Why should you retire to Hertfordshire?

Given that Hertfordshire is a beautiful county with acres of countryside, a wealth of historic mansions set in glorious parkland and so many opportunities to enjoy an outdoor life, the question is why wouldn’t you want to live in Hertfordshire?

Written by

Sheila Frampton

Bustling market towns provide plenty of places to shop from designer boutiques to High Street names and café-bars, traditional pubs and restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets.  And, for a day’s retail therapy or an evening in the West End, Hertfordshire’s location mean you’ll soon be in London by rail or road.


Is Hertfordshire a good place to retire?

Hertfordshire is a great county to retire to – there’s always something to see or do from visiting stately homes set in beautiful parkland to spending time at wildlife parks, shopping, browsing round galleries or relaxing in the theatre or cinema.

An older couple walking together followed by a lady and her dog
A man playing golf on a putting green

Is the Hertfordshire countryside accessible?    

Much of Hertfordshire is designated Green Belt so, living here, you’ll discover miles of unspoilt countryside, ancient woodland and hills where you’ll be able to walk, ride or cycle.

On the borders of Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire, about 2 miles north of Berkhamsted, you’ll find the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Extending over 324 square miles, this area offers breath-taking views over sweeping chalk hills, rivers and streams, grassland, heath and ancient woodland accessed by a network of footpaths and bridleways.

Ashridge Estate is surely one of the most beautiful places to visit in Hertfordshire, set amidst the Chiltern Hills, the estate comprises 5,000 acres of beech and oak woodland known as the Ashridge Forest. Here the woodland along with the commons and chalk downland, support a rich variety of wildlife.  Visit the Bridgewater Monument for the best view of the estate – open weekends in the summer months – or Ivinghoe Beacon -  a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  Pitstone Windmill is also worth a visit.  Open on Sundays during the summer months, it’s a rare example of an early form of post mill.  There’s also a visitor centre, a shop selling gifts and local produce and the Monument Café at the Ashridge Estate.

Near St Albans, the 858-acre Heartwood Forest provides miles of beautiful woodland to explore on foot or by bike.  Owned and managed by the Woodland Trust, it is famed for its pockets of ancient bluebell woodland, old hedgerows, wildflower meadows and open grassland as well as wonderful bird life.  A network of paths, including a public footpath and two bridleways, provide access to the forest for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.

If you enjoy sports – including white-water rafting, golf or cycling, the 10,000-acre Lea Valley Park follows the River Lea through Hertfordshire close to Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Hoddesdon.

Where can I go for a day out in Hertfordshire?

The St Albans Museum + Gallery and a pop-up florist


Image above: St Albans Museum & Gallery.

Hertfordshire has a wealth of beautiful towns, stately homes, gardens and museums to visit - far more than we could possibly include here.  Should you move to a Hertfordshire town, you will want to make the most of the fantastic days out that surround you. The following are just a few suggestions you may enjoy by yourself, or with family and friends:

The best Hertfordshire towns to retire in

Retiring to Harpenden, Hertfordshire

One of the smaller Hertfordshire towns, Harpenden is a very popular place in which to live – in fact, it was listed as one of the ‘Six Best Places to Live in Hertfordshire’ by ‘Good Move’.

Located close to the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Harpenden offers the perfect balance of town and country. 

Much of the town is set within a conservation area (one of the largest in the country) and it’s a pleasure to spend time in the leafy town centre, with its host of coffee shops and cafes.

Redclyffe Place is well located to make the most of the town, should you choose to retire to a Beechcroft development.

A fountain in a square in Harpenden

Retiring to St Albans, Hertfordshire

This cathedral city is home to world-class heritage attractions, delightful shopping streets, plenty of places to eat and drink from alfresco cafes to award-winning, fine dining restaurants. 

There are acres of open green space in the town centre and the arts, culture and entertainment scene is thriving. 

Three large shopping areas host well-known retail brands but you’ll find plenty of designer shops and boutiques – and regular farmers’ markets.

Central St Albans

Retiring to Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

Known as the place where the Norman invasion ended in 1066, Berkhamsted is steeped in history and the ancient castle is just one of the reminders of the town’s rich heritage. 

Modern day visitors are attracted by the town’s attractive conservation areas, the shops and boutiques and the charming ‘café-culture.’ It is also home to the beautiful Ashridge Estate, featuring a beautiful carpet of bluebells in the springtime. 

The bluebells at Ashridge Estate

Retiring to Tring, Hertfordshire

Surrounded on almost all sides by the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Tring is a centre for arts, for nature lovers, for walkers, natural history fans and for supporters of small independent shops and restaurants because, whilst there are fewer popular chains in Tring than nearby Berkhamsted, the independents are thriving.  

An obelisk near Tring, Hertfordshire

Retiring to Welwyn Garden City

It’s impossible not to include the UK’s second ever garden city in our list of favourite towns in Hertfordshire. 

This is a town planned to combine the best of town and country living – and it does just that. The town, surrounded by open space and greenery, boasts three golf courses, a sports centre with a 50-acre site, a dry ski slope and an Olympic style velodrome. 

There’s a John Lewis in the town centre and the Howard Centre Shopping Mall is home to an array of familiar High Street names.

What are Hertfordshire’s transport links like? 

Hertfordshire’s transport links couldn’t be better.  Depending on where you are in the county, trains run into King’s Cross, Euston, St Pancras, Moorgate or Liverpool Street and you’ll find the transition from city to country is a swift one. 

  • If you prefer to drive, the M1, A1 and M25 will get you into and around London and beyond – and the county is also served by the A10 and M11.  For travelling further afield, Hertfordshire is home to Luton airport. 
  • Trains to Euston travel from Tring (38 minutes), Berkhamsted (30 minutes), Hemel Hempstead (26 minutes) and Apsley (29 minutes).
  • Trains to St Pancras and London’s Thameslink Stations travel from Harpenden (36 minutes) and St Albans (31 minutes).
  • Trains to Moorgate travel from Hertford North (43 minutes) and Cuffley (36 minutes)Trains to Kings Cross travel from Royston (38 minutes), Baldock (37 minutes), Letchworth (29 minutes), Hitchin (29 minutes), Stevenage (22 minutes), Knebworth (23 minutes) Welwyn North (20 minutes) and Hatfield (24 minutes).
  • Trains to Liverpool Street travel from Hertford East (51 minutes) and from Ware (47 minutes).
A sign post with bunting on it in a small village

Best retirement homes in Hertfordshire

Redclyffe Place, Harpenden

This exclusive retirement community features just 9 new homes including 4 two-bedroom houses with studies and 5 one, two and three-bedroom apartments with private terraces, gardens or balconies. Three of the new homes have been created within a listed villa and the remaining six newly-constructed homes have been designed to complement the period property.

View the development
Redclyffe Place, Harpenden

Redclyffe Place

Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2QF

3 homes currently available from £975,000

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