Area Guide: Hertfordshire’s county town, Hertford

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:33 02 May 2018

The Old Barge, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon)

The Old Barge, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon)

Archant

Rich in rivers and rail links into London, Hertford is a pretty, historic place to be.

Parliament Square, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon)Parliament Square, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon)

20 miles north of London, the East Hertfordshire town of Hertford is the point at which the Rib, Beane and Mimram rivers join the Lea.

The market town has a population of around 26,000, many historic buildings and a good selection of independent shops.

It is also home to the Hertford Theatre, with its film screenings, comedy shows and annual panto.

Local resident. Catherine Wright, is happy in the town. “Where we live is very quiet, leafy and pretty,” she says. “I love that I can walk to most places and that Hertford has a friendly feel to it.”

The Folly, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon)The Folly, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon)

History

Grade I listed Hertford Castle is located in the centre of town, in beautiful grounds by the River Lea. Elizabeth I was a regular visitor. Only the gatehouse remains of the original Norman building, which is now a popular wedding and corporate hire venue.

Hertford Museum has in excess of 100,000 objects in its care, in collections covering everything from fine art to archaeology. It also houses ‘the largest collection of toothbrushes in the UK’ courtesy of the Addis company archive, a manufacturer that was based in the town for more than 70 years until the 1990s.

Hertford Castle (Picture: Karyn Haddon)Hertford Castle (Picture: Karyn Haddon)

Property

There is a wide mix of housing in Hertford, with the average property selling for £430,999 last year, according to Rightmove.

Most of last year’s property sales involved terraced houses, which sold for on average of £416,507.

The River Lea, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon)The River Lea, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon)

Prices were 3 per cent highter than 2016 and 22 per cent up on 2015, when the average selling price was £353,605.

Homes currently on the market in Hertford include a five-bed detached house on Warren Park Road for £1,750,000 and a two-bed flat in a Victorian conversion at Newland Gardens for £365,000.

Schools

The River Lea, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon)The River Lea, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon)

There are many great primary schools in Hertford, including Abel Smith School, which was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted at its last inspection. Richard Hale School and The Sele School are both ‘good’ secondaries, while Simon Balle All-Through School (‘good’) teaches children from primary right through to sixth form.

Transport

Hertford is around seven miles east of the A1 (M), with Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield just beyond.

The Old Barge, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon)The Old Barge, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon)

It has two train stations - Hertford East, connecting to Liverpool Street, and Hertford North, with trains to Moorgate.

Catherine commutes from Hertford North and says passengers “will always get a seat” on the service, which takes 45 minutes to reach Moorgate. “Trains are regular at peak times on weekdays,” she adds. “It’s a shame they only go every 30 minutes on weekends and after 9pm on weekdays. Hopefully that’ll change. They also currently use some of the oldest trains in the network!”

Sport and green space

Hartham Common is a large green space north of the town, mostly surrounded by water.

It is home to Hartham Leisure Centre, with its gym, pool, exercise classes, tennis court and football pitches.

Hertford Lawn Tennis Club is also based on the common, offering everything from social play to team tennis and coaching, while Herts Canoe Club also has its clubhouse on the common.

Food and drink

Popular local eateries include Giambrone’s Italian deli and coffee bar, Old Siam Thai restaurant and, for more of a high end dining experience, there’s Herts foodie favourite, Lussmanns.

Locals love the Millstream pub’s beer garden and rave about its great roast, while Mudlarks - a charity supporting adults and young people with learning disabilities - has a great café on Railway Street, selling veggie and vegan fare.

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