousers weren’t going to cause heat exhaustion! 

We headed to Herts Young Mariner Base (HYMB) in Cheshunt, about half an hour away and found it easily. They have their own car park so it was all very straight forward. We were buzzed into the centre and met by a friendly older chap who was rounding up the children who were lucky enough to be on a holiday camp there all week. My two boys aged 10 and 11 (12 in a few weeks) were signed in and off they went. If I’d been on my own I could have settled into the sofas upstairs overlooking the training lake where some children were learning to kayak but I had a 3 year old to entertain. I’d noticed a park as we drove in so we headed off for the 90 minutes to explore.

The boys however, had such a great time that they were very happy to write the review and this is what they wrote:

“I recently visited the HYMB to go caving. Although it was a man-made cave with tunnels and not prehistoric I really enjoyed it! It involved lots of crawling and today (a day later) my right knee has a few bruises – a small price to pay for extreme fun. The inside of the cave had fake fossils implanted in certain stages and we were taught which were which e.g. ammonites. The hardest part was the tiny “mousehole” we had to squeeze through. All in all it was a great experience. Something you have to do at least once in your life, unless you live under a rock! (Get it?!)” Jack, 11 and ¾

“My experience at HYMB caving was really fun. When we arrived, we were asked to climb through 3 practice holes. After that we went into the caves. At first, we weren’t allowed our lights on just so we could get used to the dark. Once we were deeper into the tunnel we could turn our lights on. We went through all the tunnels and the second time round we went without the instructor! We made it and I really enjoyed the caving experience.” Oli, 10.

The HYMB also offer kayaking & canoeing, sailing, archery, climbing, paddleboarding and bushcraft for ages 8+ years.

For more details visit Herts Young Mariners Base.


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