St Albans’ has a great ‘café culture’ with tea shops and coffee houses, as well as excellent food and drink with many real ale pubs and traditional inns. There’s a twice weekly market in St Albans, monthly farmers’ markets and an annual Food and Drink Festival.
At the Maltings Shopping Centre, you’ll find fashion, jewellery and cosmetics by well known brand names. Cathedral Place is home to beauty and hairdressing salons, fine jewellery, fashion, interiors and gifts. Hobbs, LK Bennett, Links of London and the White Company are just a few of the stores in Christopher Place whilst, amongst the shops in St Peter’s Street, there’s a branch of Marks & Spencer, Boots the Chemist and Waterstones.
When you’re all ‘shopped out,’ you will be glad to discover St Albans’ has a great ‘café culture’ with tea shops and coffee houses, many of which are housed in St Albans’ historic buildings. St Albans is known for its excellent food and drink with many real ale pubs and traditional inns including The Boot Inn and Ye Old Fighting Cocks, the oldest pub in the United Kingdom
If you’re cooking at home, there’s a twice-weekly market in St Albans, monthly farmers’ markets and an annual Food and Drink Festival to celebrate the best local produce. If you’re eating out, there is so much variety that choosing may prove difficult – with French, Italian, Greek, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Indian and modern British cuisine offered by a host of restaurants from small and cosy to slick and modern.
The best known and well-loved restaurants include Loch Fyne, Brasserie Blanc and Prezzo. The Waffle House is popular as is St Michael’s Manor Hotel where you can enjoy lunch, afternoon tea or dinner overlooking the garden and lake.
The city was named for Alban, Britain’s first Christian martyr and today the Abbey bearing his name welcomes visitors from all over the world. The Romans played an important role in the city’s history and, set within a 100-acre park, the Verulamium Museum houses a collection of remarkable artefacts that chronicle life in the Roman era. Just a short stroll across the park is the Roman hypocaust and the mosaic that covers it; the only remaining remnants of a Roman town house which once occupied this site. Much of the city’s architecture, including the clock tower and the romantic ruins of the Tudor mansion built on the site of Sopwell Nunnery, dates from the medieval period.
The latest addition to St Albans’ attractions is an impressive new museum and art gallery soon to open within the Georgian Town Hall. Just a couple of miles outside St Albans, Redbournbury Mill, a historic working watermill, produces organic, stoneground flours and delicious breads. In Redbourn, a former steam-powered silk mill, once used as a tea-packing factory, has been transformed into a village museum. The fascinating collection of artworks at Gorhambury House, built for the 3rd Viscount Grimston in the late 1700s and still home to the family, is certainly worth a visit. For those who love the outdoors, over 850 acres of land at Heartwood Forest are being transformed into the largest native forest in England – a place to walk, cycle ride or take part in events such as annual summer festivals, woodcraft demonstrations and woodland yoga. Friends and family of all ages will love exploring the delights of Hatfield House, set amongst woodland and parkland, just eight miles from St Albans.
Within easy reach of Maryland Place is Batchwood Golf Course and Sports Centre on Batchwood Drive. When you’ve finished making the most of the 18-hole parkland golf course, there’s a 49-station gym along with indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Verulam Golf Club is the home of the Ryder Cup: Samuel Ryder, Captain of the Club and supporter of early professional golf, donated the Ryder Cup in 1926.
For keen cricketers, St Albans Cricket Club offers all standards of cricket in a fantastic setting. Just around the corner from Maryland Place in Waverley Road is St Albans Sports and Bowls Club, a multi sports facility offering tennis, table tennis, a cycling club, bridge and darts and a lively social calendar. There’s also a good choice of local gyms including a Fitness First at Christopher Place and a Nuffield Health, Wellbeing and Fitness Centre on Highfield Park Drive.