Area Guide: The pretty Hertfordshire town of Hertford

The River Lea, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO

The River Lea, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

It may have a rich agricultural history dating back to the 10th century, but these days Hertfordshire’s county town is best known for one thing: being the childhood home of George Ezra. We found out more about the Shotgun singer's native land.   

A market town with a population of around 26,000, Hertford lies at the confluence of four rivers - the Beane, Rib, Mimram and Lea (or Lee). 

The River Lea, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO

The River Lea, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Along with the rest of East Herts, it was crowned the best place to live in the UK in Halifax’s 2020 Quality of Life survey. Strong exam results and excellent health and happiness scores combined to give the local authority area top ranking. 

Property 

Hertford is home to many historic buildings the oldest of which is the Norman St Leonard's Church, which dates back to the early 12th century. 

Parliament Square, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon)

Parliament Square, Hertford (Picture: Karyn Haddon) - Credit: Archant


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The most expensive home currently for sale in the town is a £1,795,000 farm house set in 1.5 acres on North Road. Another stand out property is a two-bed penthouse apartment in The Mansion, Balls Park, priced at £700,000, while a more modest two-bed terraced house on The Copse could be yours for £346,000.  

According to Rightmove, the overall average price for property sold in Hertford over the last year was £477,154.  

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History 

Grade I listed Hertford Castle is located in the centre of town, in beautiful grounds by the River Lea. Elizabeth I was a regular visitor. 

Hertford Castle, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO

Hertford Castle, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Only the gatehouse remains of the original Norman building, which is now a popular wedding and corporate hire venue. 

Hertford Museum houses more than 100,000 objects, including archaeology, fine art and social history collections, among others. 

It’s also home to the Addis company archive, which includes the UK's largest collection of toothbrushes. Addis was based in the town for more than 70 years until the 1990s. 

The Moat Garden, Hertford Castle, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO

The Moat Garden, Hertford Castle, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Schools 

There are many great primary schools in Hertford, including Abel Smith School, which was rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted at its last inspection. 

Richard Hale School and The Sele School are both 'good' secondaries, while Simon Balle All-through School ('outstanding') teaches children from primary through to sixth form. 

George Ezra went to Bengeo Primary School (‘good’) followed by Simon Balle and Hertford Regional College.  

Transport 

Hertford is around seven miles east of the A1 (M), with Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield just beyond. 

It has two train stations - Hertford East, connecting to Liverpool Street, and Hertford North, with trains to Moorgate. 

Food and drink 

Maidenhead Street, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO

Maidenhead Street, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Popular local eateries include Giambrone's Italian deli and coffee bar and the imaginatively-named Alley Katsu Japanese restaurant. For more of a high-end dining experience, there's Herts foodie favourite, Lussmanns. 

Locals love the Millstream pub's beer garden and rave about its great roast, while Mudlarks - a charity supporting adults and young people with learning disabilities - has a great café on Railway Street, selling veggie and vegan fare. 

Sport and leisure 

Parliament Square, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO

Parliament Square, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Hartham Common is a large open space immediately north of the town centre, flanked by the Rivers Beane and Lea. 

Along its southern edge, the Lea leads to the Hertford Basin and weir, the former of which is home to several residential boat-owners. 

Herts Canoe Club is based across the weir, while Hartham Pool and Leisure Centre is a few minutes away. 

The Common has two play areas and a skate park while a cycle route runs along its southern edge. 

To the north of the Common are Sele Farm Bowls Club and Hertford Tennis Club, a public tennis court and two new 3G football pitches. 

The Warren is a popular area of woodland offering fantastic views. 

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

There is also a trail running around the edge of Hartham with a selection of exercise equipment. 

Football is also regularly played here with both matches and training taking place at weekends. 

The sprawling 1,000-acre Panshanger Park lies to the west of Hertford, 200 acres of which are open to the public. 

Parts of the Grade II* listed open space, which is popular with walkers and nature lovers, were landscaped by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. 

The town is also home to the Hertford Theatre, with its film screenings, comedy shows and annual panto. 

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