Find out more about drop-off points, parking, access and restaurants which cater for groups.
St Albans is a unique English Cathedral city, full of hidden gems and quirky treasures. Just 20 miles north of London, there is plenty for groups to see and enjoy. This year we’re gearing up for a programme of new events and festivals, as well as a major investment in the city’s major attraction – so it’s the perfect year to visit:
The summer will see the 11th-century St Albans Cathedral embarking on a new stage of its life with the opening of a new welcome centre, educational centre for school children, an adult study centre and library and a compelling new presentation of the story of Alban, Britain’s first saint. The £7 million project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, also includes a schedule of events, improved access, and an Interpretation Scheme to offer a more engaging visitor experience. To celebrate the opening, there will be a city-wide Roman-themed festival – the Alban Festival – from 21st to 30th June.
Find out more about the Alban, Britain’s First Saint project on the St Albans Cathedral website
St Albans Museum + Gallery, which opened after a £7.75 million redevelopment last June – has proved to be a great addition to the city, attracting 190,000 visitors in its first seven months, far exceeding first-year expectations.
The first major exhibition to kick off the 2019 season at the Museum + Gallery is the Barbara Hepworth: Artist in Society 1948-53 exhibition, which will be free for all visitors to enjoy. Exhibiting at the museum + gallery from 23 March-8 September, the collection of work by one of Britain’s most acclaimed artists has been curated by UHArts, and explores a short period in the life of one of Britain’s most celebrated artists. The exhibition introduces sculptures, drawings and archival material, reuniting works that have not been seen together since they were first created.
There’s plenty to see and do all year-round in St Albans.
St Albans has 2,000 years of visible history within easy, walkable reach. The city is well known for its Roman remains: The Roman city of Verulamium (now the site of St Albans’ Verulamium Park) was the third-largest town in Roman Britain and was burned and destroyed by Queen Boudicca and her army in AD60, but it doesn’t stop there.
The 11th Century Cathedral is built on the hallowed ground where Britain’s first Saint, Alban, died. It was at one time the principal Abbey in England and was the location of the first meeting (in 1213) which ultimately led to the sealing of the Magna Carta (in 1215). The Cathedral also has the longest nave of any cathedral, including St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey.
You can visit the oldest working medieval Clock Tower in the country, the only Roman Theatre in the UK, and St Albans’ pub Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest pub in the country.
St Albans has the oldest public school in Britain where Pope Adrian IV, the only Englishman to occupy the papal chair, and scientist Stephen Hawking were educated.
On the Saturday nearest St Albans Day – 22 June – history comes alive with the Alban Pilgrimage as the city re-enacts the last few hours of St Alban, with spectacular carnival puppets, Roman chariots, lions and centurions.
St Albans is the perfect place for shopping, with a historic Charter Market every Wednesday and Saturday and many independent shops, including award-winning fashion and gift shops, as well as all of the high street stores. The market was granted a Royal Charter in 1553, and is still bustling today with 150 stalls selling a wide variety of goods. There’s also a street food section selling delicious dishes from all over the world!
St Albans Museum + Gallery showcases the City’s history and culture with cutting edge art and historical exhibitions which change regularly and St Albans Film Festival celebrates film with dozens of events and outdoor cinema next to the Cathedral.
St Albans is the home of the Campaign for Real Ale, with many historic hostelries, including Ye Olde Fighting Cocks – the oldest pub in Britain! The city has a host of independent cafés and restaurants with something to suit every taste. St Albans is gearing up to host its eleventh annual Food and Drink Festival, which will put great British hospitality heritage at the heart of the festival in this historic cathedral city. The St Albans Feastival takes place on the first Sunday of the festival, with dozens of food stalls and free live music and entertainment.
The de Havilland Aircraft Museum is the oldest aviation museum in the UK dedicated to the preservation and display of de Havilland Aircraft, and St Albans South Signal Box is the only preserved Midland line box adjacent to a mainline railway, just a couple of hundred meters from St Albans City station.
We have a team of tour guides, all qualified to either Blue Badge or Green Badge level within the Institute of Tourist Guiding, who all have a comprehensive knowledge of local history and guiding techniques. And there’s a fantastic selection of themed tours that will help your group get to know the city and all of its history. Visit their website stalbanstourguides.co.uk for full details.
By road: St Albans is close to the M1 (junction 6), A1(M) and M25 (junctions 21A and 22), making it easily accessible from all parts of the UK.
For public transport options, see our how to find us page.
There is coach parking available at various sites around St Albans city centre.
The main coach parking areas are:
There are toilet facilities by Verulamium and Westminster Lodge car parks.
See our coach parking page for details of other options.
If you'd like to cover more ground, there are some fabulous nearby options for twin centre tours. Why not spend half a day in St Albans enjoying the Cathedral, Roman history or shopping, and then move on to one of these places?
Just a short drive from St Albans city centre a family- run, award winning Garden Centre founded by the pioneering Roger Aylett in 1955 has been the recipient of 40 Gold Medals from the Royal Horticultural Society for the cultivation of Dahlias. From June to September you can enjoy a stroll through the Celebration Garden and Dahlia Field for inspiration and relaxation!
The Autumn Festival in September is a colourful extravaganza when a Marquee becomes home to delightful displays of the cut Dahlias, a joy to behold! The bounty of British orchards is celebrated on the Apple Weekend in October and their Christmas Spectacular which opens in early October is full of magic with festive treats and gifts galore. With an all-weather plant area, coffee house and gift shop Aylett Nurseries is truly an all year Destination Centre where a warm welcome awaits you.
Facilities: Free Parking; Free Wifi; Disabled facilities; Outdoor seating; Coffee shop; Gift Shop and Gift wrapping service
Tel: 01727 822255
Hatfield House is the home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury and their family. With stunning examples of Jacobean craftsmanship throughout the house and a number of gardens and attractions to explore there is something for everyone. Group visits are welcome during their visitor season which runs from mid-April to late September. It is essential for groups to pre-book and pre-pay to secure the group rate. This should be done through the Visitors Department at Hatfield House (details below).
Facilities: Coach drivers with groups visiting the House and Garden are admitted free of charge and will receive a complimentary meal voucher.
Tel: 01707 287010. Email: email@example.com
Just half an hour from St Albans is Knebworth House. The romantic exterior of Knebworth House with its turrets, domes and gargoyles silhouetted against the sky does little to prepare the visitor for what to expect inside. The House has stood for many years longer than the Victorian decoration suggests and the stucco hides from view a red brick house dating back to the Tudor times. The Gardens at Knebworth are delightful throughout the season. The 28 acre formal gardens include a maze, colourful borders, fine trees and a wilderness area.
Facilities: Free admission ticket to group organisers (bringing a minimum of 20 paying guests) and there is a meal voucher for the coach driver on open days when the Garden Terrace Tea Room is open to the public.
Tel: 01438 810931
Visit Woburn Abbey and Gardens to discover the history of Afternoon Tea, enjoy priceless treasures, uncover fascinating stories and stroll through beautiful gardens. Begin your visit with a two-mile drive through the deer park, where nine species roam freely.
Facilities: Free admission for a pre-visit recce for group organisers, as well as a number of other benefits.
Tel: 01525 292101
Find your way around with our handy map. Click on it for a more detailed version.
For any additional information, please use the contact details below.
There are many restaurants in St Albans, with these particularly geared up for large groups.