Letchworth  - the first garden city - is a perfect blend of town and country living. We discovered more about this Hertfordshire hotspot.... 

Letchworth Garden City was founded by Ebenezer Howard in 1903, and was designed to bring together the best of both worlds while providing improved housing for the poor.

The town was formed following the publication of Howard's influential book, To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform.

From that era, many of the Exhibition Cottages from 1905 and 1907 remain, as well as the Grade II* listed Spirella Building.

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Another claim to fame: the first garden city is also home to Britain's first ever roundabout, which was built in 1909.


After more than a century, many of Letchworth's attractive suburban streets have retained their original appeal.

Homes currently on the market in the town include a four-bedroom detached house on Croft Lane for £1,465,000 and a two-bedroom detached bungalow at Longmead for £500,000.    

The overall average selling price for a property in Letchworth during the last year was £461,836. 

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Letchworth is well-connected in terms of transport. Fast trains go to London King's Cross in half an hour, while the A1(M) runs right alongside the town.

There are also regular bus services, providing transport to rural and residential areas as well as the neighbouring towns of Hitchin and Baldock.


There are several popular schools in Letchworth, including Pixmore Junior School, Hillshott Infant School and Nursery, and The Highfield School - all of which were rated 'good' by Ofsted at their most recent inspections.

St Christopher School was founded in 1915, and is a boarding school for children aged three to 18. Known as St Chris, pupils at the school wear their own clothes and call teachers by their first names.

Shops and restaurants  

Among Letchworth's popular eateries are the garden centre café The Potting Shed, Turkish restaurant The Grapevine and much-loved Italian L'Artista.

There are multiple independent shops in The Wynd and The Arcade, and the Garden City Brewery serves a mix of its own brews alongside guest ales, local ciders, wine and spirits.

For people looking to escape commercial, high street shops and support local indies, there is a great selection of traditional gift shops and stores selling vintage items and one-off pieces.  

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Sport and leisure  

Norton Common is a peaceful park, just a short walk from the town centre. The common has a nature reserve, two play areas, a skateboarding area, a couple of bowling greens and a multi-use games area.

The 63-acre is popular with dog-walkers and is a rich source of wildlife - providing a home to one of the UK's largest colonies of black squirrels and a growing population of Muntjac deer.

Howard Park is another option - offering a refreshments kiosk and a paddling pool, while Broadways Gardens, which was designed in 2003, is a beautifully landscaped open space in the town centre which is home to an eye-catching fountain.

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On the edge of Norton Common is Letchworth's 50m heated outdoor pool, which is well worth a visit in the summer months.

The venue includes a toddlers' pool, refreshments and free parking, and is also available for private hire.

Other facilities are available at North Herts Leisure Centre, with its 34m swimming pool, flume, gym, squash courts, sauna and café.

There are plenty of entertainment options on offer in Letchworth too. These include the four-screen Art Deco Broadway Cinema, which was built in 1936.

Art lovers can visit the Broadway Studio and Gallery art exhibition space and a handful of other independent galleries, and the town also boasts regular farmers' markets and vintage fairs.

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Famous faces  

The 2013 film The World's End - starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost - was filmed in the town.

Other notable names associated with Letchworth are film director Michael Winner and celebrated actor Laurence Olivier, whose father was rector of Letchworth Parish between 1918 and 1924.