Area Guide: The historic St Michael's village area of St Albans

St Michael's area guide

The River Ver, St Michael's. - Credit: Archant

With its quaint, winding streets and picture perfect properties, St Michael's village is arguably the prettiest residential area in St Albans. We found out more about this Hertfordshire hotspot...

History

St Michaels Church

St Michaels Church - Credit: Archant

One of the three churches founded by the Abbot of St Albans Abbey was St Michael’s, parts of which are believed to date back to the 10th century. Built on the Law Courts of the Roman City of Verulamium, it contains many interesting features, including the monument to Sir Francis Bacon, who had asked to be buried in this historic church.

Verulamium Museum is the perfect place to learn more about St Albans’ history, with its recreated Roman rooms, collections of coins and large-scale mosaics.

Verulamium Museum in St Albans.

Verulamium Museum in St Albans. - Credit: Alan Davies

There were once 11 inns and public houses on Fishpool Street alone, as well as several factories which assembled straw hats, the parts of which were plaited by local women.

Leisure

Verulamium Park is made up of over 100 acres of land and contains some of the remains of the third largest city in Roman Britain, including large parts of the historic city wall.

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As well as the educational attraction of the park, visitors may also choose to visit the nearby Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre or the adiZone outdoor gym. For those with young families, the splash park and recently revamped play area may also appeal.

Property

Chocolate-box charm doesn’t come cheap, and there are few property bargains to be had in St Michael’s. Homes currently on the market in the area include a two-bed end terrace on Fishpool Street for £695,000 and a one-bed terraced cottage on St Michael's Court for £435,000. 

One of the many characterful buildings in St Michael's

One of the many characterful buildings in St Michael's - Credit: Archant

Education

Established in 1876, St Michael’s C of E is a one form entry primary school with a proud Christian ethos. Spread between two sites on St Michael’s Street, it was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted at its last inspection.

Secondary schools serving local children include Marlborough ('good') St Albans Girls' School ('outstanding') and Verulam, a boys' school taking girls in the sixth form ('good'). 

St Albans School and St Columba's are local independent alternatives. 

Food and drink

St Michael’s Manor Hotel on Fishpool Street is one of the most highly regarded places to eat or stay in St Albans. The four-star hotel is set in five acres of grounds, and comes complete with 30 bedrooms and its own lake.

St Michaels Manor

St Michaels Manor - Credit: Archant

The original house is more than 500 years old, and was first converted into a hotel in the 1960s. The Lake Restaurant is open to non-residents, and offers breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner in its grand indoor setting, or outside on the terrace, in the garden or by the lake.

An abundance of eating and drinking options can be found in the winding streets of St Michael’s, all of which fit in with the intimate feel of the village.

Fishpool Street is easily one of the prettiest roads in St Albans. 

Fishpool Street is easily one of the prettiest roads in St Albans. - Credit: Karyn Haddon

The Six Bells is a proudly dog-friendly pub on St Michael's Street. Dating back to the 15th century, it offers a fine selection of ales (plus home-cooked food), best enjoyed beside the fire or in the beer garden. 

The Lower Red Lion is a 17th century pub and B&B on Fishpool Street, with seven rooms available for overnight stays and a menu of hearty homemade food on offer daily. 

The Waffle House, St Michael's Street. Picture: Jake Carter

The Waffle House, St Michael's Street. Picture: Jake Carter - Credit: Archant

The Waffle House is a more recent addition to the village, dating back to 1978, though its Kingsbury Watermill home originates from the 16th century. The menu consists of a variety of sweet and savoury dishes, and a ‘first come, first served’ policy applies.

Verulamium is also home to the Inn on the Park café which provides light meals and snacks in a family-friendly environment.

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