St. Albans

As the oldest town in Hertfordshire St Albans has loads to. Growing from an iron-age settlement to one of the largest towns in Roman Britain (Verulamium), the town fell into decline before being re-established around the market and abbey. The town’s two heydays are celebrated by the extensive Roman remains and the towering cathedral. More modern features of interest include the swimming centre, watermills, museums and great shopping. It is made accessible by two train stations and its close proximity to the M25, and M1 motorways. The annual festival in June and July celebrates the city’s vast artistic, cultural and historical heritages. Many more low key events take place throughout the year owing to the active craft community, with many workshops holding open days and classes. The amount of green space close to the centre makes a day trip here far more bearable, although these areas tend to be taken over by the city’s youths by early evening.


The Cathedral and Abbey Church is an opposing and yet intriguing building. From the peaceful grounds to the intricate stone and glasswork of the interior and a history that spans over 1500 years, there is more than enough to justify taking one of the guided tours. There is also a gift shop and tea shop manned by the cathedral’s team of diligent and incredibly helpful volunteers. The cathedral also hosts regular concerts and organ and choir recitals.

Built atop Roman remains, the Verulamium Museum consists of a series of rooms intended to give an impression of what their ancient equivalent might have been like and what aspect it would play in Roman life. The recently opened 'hypocaust' showcases a great Roman achievement, central heating. The steam chambers and decorated mosaic floors have been careful excavated to be viewed from this new building, a short walk from the main museum site. The Museum of St Albans skims over the city’s history with exhibits ranging from helmets to crisp packets.

The 100 acres of Verulamium Park is home to the above museum and a modern leisure centre complex, complete with swimming pool. The lake provides great bird-watching and duck-feeding opportunities, and attracts model boat enthusiasts. Sporting facilities include a 9 hole golf course, tennis courts and paddling pool. The carnival, fairs and fireworks displays also take place here.


Given the current trend of homogenising all city centre’s to maximise the number of mobile phone and coffee shops, parts of St Albans are very refreshing. The steep walk up Holywell Hill is a great way to take in the city’s vast number of independent craft, toy and antique shops. The street market takes place Wednesday and Saturdays, offering everything from decent cheap vegetables to enormous towels with nude women emblazoned on them. The centre also has the expected chain shops housed in two shopping centres.

Nightlife and Eating Out

The cathedral quarter has some great tea shops and small restaurants. The more mainstream areas offer a vast choice of Italian, Thai and Greek food of varying quality. The highly acclaimed Japanese restaurant Sukiyaki holds a Michelin star, offering fresh clean flavours with regular cheap lunch deals. More expensive options such as Café Rouge can be found on Holywell Hill although for similar prices, larger and equally good portions can be found in any of the 'Gastropubs' in the surrounding area. There are 2 main nightclubs in St Albans, Adalaide’s and Batchwood, neither of which are very appealing. The latter has recently been refurbished to resemble New Look (it already shared punters and soundtrack). Vega Restaurant and The Alban Arena both have live concerts. There are a number of vibrant, renovated clubs popping up which provide a far safer and more entertaining evening.

Tourist Information

Tourist & Information CentreThe Town Hall, Market Place, St Albans, Herts, AL3 5DJTel: 01727 864511Fax: 01727


The nearest airport is Luton. It is 15 miles by road and there is a free shuttle bus from Luton train station to the airport. Ryanair and easyJet both fly from here to various destinations across Europe and North Africa.

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