Area Guide: The wealthy Hertfordshire village of Welwyn
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Steeped in history and just a short commute from London, Eva Clifford explores all that Welwyn has to offer.
Often referred to as 'Old Welwyn' or 'Welwyn village' to distinguish it from the far newer Welwyn Garden City located about a mile to the south, Welwyn is a prime location for families looking to escape the city.
Its name derives from Old English welig 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.
Today, Welwyn is a sleepy backwater offering a slice of history, plenty of greenery and a peaceful respite from the city - despite being only a 25 minute commute into London King's Cross.
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This doesn't come cheap, however: in 2013 Welwyn was named as the tenth most expensive place to buy property outside London by Zoopla, and the average sale price for a home in the village last year was £634,577.
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Welwyn is home to a number of commended schools. Rated 'outstanding' in its last Ofsted inspection, Welwyn St Mary's Church of England Primary School welcomes children aged between four and 11 (Reception to Year 6).
For younger children there is Oaklands Primary School, which incorporates Acorns Preschool and Playgroup and is known for its inclusive ethos. Tenterfield Nursery School takes children aged between three and four, and was rated 'outstanding' in its most recent Ofsted inspection in 2017.
Sherrardswood is an independent co-educational school on the outskirts of Welwyn for students aged from two to 18 years.
Secondary state schools are located in surrounding towns, including Monk's Walk and Stanborough schools in Welwyn Garden City - both 'good' according to recent Ofsted inspections.
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, modern restaurant situated 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, a bowls club, a football club and a 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) but can be accessed by the public daily from 2-5pm.
Held annually each June, Welwyn Festival Week hosts 10 days of fun activities bringing residents of all ages together to celebrate the village's heritage.