With lockdown restrictions lifting further next week, St Albans, one of Britain’s most historic cities, is preparing to welcome visitors back.
Just 20 miles and 20 minutes by train from London, the city provides plenty to see and do whether staying a few days or longer. Explore the Cathedral, discover Roman history, browse the independent shops and famous Charter Market, and relax in one of the many pubs and award-winning restaurants.
Here’s 10 reasons to come and visit.
St Albans is a spectacular shopping destination. Old meets new with independent shops and boutiques offering cutting-edge and unusual items set in beautiful, medieval buildings. Three large shopping areas The Malting, Christopher Place and Heritage Close play host to well-known brands and include open spaces for relaxing.
For over 500 years the legendary Charter Market has been trading every Wednesday and Saturday, attracting locals and visitors from far and wide. Come rain or shine, traders offer everything you could want or need including fresh produce, diverse artisan goods and world foods.
The city has played a significant role throughout history; the site of England’s most important Roman settlement, the home of Britain’s first Saint, Alban, and the scene of the first battle in the War of the Roses. Continuing to make its mark, more recently Stephen Hawking was a student at St Albans School, one of the oldest public schools in the world.
Thanks to over 100 restaurants, bistros, pubs, cafes and coffee shops, St Albans is the perfect place for food lovers. There is something to suit every taste from award-winning restaurants such as Thompsons, the only 3AA rosette fine-dining restaurant in Hertfordshire, to food stalls at the weekly markets offering dishes from around the world.
If you like your pint with a bit of character, St Albans is your place! As an historic inn-keeping city, it’s no surprise St Albans has the most pubs per square mile in the country, and is home to England’s oldest pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. Dotted amongst cobbled streets and residential roads venues offer food and drink, live music, sport – all served with a smile.
Year round the city hosts events and festivals for everyone. Celebrate food at the month-long Food & Drink Festival, sample a carnival atmosphere at the Alban Pilgrimage, swing by for the George Street Gin & Jazz Event, and celebrate Christmas at the Christmas Street Festival.
Indoor and outdoor fun is all around; Verulamium Park has a splash park and children’s playground, the Alban Way is a safe place for kids to cycle or scoot, there is soft play, two museums in the city centre, a cinema and many family friendly restaurants, it’s easy for families to fill their days!
With over 100 acres of parkland in the city centre, you don’t have to look far for fresh air, nature and a slower pace. Venture a little further afield and there are fantastic walking trails and cycling routes leading visitors through picturesque countryside, native woods and meadows.
This spectacular cathedral has been the centrepiece of the city for centuries. An impressive landmark it stands on the site where Alban, Britain’s first Saint was buried over 1,700 years ago. This Norman Cathedral is a treasure trove of history and a must-see on any visit.