Sunday Times puts St Albans on its best places to live list

St Albans made the cut on the Sunday Times best places to live list

St Albans made the cut on the Sunday Times best places to live list - Credit: Archant

St Albans has been singled out as one of the best places to live in Britain by the Sunday Times - but where did it chart?

Over the weekend, the newspaper released Part 1 of its “Best places to live in Britain” guide, as part of its ‘Home’ supplement, charting the cities, towns and villages “that everyone wants to call home”.

The series launched in 2013 and has been an annual occurrence since then, claiming to be the definitive guide. It prides itself on not calculating the cream of the crop on “dry statistics and algorithms, which tend to throw up locations that are simply quite dull”. This guide is about quality of life and claims to – in 2016 – be spikier and smarter with their choices. It doesn’t just catalogue if the pubs are “nice”; it delves into whether their pies are worth the cost. The research has accounted for transport links and life expectancy on one hand, and annual arts festivals and the amount of parking tickets issued on the other.

So where did St Albans appear on the list?

Under the sub-heading of the South-East, St Albans sits at number 13, with the Sunday Times describing it as being green, despite not quite reaching the countryside: “This tiny but perfectly formed cathedral city…ticks all the boxes: an embarrassment of high-achieving schools; majestic Verulamium Park, with its…kids’ splash zone and tennis courts; and scores of Victorian properties.”

The piece pinpoints many of the areas featured in the Herts Ad Property’s increasingly famed area guides, such as the parish of St. Michael’s and Marshalswick (spelt without an ‘s’, however) which is incidentally this week’s area of choice in our own property supplement.

The piece does tend to focus heavily on the costly property market in these areas - £650,000 for a two-bedroom cottage with a courtyard garden in the former, and £850,000 for a four-bedroom semi with a guestroom in the latter – and generalises that Waitrose is “your corner shop”.

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The write-up rightly highlights that St Albans is a form of rural suburbia – dancing on the edge of “countryside” but riding the green belt all the way into St Pancras (within 20 minutes).

Apparently, “what the locals say” is “see you on the 6.16am”. One presumes these are the “well-heeled high-earning City types” you’ll bump into in Waitrose, representing the typical St Albans resident in this guide. And why do the Sunday Times love it? “You can keep your cool en route to the country,” – that’s why.

Answers on a post card if you know what that means. Or just get on Twitter and use #bestplacetolive