Taking a stroll through History…
If you’re thinking of taking a visit to Hertfordshire then St. Albans should certainly be top of your agenda.
Although this quaint Roman town might not be on top of many tourists’ wishlists, there’s a whimsical charm to it’s curious planning, along with plenty of historical landmarks that demand to be seen.
Being an early Roman settlement, one of the first built in Britain, the town is bristling with points of interest; for this reason a bracing walk around St. Albans, stopping off for a spot of tea or even a nice pub lunch, can easily fill up a day or two. Spend a couple of nights in this quirky English city and you’ll have the chance to explore it’s other attractions, such as the classically Victorian, Clarence Park or the 8th Century St. Michael’s Church.
Where to Walk
Head to EnjoyStAlbans.com to find a handy city map and trail guide that will take you on a circular route starting from the Visitor Information Centre. On the way you’ll see a preserved Roman Mosaic, the iconic Abbey Gateway and the Marlborough Almshouses.
Where to Stay
A quick peep on Airbnb will unearth a number of spare rooms that you can choose to lodge in, if you’re looking to save money and spend most of your time out and about. However, trawl the internet a little further and you’ll soon find a number of quirky places to stay that might cost you a little more, but will no doubt improve your stay immeasurably.
At the top of the bill is St. Albans’ very own country retreat, Sopwell House. This 17th Century country home turned hotel is the closest that you’ll come to truly living in the history of the town. It sits in it’s own grounds on the edge of the town, making it feel like a true respite from the bustle of the city.
Fancy something a little more laid back and cosy? Fleuchary House, on Upper Lattimore Road, is a comfortable B&B experience that caters to both couples, as well as families. The owners of this place have taken their experiences of owning a luxury lodge in Perthshire and transplanted those hospitality to St. Albans. Ideally located in the centre of town, it makes for a great starting point for walks in and around the city – plus their full English breakfast is possibly the best to be had in St. Albans.
Where to Eat
Like most English cities, you’ll be able to find all manner of cuisine in St. Albans. However, before you think about dropping in at one of the cities many fine restaurants, such as Thai Rack or local favourite Devdas, you should plan a visit to one of the city’s oldest pubs.
The Boot has been serving the best cask ales to St. Albans for centuries now, with the pub first opening it’s doors in the 14th Century. Today it remains as one of the city’s most popular venues, with live music, bombastic food and carefully sourced beers drawing a crowd in seven days a week.
If you’ve got a full day ahead of you, however, and don’t quite fancy starting your day with a pint of ale, then you can always drop in to Abigail’s Tea Room for a light snack and a cup of tea. The English Tea Room is a concept that is often copied but never truly emulated and Abigail’s, with it’s tiny sugar cubes and quaint china crockery, is a perfect example of how charming they can really be.
What to Do
Whilst there’s plenty of historical sights to take in on your walk around the city, there are a handful of other attractions that are well worth a visit if you’re considering spending more than a couple of days in St. Albans. The Pioneer Club, is one of the oldest skate parks in the UK whose historical roots lie during WW2, by the 1960s a purpose built hall had been erected to create a venue for live music and by the 1990s it had been gutted and transformed into a place to skate.
For those wanting to keep their feet on solid ground, The Odyssey is a unique, art-deco cinema experience that has to be seen to be believed. Channelling the early days of the cinema, the seating arrangement utilises a now-defunct tables and chairs setup that will certainly please vintage lovers.