Area Guide: was London Colney really the original St Albans?
- Credit: Archant
Football, fitness and fishing abound in this pleasant suburb of St Albans...
The area has a variety of property types, ranging from smaller cottages and converted stable houses to modern new-builds and manor house apartments.
Some of the most attractive properties in the village are located in the Waterside area, where many of the smaller, ivy covered cottages have stood for over 150 years. Waterside House, formerly Rose Cottage, is an impressive grade II listed home on a farmstead which dates back to the 17th Century.
An average price for a two-bedroom flat in the area is £246,415, for a terraced house it’s £368,623 and a large detached house averages £642,018.
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London Colney is one of the biggest villages in Britain with a population of nearly 10,000 residents. Without any exemptions, smaller properties in Band A can expect to pay council tax at £982, while the average home in B and D would receive a bill of £1,474. Homes in Band H would pay £2,947.
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The area contains three state primary schools and St Albans serves London Colney’s secondary pupil intake with a number of Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’ schools. Bowmansgreen Primary on Telford Road has an 86 percent parent satisfaction rating and Ofsted reports have described their new headmaster as ‘visionary’ with 78 percent of pupils writing/reading at KS4+.
Saint Bernadette Catholic Primary was also praised by Ofsted with a ‘good’ rating, with pupils in year 6 demonstrating an ‘above average’ capability in reading/ writing/maths. Both Sandringham and Beaumont, which are located within several miles of London Colney, have been rated as ‘outstanding’ secondary schools. The two join together, along with Verulam Secondary, for a sixth form consortium.
Sports & leisure
The village hosts Arsenal FC’s training ground on Bell Lane, with 10 full-size pitches, an indoor facility and a medical centre. The team recently relocated into London but still train here on occasion. It hosts Watford FC’s regular training too. Cotlandswick Leisure Centre offers an indoor soft play centre, group exercise classes, tennis courts and astro turf pitches.
The nearby namesake River Colne has a great selection of open water fishing spots with more than a quarter of a mile of single banks.
There are several bus routes connecting London Colney to St Albans town centre and station (primarily the 84). From St Albans, there is a direct train to London St Pancras which takes approximately 19 minutes and a weekday direct service to London Gatwick Airport. There is also a bus connecting London Colney to Luton Airport, located 15 miles away.
Landmarks & History
London Colney first appeared on a map of Hertfordshire in 1645. The village grew as the High Street became one of the main routes into London and an abundance of inns were set up to accommodate the incoming coachmen and their horses. The village itself was the area that the Romans captured Alban, before taking him to Verulamium for execution.
Up until the Second World War, London Colney remained a trunk route for heavy freight lorries, with a number of transport cafes dotted throughout the village. Since World War II, large housing estates have taken over the land which once yielded crops and included meadows where cattle grazed.
The Chantry Chapel in the grounds of the Pastoral Centre is of particular interest in the village. Legend has it that it was actually the site of the home of St Alban before his execution (now named in his honour).
The whole site is recorded in the Domesday Book.
There are a number of independent gastro-pubs and take-away restaurants in the area to choose from. The Colney Fox on Barnet Road is a popular choice, a country pub and restaurant with rural charm and rustic character. In the 1940s the pub was called The Watersplash Hotel, a family friendly venue complete with a swimming pool. It has been brought up to date with a refurbishment serving hearty homemade burgers, pies and English classics, in addition to a roast dinner every Sunday. The White Horse is a two-bar sports pub, suitable for private functions, with a large conservatory overlooking a small garden, live music, two football teams and two darts teams.
Shopping & culture
A small high street with local amenities, such as a hairdressers, a small supermarket, cafes and a doctor’s surgery serves the village. The main shopping offerings are based at the Colney Fields retail park, anchored by a large Marks & Spencer and a Sainsbury’s – while current tenants of the other buildings include Next, Boots, Monsoon, Starbucks and New Look.
Other independent shops are dotted around the locality, including a furniture store, a tackle shop and a bicycle repair centre.
Good for kids
Willow’s Farm boasts an adventure soft-play centre, inflatables and funfair rides included in the price. Set in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside, the centre is open whatever the weather, with a covered animal feeding and handling area. Special events throughout the year include a Pumpkin Festival in late October, a ‘Santa Spectacular’ during the festive season and a Spring Special with sheep shearing and pony displays.