Villages and hamlets

Beyond the city of St Albans, there is plenty to explore, stretching from the pretty town of Harpenden in the north to the surprisingly green Bricket Wood in the south, including Bricket Wood Common which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The area offers a wealth of villages, good pubs, beautiful walks, historic churches and family attractions such as Shaw's Corner and the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre.

Bricket Wood

Bricket Wood is an 'island' community surrounded by green fields. In 1889 the Grays set up the famous Woodside Retreat Fairground within the village which was very popular attracting hordes of visitors to the village. In 1923 another fairground was set up called Joyland. The fairgrounds closed in 1929. In the 1930's, the village became popular for naturism, with two sites still remaining today: Five Acres Country Club and Spielplatz.

Chiswell Green

The name 'Chiswell' is derived from 'chisel', used in place names for gravel or shingle, both of which, over the centuries have been quarried from this area at least since Roman times. The hollows in St Julians Wood, Greenwood Park are reputedly the remains of a quarry. In the late nineteenth century the village consisted of a forge facing onto Watford Road and surrounding farmland. The old forge and 15th century house eventually became a public house around 1854 and is now known as The Three Hammers.


Harpenden, five miles north of St Albans, has a spacious High Street with interesting shops and a variety of pubs and restaurants and fine open spaces. Rothamsted Park (see Enjoy the Outdoors section) hosts a variety of sporting activities and the Common features ponds, picnic areas and a nature trail. Harpenden's Information Point is based at the Town Hall. The Harpenden Farmers' Market (see Shopping section) takes place on the fourth Sunday of each month.

London Colney

London Colney to the south of the city lies on the old coaching route from London. The historic centre of the village is along the River Colne, which passes under the seven-arched bridge built by James Hill and Francis Carrack in 1775. The church and village green provide a peaceful setting in contrast to the nearby shopping centre.


Redbourn, named after the River Red, retains its country village atmosphere with shops and ancient pubs. Just behind the High Street lies the Common, site of Hertfordshire’s first recorded cricket match in 1666. The lovely old church of St Mary is set in picturesque Church End. Also the restored Redbournbury Watermill (see Attractions section) is open on selected days, with the chance to study the industrial heritage or take one of many walks in the surrounding countryside


The pretty village of Sandridge, with historic St Leonard’s Church, lies between St Albans and Wheathampstead. Around one mile to the north is Nomansland Common. This was one of the areas frequented by Lady Katherine Ferrers, the notorious ‘Wicked Lady’ highwaywoman who was to meet her end near this spot.