St Albans location guide

History

St Albans Cathedral dominates the city's skyline from every approach and was once the principal abbey of England and the place where the first draft of the Magna Carta was drawn up. Formally an abbey it was designated a cathedral in 1877. Two battles of the war of the roses took place in St Albans in 1455 and 1461. The St Albans mediaeval clock tower is one of only two similar towers in England with the original bell still in situ.
St Albans was a rural market town and a pilgrimage site before the 20th century plus the first coaching stop for travellers going to and from London which accounts for its many inns dating back to Tudor times. Following the Second World War St Albans was expanded to house the redistribution of people out of greater London. The city today shows evidence of buildings from all periods of its history providing interesting and varied housing and has been a popular filming location for programmes and films such as Foyle’s war, Inspector Morse, Porridge and the film Birthday Girl plus many more.

Transport

St Albans has two railway stations the City station and St Albans Abbey station located to the south of the city. The City station is part of the main Bedford to Brighton line, and the Abbey station is a single track line to Watford Junction.
St Albans City Centre is well connected on the local bus network with services from North London, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, Luton and Watford, as well as routes to the city’s suburbs and outlying shopping areas. 
St Albans is well served by road with the M1 and M25 Motor ways in close proximity to St Albans 
Luton airport is just 11 mile from St Albans 

Culture 

St Albans offers a thriving cultural and night life, with regular concerts and theatre productions held at its many venues including, St Albans Abbey, Trestle Arts Base, Maltings Arts Theatre, the Alban Arena and the Abbey Theatre. It has many resident choirs and Orchestras providing performances throughout the year.
There are two museums Verulamium Museum and the Museum of St Albans.
The Watercress nature reserve is by the River Ver and is managed by the Watercress Wildlife Association. St Albans has several green areas where you can walk and relax including Bricket Wood Common, Clarence Park, Rothamsted park, Sopwell Nunnery and Verulamium park. 

Shopping 

St Albans has speciality boutiques and independent retailers alongside the major stores and international names, making the city a unique shopping destination. The twice weekly street market generates additional interest to shopping in St Albans in addition to the great range of restaurants, cafes and pubs. Shopping in St Albans is refreshingly different. 
The Maltings Shopping Centre has a range of high street stores plus some speciality and independent shops, St Peters Street and Christopher place are packed with interest and atmosphere 
Farmers Markets take place around the district each month, in St Albans and Harpenden, where you can buy delicious local produce. Harpenden, five miles north of St Albans, has a spacious High Street with a diverse selection of shops and a great variety of pubs and restaurants.

Events

  • The St Albans and Harpenden Food & Drink Festival showcases the fantastic range of food, drink and produce available throughout St Albans District.
  • St Albans is the home of CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) and every September CAMRA organises the biggest beer festival in Hertfordshire with up to 300 different British real ales.

Sports

St Albans is home to a vast range of leisure facilities from sports centres, golf, horse riding and fishing with some beautiful walks and cycling routes. In December 2007, Sport England published a survey which revealed that residents of St Albans were the 10th most active in England in sports and other fitness activities. 

Education

St Albans has 24 state primary and 9 secondary schools, in addition to 3 independent schools. Further education establishments include Oaklands College and St Columba’s college 
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