Area Guide: The upmarket Hertfordshire village of Welwyn
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Welwyn is a rural hotspot offering a slice of history, plenty of greenery and peaceful respite from the city - despite being only a 25 minute commute into London King's Cross.
Not to be confused with nearby Welwyn Garden City, Welwyn village is popular among families seeking the rural dream without the isolation that sometimes comes with it.
Often referred to as 'Old Welwyn' or 'Welwyn village' to distinguish it from the newer WGC located about a mile to the south, it's a prosperous enclave with many high end homes.
Naturally, this doesn't come cheap: in 2013 Welwyn was named the tenth most expensive place to buy property outside London by Zoopla, while Rightmove says the average sale price in the village over the last year was a hefty £679,704.
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The name Welwyn derives from 'welig', the Old English word meaning 'willow', a reference to the trees that border the banks of the River Mimram that flows through the village.
Once a major coaching route stop, Welwyn was historically a town on a par with Hatfield and Stevenage, but slowly lost its importance after the Great Northern Railway was constructed, which bypasses the village.
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Welwyn St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, off London Road, serves children between four and 11 years. While the school dates back to 1749, its current site is relatively new, having been built in 1940 as a secondary modern school. It was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted at its last inspection.
Secondary state schools are located in surrounding towns, including Monk's Walk and Stanborough schools in Welwyn Garden City - both 'good' according to their latest Ofsted inspections.
Sherrardswood is an independent co-educational school on the outskirts of Welwyn for students aged from two to 18 years.
The closest railway station is Welwyn North in the neighbouring village of Digswell.
Trains run every 30 minutes to London and to Hitchin and Stevenage, with an hourly connection to Letchworth, Cambridge and Peterborough. Buses also provide a regular service to Welwyn Garden City, Stevenage, St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and Hatfield.
Located just off the A1(M), Welwyn is also easily accessible by car.
Food and drink
There is an excellent range of restaurants and pubs in Welwyn. The White Horse is an award-winning gastropub and restaurant on Mill Lane, which sources fresh and sustainable produce and is a popular choice for Sunday roasts.
If it is Italian food you're after, try Vita - a sleek, family-run restaurant in the heart of Welwyn village, offering an authentic selection of pizzas and pastas.
For a more traditional setting there is The Wellington ('The Welly'), a former coaching inn dating back to the 14th century which now doubles up as a hotel and restaurant.
Also popular is The Lemon Plaice on Church Street, a family run fish and chip shop/restaurant rated 'excellent' on TripAdvisor.
Sport and leisure
For a small village Welwyn has a lot to offer in terms of sporting facilities, including a tennis club, sports and social club, bowls club, football club and cricket pitch.
The Civic Centre is also a popular venue available to hire for events, with a stage and lighting system in the main hall, plus an additional smaller hall suitable for more intimate gatherings.
Dating back to the 3rd century, the Welwyn Roman Baths offer a fascinating insight into the region's history. Discovered by local archaeologist Tony Rook in the 1960s, the ruins were uncovered followed a decade of excavation work. Today they are located beneath the A1(M) and are expected to be accessible to the public again once lockdown is lifted.
Held annually each June since 1974 (pandemics permitting), Welwyn Festival Week hosts 10 days of fun activities, including a street market, art exhibition and costume parade. The festival brings residents of all ages together to celebrate the village's heritage and raise money for local good causes.