St Albans by Air 4 Mar 2019
On a gorgeous summer’s day in 2018, filmmaker Ben Bryant flew his camera drone above and around St Albans, shooting some of our most popular landmarks and hidden gems. Here’s what was filmed:
Alban is Britain’s first Christian martyr, who died for his beliefs in the third century AD. For over 1700 years, pilgrims have prayed on this hillside, on St Alban’s Day, 22 June, when his story is celebrated and re-enacted. The Cathedral and Abbey gateway – once a prison and now part of St Albans School – are the last remaining parts of the ancient Benedictine monastery.
Pubs of St Albans
As a long-established coaching town, St Albans has always been well-served by characterful pubs and inns. By Verulamium Park you’ll find Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, the oldest pub in Britain, dating from 795AD. Nestled amongst the terraced rows of Fishpool Street is the 17th Century Lower Red Lion. And in Market Place at the centre of St Albans is The Boot, where the first battle of the War of Roses took place outside its front door in 1455.
Landmarks through the centuries
A few steps away from The Boot in Market Place is St Albans Clock Tower. Completed in 1405, it’s the last remaining medieval belfry in the UK. On summer weekends, visitors can climb the 93 narrow steps up to the roof for spectacular views of St Albans and the surrounding countryside. Another summertime jewel is the lovingly restored St Albans South signal box. Originally built in 1892, it’s tucked alongside the modern railway that these days can whisk you into London in less than 20 minutes.
Green spaces to greengrocers
It’s always worth taking a stroll through Verulamium Park. The River Ver and ornamental lake are home to herons, kingfishers, and even a family of terrapins. Further into the park are remains of the Roman wall that encircled the city 2,000 years ago. On the other side of the park is Kingsbury Watermill, now home to the popular Waffle House restaurant.
It’s short walk back to Market Place, where 600-year old Tudor buildings are joined twice a week by the stalls of St Albans Street Market, the oldest continuous one in the UK. It dates back to the 9th century and has held a royal charter since 1553. Over 160 traders sell everything from fresh fruit and veg to things that you never knew you needed until you see them!
Discover more of St Albans
Also in Market Place is the new St Albans Museum + Gallery. Occupying the old town hall, it has been completely redesigned and refurbished to provide the city with a cultural focus that takes in local history to contemporary art. It also has one of the quirkiest cafes in Britain, taking up the Victorian courtroom.
Wander through the ancient streets and lanes that lead from the centre of St Albans to the Cathedral and beyond, you’ll discover independent businesses new and old – from charming coffee shops to a cinema restored to its art deco glory (and named in honour of local resident Stanley Kubrick).
As you can see, St Albans is worth at least a flying visit. And if you have longer, then you’ll find even more to charm, intrigue and delight you. We’d love to see you here soon.
Film made by Life’s Lost Luggage