Area Guide: Wonderful Welwyn Garden City explored

Howardsgate, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo

Howardsgate, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

As England's second garden city, Welwyn Garden City was designed to offer residents the best of both urban and rural living, while avoiding the down sides of each. We found out more... 

The Coronation Fountain, Parkway. Picture: Andrew Brookes

The Coronation Fountain, Parkway. Picture: Andrew Brookes - Credit: Archant

From Shredded Wheat to Alesha Dixon, Welwyn Garden City has been home to many household names over the years. 

But it's arguably best known for being one of England's first garden cities, as well as one of its earliest new towns. 

WGC was founded in 1920 by Sir Ebenezer Howard, the father of the garden city movement. Only the second garden city in England, after Letchworth, it was designed to offer the best of both worlds – a thriving industrial community surrounded by countryside. 

Howardsgate has an attractive green space at its heart. Picture: Danny Loo

Howardsgate has an attractive green space at its heart. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

The pavements and roads are wide and the central street, Parkway, is almost a mile long. It's marked by a tree-lined boulevard and the large Coronation Fountain in the centre. 

Claims to fame

Welwyn was once the home of Shredded Wheat; the factory ceased production in 2008 after 73 years in the town, and is in the process of being turned into a major housing development.

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Several familiar faces have also called WGC home, including former England goalkeeper David James, social media stars Woody and Kleiny, Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon, and DJ Jaguar Skills – the latter two both attended Monk’s Walk School. 

The town was also used as a location for the 2013 film The World’s End, starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Martin Freeman. 

Shopping

The Howard Centre, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo

The Howard Centre, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

The Howard Centre is the main shopping hub, offering up a mix of high street stores such as New Look, H&M and M&S. There are also banks, travel agents and plenty of coffee shops in the town centre.  

Supermarkets include Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose and Aldi. Welwyn Garden City is also home to a large John Lewis department store, complete with café, which attracts visitors from across Herts.

Restaurants

Welwyn Garden City boasts a lively restaurant scene, with chains including Pizza Express, Bill's and Cote all within walking distance of each other. 

Popular independents in the town centre include Turkish/Mediterranean favourite Misya Meze & Grill and Indian eatery Red, while The Waggoners is a highly regarded pub and restaurant in the nearby hamlet of Ayot Green. 

Entertainment 

The 126-acre Stanborough Park has two large lakes and a water sports activity centre with sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding. Fishing is another popular pursuit at  Stanborough.

Stanborough Lakes

Stanborough Lakes - Credit: Archant

Campus West is home to the Roller City roller skating rink and The Cinema, which shows a selection of the latest releases. 

The Gosling Sports Park has a dry ski slope, driving range, trampoline park and tennis courts, plus a large gym and athletics track. 

Welwyn Garden City Golf Club offers beautifully-kept greens and fairways on its 18-hole course and its welcoming clubhouse has fantastic facilities. 

Transport 

WGC is a popular area for commuters due to its excellent transport links. 

The train station, located behind The Howard Centre, provides direct services into King's Cross (in less than half an hour) and Moorgate, as well as destinations further north, such as Cambridge. 

The town is also close to many motorways including the A1 (M), M25 and M1 

Property 

Handside Lane, Welwyn Garden City

Handside Lane, Welwyn Garden City - Credit: Archant

Some of the most attractive properties in Welwyn Garden City are known to be found on the West Side, an area lined with neo-Georgian detached and semi-detached cottages. 

For something different, the Panshanger housing development is home to a range of properties including the modern ‘Span’-style homes, popular in the 1960s. 

According to Rightmove, the average price for a home in Welwyn Garden City over the last 12 months was £403,736. 

Homes currently on the market locally range from a five-bed detached house on Broadleaf Grove for £1.45m to a two-bed apartment on Bridge Road, West Side for £535,000 to a one-bed maisonette in Sunningdale Mews for £175,000.

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