Hemel Hempstead

The first written record of Hemel Hempstead appears in the 8th Century, although its proximity to the Roman town Verulamium (now known as St Albans) indicates that it was probably occupied long before that date. St Mary's Church was constructed in 1140 and is now regarded as one of the most complete pieces of Norman architecture extant today. Its 200 foot tall spire is one of the tallest in Western Europe and towers above the Old Town.

The remainder of the town's history lies this side of World War II, with the area being designated a "new town" and used as an overspill for the rapidly growing London population. One of the notable results was the 'Magic roundabout', a somewhat unfathomable traffic measure, designed to cope with the sudden influx of people and traffic. The town is now a thriving centre with great shopping, international cuisine and a keen sporting community. It is also a popular stopover for travelers to and from Luton airport.


St Mary’s Church - The Church can be found off the High Street in the Old Town. In addition to the spectacular spire there are intricate mosaics and stained glass to take in. Lunchtime organ recitals and art exhibitions take place here in addition to the regular services and bell ringing.

Leisure World - All the most popular indoor activities are on offer in this vast complex at Jarman Park. If cinema, bowling, swimming, and ice-skating are not enough, there are fast food restaurants, a bar and two nightclubs. The Aquasplash indoor pool has a themed Aztec Tropical Jungle, a spa pool and various slides and rides. An athletics track and 180 metre dry ski slope are located next to the complex.

Bingham's Park Farm - The most 'accessible' parts of farming (petting animals and riding on a tractor) can be experienced here 364 days a year. Special children's activity workshops take place in the school holidays.

Whipsnade Wild Animal Park - Whipsnade is a more exotic but less hands-on zoological experience. Visitors can observe the animals on foot or aboard the Jumbo Express Steam Train.


Marlowes Shopping Centre has a mixture of outlets from department chains to small local retailers. In addition customers are given incentives such as the opportunity to be spotted by a model scout, or push their children in a car-trolley hybrid. The slightly smaller Riverside Centre has more specialised music and clothing shops. For shopping with a bit more character the Old Town High Street has plenty of antique stores and pubs. The covered market has antiques on Wednesdays, a general market Thursday to Saturday. A monthly Farmer's Market takes place at Tring.

Nightlife and Eating Out

The centre has a good range of restaurants and even more takeaways. The Old Town has British and Indian restaurants offering good food and service although they tend to be very busy at weekends. Alberto's is the most popular choice for Italian with fish and game available from a hand-written menu.

The Old Town has plenty of pubs that tend to become very busy at the weekends. The 'twin-scene superclubs' Lava and Ignite at Jarman Park Leisureworld are fairly large and extravagantly lit. The music is a mixture of garage and dance from the last 15 years, except fortnightly Saturdays which see a giveaway hosted by Big Al. There are several clubs in the Marlowes including Indy Jax which has live music and open mic nights.

Tourist Information

Dacorum Information CentreMarlowes Shopping CentreHemel HempsteadHP1 1DT Tel: 01442 234 222Fax: 01442 230 427stephanie.canadas@dacorum.gov.ukwww.dacorum.gov.uk


London Luton Airport, formerly Luton International, is 12 miles from Hemel Hempstead and has long and short-stay parking facilities. An hourly bus service runs from Hemel Hempstead in addition to a free shuttle bus between Luton Airport Parkway Station and the airport terminal. Flights are available to a many major European destinations, a large proportion of which are run by low-cost airlines.

All car hire locations in United Kingdom