5 things to do on a day trip to St Albans

St Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire

St Albans Cathedral - Credit: Will Durrant

St Albans is steeped in history. It is a city with plenty of places to eat and drink, and lots of things to see and do.

The city is also just 30 minutes from St Pancras International station in central London, so there is no reason not to visit St Albans for a day out this spring.

Here is five things to do on a day trip here: 

1. Explore a slice of Roman Britain

St Albans has been an important city for centuries.

When the Romans invaded Great Britain in 43 AD, they soon established the city of Verulamium on Watling Street.

Today, the remains of the Roman city can be found in Verulamium Park - which was last week transformed into a snow-covered wonderland for the filming of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequal, Wonka.

Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka during filming in St Albans, Hertfordshire

Timothée Chalamet pictured filming Wonka at a snow-covered Verulamium Park, St Albans - Credit: Terry Harris

The city's Roman Walls are free to see in the park, and a Roman Mosaic has been preserved for visitors now and in the future.

A short distance away lies the Roman Theatre of Verulamium, which still hosts open-air performances from time-to-time.

The Verulamium Museum sits between the park and old amphitheatre.

The museum holds an impressive collection, including the Sandridge Hoard - 159 Roman gold coins unearthed in 2012.

Peter Pan at The Roman Theatre of Verulamium in 2021

Peter Pan at The Roman Theatre of Verulamium in 2021 - Credit: Pavel Goneski

Most Read

2. Visit the shrine to Britain's first saint

Saint Alban was Britain's first Christian martyr.

Alban lived in Verulamium, which is near the site of today's St Albans Cathedral.

It is thought that in the early third century, he gave shelter to a Christian priest - Amphibalus - who was fleeing persecution.

Alban and Amphibalus swapped clothes, allowing the priest to escape while Alban was brought before a magistrate.

He refused to renounce his Christian beliefs and was beheaded.

The hill where he was executed became a place of pilgrimage, and today, his shrine sits at the very centre of St Albans Cathedral, which is open to visitors.

St Albans Cathedral, Hertfordshire

St Albans Cathedral - named after Britain's first Christian saint - Credit: Will Durrant

3. Stop for lunch St Albans city centre

Lunch like a local in the city centre.

A famous favourite includes L'Italiana at 3 French Row, which serves up pizza, pasta and salads for under £15.

The Beech House at 81 St Peter's Street serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, with most dishes coming in at under £12.50 before 5pm.

St Peter's Street, St Albans city centre.

Market traders still gather in St Albans city centre - Credit: Archant

4. Soak up some more Hertfordshire history

In the summer, visitors can take a look inside St Albans' famous clock tower.

It was completed in 1405 as a symbol of resistance by the people of St Albans against the power of a local abbot.

A door to the St Albans Clock Tower: "Commit No Nuisance"

"Commit no nuisance": A door to the St Albans Clock Tower - Credit: Will Durrant

St Albans Museum, which has been collecting objects and specimens since the 1890s, is nearby.

Visitors could previously stop for a drink at (allegedly) England's oldest boozer - Ye Olde Fighting Cocks - but the pub fell into administration and closed its doors in February.

St Albans Museum, Hertfordshire

St Albans Museum, which began developing its collection in the 1890s - Credit: Will Durrant

5. Grab dessert at The Waffle House

A family-run business since 1978, The Waffle House at Kingsbury Watermill is a popular dining spot.

The menu features sweet and savoury waffle - from BBQ pulled pork to pecan nut and butterscotch sauce.

There are gluten-free and dairy-free vegan waffles, as well as a bar so that every customer is catered for.

The Waffle House at Kingsbury Watermill at dusk

The Waffle House at Kingsbury Watermill - Credit: Waffle House