My Neighbourhood | Henry Lytton Cobbold on Knebworth

Henry Lytton Cobbold, current resident of Knebworth House, gives us the lowdown on his favourite places in his neighbourhood….

HOME IS…
Knebworth House – for 526 years. My family moved to Hertfordshire in February 1490, from the village of Litton in Derbyshire. We’re the 19th generation of the Lytton family to live in this beautiful place. Now the kids have left home, it is just me, my wife, Martha, Oscar the Great Dane and 100,000 visitors.

Knebworth House
WORK IS…
The easier bits of managing a demanding historic house and busy leisure venue… my indefatigable wife, Martha, does all the difficult bits! I am also a writer and am currently writing the biography of an ancestor, Emily Bulwer Lytton,whose open coffin we found in the family mausoleum.

FAVOURITE PLACE TO SPEND A RELAXING SUNDAYOscar the Great Dane, Knebworth House
Sundays are often our busiest day, but I have to say that nothing beats a bracing walk in beautiful Knebworth Park and Woods, followed by a cuddle deep in the sofa in front of an old movie with my wife – although Oscar the Great Dane usually gets there first.

MOST MEMORABLE MEAL YOU’VE HAD LOCALLY…
That has to be the Wilde family’s Charity Ball last November in Knebworth Barns, in aid of the Breast Cancer Unit at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Welwyn Garden City. The food was delicious, the setting was stunning, a brilliant amount of money brilliant amount of money was raised – but most fun was partying with all my teenage idols from the 1980s, including Ricky and Kim Wilde, Steve Norman from Spandau Ballet and Nick Heyward from Haircut 100… that dates me!

FAVOURITE SPOT FOR SOME RETAIL THERAPY…
My weakness is old record stores and book stores, so I head to David’s Music in Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City, or the charity and vinyl shops in Middle Row that runs parallel to the High Street in Stevenage Old Town. My last purchase was another copy of my favourite album cover, Doppelganger by Kid Creole and the Coconuts. I’d already got it, but how can you not buy such a thing?

BUILDING YOU’D MOST LIKE TO LIVE IN…
I’m living in it. However crumbling and expensive, it is so important our old historic buildings are lived in and loved – if not, we lose them and the stories they tell. What’s more, the stories themselves stop.

FAVOURITE LOCAL DISCOVERY…
Martha and I love visiting local heritage sites that we are not responsible for! Favourites are Stotfold Watermill and Nature Reserve in Hitchin, the National Trust property Shaw’s Corner near Welwyn and visiting the snowdrops at Benington Lordship Gardens in Stevenage (they hold a great Chilli Festival during the August bank holiday weekend). They are all unique local gems to be treasured.

FAVOURITE PLACE TO SOAK UP SOME CULTURE…The Rex, Berkhamsted
Being a screenwriter by training – Martha and I began our married life in Los Angeles – I always enjoy a trip to the pictures. I particularly like cinemas that retain some character, like The Odyssey in St Albans and The Rex in Berkhamsted.

BEST SPOT FOR A FAMILY DAY OUT…
The easiest question of all! There is no better place for a family day out than Knebworth Park – there’s something for all the family. I know it’s my job to say that but, like I said, my bit of the job is easy because this is a special piece of our heritage and a lot of hard work goes into making this answer 100% true.

 

Images courtesy of Knebworth House and The Rex Cinema.

Would you like to shout about what makes your neighbourhood great? If you’d like to be featured, please email us atinfo@exclusivemagazines.co.uk 

 

 

 

 

 

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