Area Guide: The popular Camp area of St Albans

Camp Road, St Albans

Camp Road, St Albans - Credit: Archant

Harry Styles put the area on the map when he filmed a Gucci ad in the local chip shop, but there’s much more to The Camp than this.

The Camp area is a multi-cultural, mostly residential neighbourhood within walking distance of St Albans City station. Running alongside Fleetville with Camp Road at its heart, it is unpretentious and relatively affordable.

History

The area is built on what was once the Beastney estate – land that is believed to have belonged to a butcher called William Beastney in the late 1600s. Camp Road, which runs through the middle of the area, was named in 1940.

What is now Brick Knoll Park industrial estate – home of the Royal Mail sorting office – was once Owen Brickworks.

Property

Rows of period terraces and semis make up the bulk of the housing stock, alongside council (and ex-council) homes and new build flats, plus some recent office conversions.

Roland Street, St Albans

Roland Street, St Albans - Credit: Archant

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The Camp is far from St Albans’ priciest area, but buying property here certainly isn’t cheap; homes currently on the market include a four-bed semi on Camp Road for £795,000 and a two-bed terrace on Wellington Road for £475,000. 

Amenities

Camp Road has a mix of amenities, including a convenience store and a car repair garage.

The convenience store on the corner of Camp Road and Cell Barnes Lane

The convenience store on the corner of Camp Road and Cell Barnes Lane - Credit: Archant

The parade of shops on Cell Barnes Lane includes a Co-op supermarket, a newsagent and the popular Smoke House Deli. The city centre is about a 20-minute walk away.

Much to residents’ dismay, The Camp – a community pub, which the area is named after – was sold to property developers in 2015. A block of apartments has since been built on the site.

The closest pubs now are both on Hatfield Road: The Crown, a five-minute walk from City station, has a menu including burgers and Sunday roasts. The Rats Castle in Fleetville has big screen sport, live music and a bit more of a ‘local’ vibe on account of its position further from the centre of St Albans.

The legendary Camp fish and chip shop on Sutton Road is not only considered by many to be the best chippie in town, but it’s also got the best celeb connection: dressing gown-clad former One Direction star Harry Styles filmed a Gucci ad there in March 2018, while clutching a chicken. A fire at the shop in 2019 resulted in its closure, but it has since reopened. 

The Camp fish and chip shop on Sutton Road, St Albans.

The Camp fish and chip shop on Sutton Road. - Credit: Google Street View

There’s also a great mix of restaurants on offer in Fleetville, from Greek (Souvlaki City) to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern (The Oasis) to Italian (Nonno’s).

Schools

Camp Primary and Nursery School is a one-form entry school with a ‘good’ Ofsted rating. The oversubscribed school, which has been in existence since the late 1800s, has large grounds and on-site allotments. 

Windermere Primary (‘good’), Fleetville Infant and Junior Schools and Cunningham Hill Infant and Junior Schools are also nearby, plus St Alban and St Stephen Catholic Primary School & Nursery (all 'outstanding'). 

Samuel Ryder Academy (‘good’) is an ‘all-through’ school, accommodating children from age four to 19, while Verulam (‘good’) is a boys’ academy, which admits girls in the sixth form.

Sport and leisure

Nearby gyms include Nuffield Health on Highfield Park Drive, and the more affordable YMCA community gym on Russet Drive.

The Royston Club on College Road is a popular venue, offering a range of entertainment from quiz nights and bingo to darts and karaoke.

The well-loved Alban Way cycle and walking track spans the area, running parallel to Dellfield and Campfield Road.

The museum is next door to Camp School

The museum is next door to Camp School - Credit: Archant

And it would be wrong not to mention St Albans Organ Theatre on Camp Road, where you can see and hear about historic theatre organs and music boxes that have been lovingly restored by enthusiasts.

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

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