Sunday Times names St Albans as one of UK’s best places to live

The Sunday Times loves St Albans' George Street, with its boutiques, antiques shops and restaurants.

The Sunday Times loves St Albans' George Street, with its boutiques, antiques shops and restaurants. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

St Albans is one of the best places to live in the UK, according to The Sunday Times.

The city was named ‘best in the South East’ in the paper’s Best Places to Live 2020 list, which was published today (March 22).

The paper described St Albans as a “vibrant independent city”, sought-after for its proximity to London, fast and convenient transport links and excellent schools.

“The place is thriving, with independent shops, bustling markets, a packed calendar of events and one of the best pub cultures in the country,” it said.

“The countryside on the doorstep is also a big draw, as is the sense of community and the smart centre, with the grand cathedral surrounded by streets of higgledy-piggledy buildings that date back to the Middle Ages.”

Hatch on the Hill, the Bishop’s Cave and Dylans Kings Arms are among the independent food and drink establishments to receive a mention, alongside Thompson and Ye Olde Fighting Cocks.

Of course, no article raving about St Albans would be complete without namechecking its many outstanding schools. Beaumont, Sandringham and St Albans Girls’ School (STAGS) all received a special mention for being among the 200 best state secondaries in the country, according to The Sunday Times Parent Power guide.

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St Albans High School for Girls and St Albans School scored high in the private sector, coming 33rd and 80th respectively in the Parent Power independent secondary league table.

In fact, the paper struggled to find anything negative to say about St Albans, with its only caveat being the slower pace of life compared to the capital.

“24-hour convenience culture has not reached this leafy part of Hertfordshire,” it said. “Many restaurants close early during the week and there are few late-night options on Deliveroo.”

Bishop’s Stortford was the only other place in Herts to make the 15-strong South East shortlist, while Altrincham in Greater Manchester was crowned the overall winner.