Area Guide: The popular Hertfordshire town of Bishop's Stortford

Bridge Street, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOO

Bridge Street, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Bishop's Stortford is an affluent Hertfordshire market town on the Essex border, four miles from Stansted Airport. 

Despite its proximity to London and status as a commuter town, it has a surprisingly rural feel, which attracts those who want both the convenience of commuting to the capital and a quieter country lifestyle. 

It’s also something of a hub for nature lovers; the River Stort runs through the middle of the town which makes for a pleasant stroll. 

Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOO

Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

History

The Romans established a small settlement in the area and what's now the centre was home to an Anglo Saxon town, which the name Stortford was derived from. The prefix 'Bishop' was added when the town was sold to the Bishop of London in 1060.


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However, the oldest standing structure in the town is the Grade I listed Church of St Michael, whose baptismal font dates back to the Norman invasion of Britain. The town is also home to the Grade I listed ruins of Waytemore Castle and a number of Tudor houses.

Waytemore Castle, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOO

Waytemore Castle, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

In the medieval and early modern period, Bishop's Stortford was a significant market town, making it an important stop on the road from London to Cambridge. The market continues to run to this day.

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Property

According to Rightmove, properties in Bishop's Stortford had an overall average sale price of £457,719 over the last year.

Homes currently on the market range from a £2.3m detached house in a gated development to a one-bed top floor apartment in a period conversion (£189,995). 

Church Street, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOO

Church Street, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Schools

A major draw for parents wanting to move to Bishop's Stortford is the quality of the schools, with several ranked 'outstanding' by Ofsted. These top performers include St Joseph's Catholic Primary School and Windhill21 and, for secondary age pupils, St Mary's Catholic School and The Bishop's Stortford High School. 

Food and Drink

The town is home to a number of independent cafes, bars and restaurants, from the highly rated Shadhona curry house to Gourmeturk, a Turkish restaurant located in the Grade II* listed Tudor pub, the Boar's Head. 

Bridge Street, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOO

Bridge Street, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Skew is another popular bar and restaurant, offering the taste of the Mediterranean coast from a prime spot overlooking the River Stort. 

The Horn at The Half Moon Inn is the place to be for live music and the sister pub of St Albans' own The Horn. 

Travel

Bishop's Stortford is located by the M11 between Cambridge and London, and is the nearest large town to Stansted Airport.

Trains take just under 45 minutes to get to London Liverpool Street, making it a popular commuter town.

Leisure

Bishop's Stortford's town centre offers plenty of shopping opportunities, with two weekly markets and a monthly farmers' market, plus the likes of Jackson Square with its mix of big-name brands and independent cafes and boutiques.

Potter Street, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOO

Potter Street, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

The town is also home to the Rhodes Arts Complex, named after controversial imperialist Cecil Rhodes, possibly the most famous person from Bishop's Stortford. It houses a 300-seat theatre, art gallery and museum with exhibitions on Rhodes' life and the history of the town.

Sworder’s Field and Castle Gardens provide two skate parks, tennis courts and a paddling pool among other amenities, while Southern Country Park is a 23 hectare green space with play area, fishing pond and plenty of picnicking spots. 

Another popular attraction is the Cammas Hall Farm, where families can pick their own fruit during the summer months, go on a walking trail or tackle a maize maze.

This area guide is sponsored by Frost's, who have offices in St Albans, Marshalswick, Wheathampstead and Harpenden...

This area guide is sponsored by Frost's, who have offices in St Albans, Marshalswick, Wheathampstead and Harpenden (www.frosts.co.uk/branches) - Credit: Archant



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