Area Guide: The vibrant Fleetville area of St Albans
- Credit: Archant
A thriving, family-friendly area of St Albans within walking distance of the city centre, Fleetville’s popularity is easy to understand. We found out more about this part of Herts.
It’s easy to see why London incomers feel drawn to Fleetville, with its cosmopolitan mix of shops and restaurants from around the world.
The area, which begins a short stroll down Hatfield Road from City station, feels more like the capital than any other part of St Albans, with its rows of period homes and relatively diverse community mix.
Fleetville has a couple of mosques sitting alongside its Methodist and C of E churches and its grocery shopping options are similarly varied, with the Asian Food Store and Al Barka Mini Market offering foods that aren’t available elsewhere in St Albans.
There’s also a large Morrisons supermarket and a well-stocked Tesco Express, as well as a post office, many barbers and hairdressers, a florist, an optician, a bakers and a handful of charity shops, among many other amenities.
Once a manufacturing hub, Fleetville was home to the likes of Ballito, which made stockings, and Nicholson & Co which made raincoats. The Beaumont Works building on Sutton Road was built to manufacture AJ Nicholson’s raincoats, while the houses on neighbouring Hedley Road were built as homes for the tailors who worked for him. The factory has recently been converted into flats and is now known as Beaumont Gardens.
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Fleetville is made up of a mix of housing, mostly terraced and semi-detached homes, many of which are Victorian or Edwardian. Parking can sometimes be tricky.
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From the cosy terraced houses on Albion Road to the large detached properties on Woodstock Road North, there’s no shortage of family homes on offer, but they tend not to be cheap.
Properties currently on the market in Fleetville include a three-bed semi on Royal Road for £850,000 and a two-bed terrace on Cavendish Road for £520,000.
St Albans’ main City station isn’t far away, but those living on or east of Ashley Road may prefer to cycle in as walking to the station could still take close to half an hour.
The M25, the M1 and A1(M) are very close by, meaning easy driving north and south. There are also frequent bus services along Hatfield Road and the nearby Alban Way is popular with cyclists and joggers.
Fleetville Infant and Nursery School and Fleetville Junior School were both rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted at their last inspections. The large, three-form entry schools are located off opposite sides of Hatfield Road, within a short walk of one another.
Many of the junior school’s pupils progress to the ever-popular - and also ‘outstanding’ - Beaumont School, while Verulam School (‘good) is a sound alternative for boys. A small number of girls attend in the sixth form, as part of the BeauSandVer consortium with Beaumont and Sandringham schools.
Eating and drinking
With so many pubs and restaurants along Hatfield Road, a night out needn’t mean a trip into town.
The Rats Castle is popular among locals who appreciate its strong games tradition - darts and backgammon are still played - and its refusal to be gentrified.
The Crown appeals to a wider mix of clientele, with its Sunday roasts, craft beers and weekend breakfasts.
Oasis Mediterranean restaurant continues to do well, while Nonno’s Italian and Souvlaki City Greek restaurant are a couple of popular alternatives. The Fleetville Larder and Viento café mean locals also have a couple of lovely places to grab a cuppa and a bite to eat.
Room for Dessert is a relatively new addition to the area, offering all the pudding options, from waffles to pancakes and hugely popular cookie dough.