Area Guide: perched on the edge of Harpenden, Southdown offers its own series of attraction and property, a stone’s throw from St Albans

The Plough & Harrow pub

The Plough & Harrow pub - Credit: Archant

Scenic Southdown embodies semi-rural living at its best.

Entering Southdown

Entering Southdown - Credit: Archant

Local Authority / Property

Southdown sits on the edge of Harpenden, tucked away between the busy train station and vast common grounds. Some fine examples of post-war architecture can be found here, set amid numerous 19th century brick houses and pretty green spaces. A picturesque bay fronted detached Edwardian villa is currently available through John Curtis (to buy at £1.65m).


Southdown - Credit: Archant


From playtrails to a friendship garden, pupils benefit from a rich outdoor learning environment at The Grove Infant & Nursery School. It has recently expanded from a 2.5 to 3 form entry, accommodating the growing demand for school places in the area. The Grove shares its open unenclosed grounds with a linked junior school nearby. Southdown is extremely well served for schools, especially if you’re looking for a top state primary. Founded in 1920, St Dominic Catholic Primary School is rated as ‘outstanding’ by schools watchdog Ofsted. Last year an impressive 100 percent of year six students gained a level 4B or above in reading and maths. There are three successful secondary schools in the area: Roundwood Park, Sir John Lawes and St George’s School.

Harpenden Cycles in Southdown

Harpenden Cycles in Southdown - Credit: Archant

Sports & Leisure

A whole host of recreational activities are available to visitors and residents alike. You can feed the ducks on the Common at Southdown Ponds, have a picnic in Hay Field and then explore the old clay mines at Brickle Dells. Golf is a popular sport in the area. There is an 18-hole golf course on the edge of Harpenden, accessible to private members and visitors on arrangement.

Cafes and stores in Southdown

Cafes and stores in Southdown - Credit: Archant

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Transport Links

Southdown is connected to St Albans in the south by the 657 bus route and Luton in the north via the 714 bus route. Major road links include the M1 and M25. The nearest airport, London Luton, is roughly three miles away. Main line trains will get you into London swiftly from St Albans.

Through the park, to the shops

Through the park, to the shops - Credit: Archant

Landmarks and History

The ribbed skew arch Midland Railway bridge is Southdown’s iconic tribute to Victorian railway engineers. It is famous for its extreme skew angle of approximately 65°. A local gastropub in the area is named after this impressive landmark.

Amenities in this St Albans suburb

Amenities in this St Albans suburb - Credit: Archant

Good for kids

To live in Southdown is to be part of a thriving and friendly community. Residents have recently made a united effort to improve two local playgrounds - at Oakley Road, off Grove Road, and behind Magna Close, on the Cross Farm estate. Complete with slides, swings and climbing frames, the new park will open later this year in the spring. When the weather is wet, parents can treat the kids with a visit to Big Space. This indoor soft play area has 300 square meters of play equipment; enough to keep the children occupied for an afternoon of fun! It is located along Southdown Industrial Estate road and babies go free.

Southdown Co-Op

Southdown Co-Op - Credit: Archant


The small suburban parade of Southdown is awash with independent cafes, charity stores and a handy Co-op supermarket. Arguably, the Engineer on St John’s Road has to be of the best pubs in the South East of the country. Featured in the Good Pub Guide, this friendly public house offers a taste of traditional gastro dining and hearty ales - not forgetting the modern necessity of free wifi! St John’s Church, locally known as ‘The Church on the Common,’ holds an All Age Eucharist on the first Sunday of every month and publishes an informative quarterly Parish magazine. The welcoming worshipping community is open to all residents. Other local amenities include: a public hall, pharmacy, dentist surgery, hairdressers and laundrette.