Civilised, Peaceful and Austere.
The ‘New Town‘ of Hatfield might not be the most rural of destinations that you could visit within the area, but it’s classy modernist architecture and (relatively) small population makes it a great go-between the isolated villages in the local area and the larger towns of St. Albans and Watford.
Historically, there has been a settlement around the area since 970, however it wasn’t until the construction of Hatfield House that the town as it’s known today began to truly take shape. Back in those days the construction of houses had a massive effect on the local economy. Where before there might have simply been just a handful of hovels and a few fields, the building of such a stately home would have done a lot to attract people from far and wide.
Hatfield House created an economy and town around it, simply by existing. The house hired people to till the land, to guard the grounds and to build more supporting structures – not to mention hiring a whole retainer of staff to keep the house in tip-top condition. If it wasn’t for the building of Hatfield House, there would certainly be no Hatfield – a town that is still a joy to visit to this day.
Where to Walk
Whilst you might have to trundle for a while to escape the bustling centre of Hatfield, it won’t take you long to bump into a few quality paths which can take you off and away into the surrounding areas. Your easiest and most direct escape from the centre is by following the old railway line away from the town. This charming, straight path is in good condition and is relatively safe for younger kids. Walk to Hill End Lane and then dive down Hixberry Lane to discover The Plough, a nice little pub with a great children’s play area.
Where to Stay
If you’re staying longer than a few nights then it’s worth checking into one of a handful of Hatfield’s quality chain-owned hotels. Whilst you might not be able to relax in the kind of boutique B&B environments that are fashionable right now, you can at least guarantee an affordable, clean stay at a minimal cost. Straying onto sites such as Airbnb is not recommended as you will risk a night’s sleep in a sub-par room which might still cost you an arm and a leg.
Where to Eat
There’s not a huge range of food options in Hatfield, however the establishments that they do have produce their food at a good standard and at a decent price. Try a classic donner kebab or delve into something a little more adventurous at Turkish Kitchen, where the food is always beautifully presented.
f you fancy something a little more traditional then you can head to The Red Lion for affordable pub grub with a decent pint. Lastly, you can always count on Bengal Spices, a well-run authentic Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant which also offers takeaway delivery, if you’re feeling a little lazy.
What to Do
This one’s a no-brainer really, the ultimate Hatfield-based attraction is Hatfield House – the stately home that laid the groundwork for the town itself, as well as being the home for numerous high-ranking members of British aristocracy over the years.
It’s been reported that Elizabeth I first discovered about her ascension to the throne whilst staying in the Old Palace at Hatfield House, some even say that she held her first Council Meeting there. Regardless of the rumours, it’s still a great place to come and visit, especially if you’re looking to fill a whole day.