Area Guide: The Hertfordshire village of Knebworth
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
There’s more to Knebworth than just Oasis. Mia Hill found out all about the interesting reality behind the Hertfordshire village.
South of Stevenage and just a stone's throw from the A1(M) is Knebworth, a short drive east of the smaller village of Old Knebworth.
The Grade II* listed Knebworth House is the village's best-known attraction. Owned by the Lytton family, its most famous resident was Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, a Victorian novelist and playwright who famously coined the phrase 'the pen is mightier than the sword'. Charles Dickens visited the Lyttons and wrote many letters to Edward.
Knebworth House dates back to Tudor times and has featured in countless Hollywood movies. The mansion doubled as Wayne Manor, inhabited by the millionaire Bruce Wayne and his crime fighting alter ego Batman, for 1989's Batman.
It also featured in the 2010 Oscar-winning film The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth as Prince Albert, and Paddington 2, starring Hugh Grant.
Knebworth is also famous for its huge rock concerts, and musicians including Oasis, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Pink Floyd have all played there.
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Shops and restaurants
The village has a bustling high street, with a Co-op shop, a post office, florist, several estate agents' offices and a handful of takeaways, among other amenities.
Prominent eateries in and around Knebworth include El Bar De Tapas, The Orchard at Vanstone Park Garden Centre and The Lytton Arms.
The enormous variety of restaurants can leave everyone pondering which one to choose. With Chinese and Indian delicacies also on offer, anyone can be spoilt for choice.
There has been a school at the heart of the village for more than 100 years. Rated 'good' by Ofsted at its last inspection, Knebworth Primary and Nursery School continues to thrive.
Secondary options include Marriotts School ('good') a non-denominational comprehensive in nearby Stevenage.
Travelling to the heart of London has never been easier, with a direct train from Knebworth to King's Cross taking just over half an hour.
With regular bus routes connecting the village to neighbouring towns of Hatfield, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City, it's easy for residents to travel in and out.
Sports and leisure
Knebworth is bursting with activities and recreational opportunities.
Just a short stroll from the high street is Knebworth Recreation Grounds, where new play equipment has recently been installed, which is great for letting the little ones run wild.
Knebworth Youth FC is also based here, and offers teams for boys and girls from age three upwards. They also have two senior mens' teams and a team of veterans
In addition, the park has two cricket pitches for its junior and senior teams, including a girls' section, while tennis courts offer those with a good hand the opportunity to participate in a choice of sessions for all ages.
For the more indoor sports types, the nearby Stevenage Swimming Centre is worth a visit.
The streamlined 33 metre main pool allows easy access for all, as well as a small pool for children. Other facilities include diving boards, underwater lighting, gallery seating and a family changing room.
It also offers AquaEd swimming lessons and crash courses along with diving and rookie lifeguard training. After a quick swim, you can use many of their other services which include a steam room and relaxation area. Free parking is also available on site.
Knebworth House's 250-acre deer park and beautiful gardens are well worth a visit; kids will love the dinosaur trail and Fort Knebworth Adventure Playground, among other attractions.
Lytton Fields and King George V Park also offer playgrounds for younger children amid their vast open spaces - perfect for picnics in the summer months and walks with the dogs.