Area Guide: Baldock
- Credit: Archant
This historic market town in the north of Hertfordshire is made up of varied architecture, including Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian buildings on its bustling High Street.
It is 33 miles north of London, 15 miles south-east of Bedford and 14 miles from Hertford.
An impressive Art Deco-fronted Tesco used to be an underwear factory and is apparently the oldest listed building in Baldock.
The town enjoyed a £2.8m investment in 2008, as part of a district council scheme to create more open space and improve town centre parking. This has contributed to Baldock’s increasing popularity, with average house pricing costing around a third of a million pounds.
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Baldock has a wonderful mix of services, retail outlets and places to eat, drink, socialise and experience art, history and culture. There is a lovely amount of independent retailers within easy reach of more commercial chain stores and supermarkets, meaning a good range of products are readily available.
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The Knights Templar School is a government-funded academy, serving children of secondary school age, with a ‘good’ Ofsted rating and sixth form, based in Park Street.
Hartsfield Junior Mixed & Infant School, Clothall Road, is described as a happy caring over-subscribed school rated ‘good’ by Ofsted at its latest inspection.
St Mary’s School, St Mary’s Way, has infant and junior schools and delivers a Christian ethos.
Baldock is beside the A1(M) and is one of the county’s oldest settlements, marking the intersection of two ancient roads; Icknield Way and the Great North Road (A1). The prehistoric Icknield Way is thought to be the oldest road in Britain, extending from Buckinghamshire to Norfolk.
Baldock railway station is on the Cambridge Line and is located on the outskirts of Baldock on Station Road. It runs two trains an hour to London King’s Cross and two an hour to Cambridge.
There is a comprehensive bus service from Baldock and taxis are available.
The closest airport is London Luton Airport, which is about 11 miles away.
Food and drink
The town has a long tradition of brewing which continues, with the difference being the malt for ale that made Baldock wealthy was replaced with apples.
Handpicked cider apples from local orchards are free from synthetic chemicals - a hallmark of Apple Cottage Cider, which is a family business, producing cider from the town for more than 15 years.
It is sold at The Orange Tree - a 330-year old pub in Norton Road, which won North Herts Campaign for Real Ale Pub of the Year. The traditional inn also stocks ales from Buntingford Brewery, as the landlord is keen to support local businesses.
If you want award-winning meat, look no further than Chapmans butcher, High Street, which was given the accolade of East of England Butcher of the Year and came runner up in the Countryside Alliance Rural Oscars’ national finals.
Specialist food outlets also include Days of Ashwell - a popular bakery next to the butcher - and a well-loved deli/café called Delizia, which is on Whitehorse Street. It serves Italian treats and specialises in cheese, paninis and gelati.
The George - formerly The George and Dragon - was renovated recently. The 15th century building was given a total makeover and now boasts a café area with casual seating and a smart modern airy restaurant.
Sport and leisure
Facilities for sporting activity include a football pitch with pavilion and clubhouse, in Bakers Close, a BMX bike run and play area (junior and senior), in Bush Spring, and a basketball court in Nightingale Way. Play areas are also situated in Chiltern Road, Ivel Way and Pryor Road.
Knights Templar Sports Centre is a modern dual-use facility in Baldock. It has ample parking, an air-conditioned 42-station fitness room and Technogym ‘Excite’ equipment.
There’s also a dance studio, a range of fitness classes, a spacious sports hall and a variety of sports on offer, including five-a-side football, basketball, badminton, indoor cricket, netball and gymnastics.
An all-weather pitch is available for hire for outdoor sports, along with outdoor grass football pitches and outdoor tennis and netball courts.