Area Guide: The picturesque St Michael’s village area of St Albans
PUBLISHED: 13:37 07 August 2017
Only a short stroll from St Albans’ historic city centre, St Michael’s village is perfect for those looking for a peaceful place to reside.
A walk down picturesque Fishpool Street is the ideal way to explore the area, which has Verulamium Park, Victoria Park and the Roman Theatre among its attractions.
Many of the characterful homes in the area have been uniquely named, with examples including Prigars Cottage, Rivendell and Hope Cottage. These are well kept properties and it is clear that their owners take great pride in their homes.
St Michael’s C of E is a small, popular primary school with a vilage feel. It was awarded ‘good’ for overall effectiveness by Ofsted, reflecting its appeal to local families.
One of the three churches founded by the Abbot of St Albans Abbey was St Michael’s, parts of which are believed to date back to the 10th century. Built on the Law Courts of the Roman City of Verulamium, it contains many noticeable features, including the monument to Sir Francis Bacon, who had asked to be buried in this historic church.
Verulamium Museum is the perfect place to learn more about St Albans’ history, with its recreated Roman rooms, collections of coins and well-stocked gift shop which is partnered with the British Museum.
Before the 19th century, you would have been able to locate a number of inns and shops on Fishpool Street, as well as factories which assembled straw hats, the parts of which were plaited by local women.
Located in the heart of the village is the start of the Alban trail through Verulamium Park. Made up of over 100 acres of land, this park contains some of the remains of the third largest city in Roman Britain, including large parts of the historic city wall still intact.
As well as the educational attraction of the park, visitors may also choose to visit the nearby Westminster Lodge leisure centre or the adiZone outdoor gym. For those with young families, the splash park and play area may also appeal.
Food and drink
St Michael’s Manor Hotel on Fishpool Street is one of the most highly regarded places to eat or stay in St Albans. The four-star hotel is set in five acres of beautiful grounds, and comes complete with 30 bedrooms and its own lake. The original house is more than 500 years old, and was first converted into a hotel in the 1960s. The Lake Restaurant is open to non-residents, and offers breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner in its grand indoor setting, or outside on the terrace, in the garden or by the lake.
An abundance of pubs can be found in the winding streets of St Michael’s, all of which fit in with the intimate feel of the village. The Rose and Crown is the oldest pub in St Michael’s, with beams and other character features being a constant reminder of its age. In the warmer months, the pleasant beer garden is a perfect place to relax with a cold drink in the sun. New management has saved this historic pub and allowed it to continue its legacy, serving traditional pub food in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Other pubs include the Lower Red Lion and the Six Bells.
Alongside these pubs, the popular Waffle House is a more recent addition to the village. Despite the more modern concept, the sense of history is by no means lost, with the building originating from the 16th century. The menu consists of a variety of sweet and savoury dishes, and long queues are a regular sight on weekend lunchtimes when a ‘first come, first served’ policy applies.
Verulamium is also home to the Inn on the Park cafe which provides light meals and snacks in a family friendly environment.
With fine food and a rich history set against a backdrop of attractive streets and lush green spaces, St Michael’s is the perfect place to enjoy the historic heart of St Albans in all its glory.