St Albans is widely regarded as one of the most desirable places to live in the UK, offering a mix of green spaces and outstanding schools - all within easy reach of London. We found out more about the historic cathedral city...

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St Albans dates back to around 20BC, and in AD43 was one of the largest towns in Britain following the Roman invasion.

It features in the Domesday Book, back when the population was around 500. The first draft of the Magna Carta was drawn up here in 1215, when it was still a small settlement, and two battles in the War of the Roses were fought in the area, in 1455 and 1461.

The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Albans is the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain. It was built over the burial site of St Albans - Britain's first Christian martyr - who died in AD304.

St Albans Abbey is said to have been founded in AD793 by King Offa of Mercia, and the principal Abbey was used by the Benedictines. However it was not made into a cathedral until 1877.

Herts Advertiser: St Albans Cathedraol


One of the city's main draws is its fantastic state schools, with plenty of popular primaries in the city centre. These include Maple, Alban City, Aboyne Lodge and St Peter's, all of which were rated 'good' at their latest Ofsted inspections. 

School catchments in St Albans are notoriously tight, but children in the centre are sometimes able to secure places at Marlborough or Samuel Ryder Academy, both rated 'good', or Catholic girls' school Loreto, which is rated 'outstanding'.

Other possibilities are St Albans Girls' School, rated 'outstanding', and the 'good'-rated Verulam School - a boys' school that accepts girls in sixth form.

There are also a few popular independents, including St Albans School, St Albans High School for Girls and St Columba's College.


St Albans City station offers commuters a direct link into central London in around 20 minutes, while St Albans Abbey provides a branch line to Watford.

There are also strong road links, with the M1, A1(M) and M25 just a short drive away.

Sport and leisure 

Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre has three pools, a gym and a spa, among other amenities.

There are also many sports clubs across St Albans, including Old Albanian RFC, St Albans Cricket Club and St Albans City FC.

Residents can enjoy green spaces - with Clarence Park and Verulamium Park the two biggest and best-loved.


St Albans has plenty of options for entertainment, from the Abbey Theatre's diverse range of performances, to the Alban Arena - which hosts comics, live music acts and the annual panto.

Various city centre pubs also host live bands, including The Horn and The Mermaid.

One of St Albans' newer entertainment venues is The Odyssey, an art deco cinema which offers a mix of classic and recently released films in a plush, theatre-like setting.

Herts Advertiser: The Odyssey Cinema on London Road

For history enthusiasts there is the long-established Verulamium Museum, as well as the St Albans Museum + Gallery in the city centre, which opened in 2018.

Eating and drinking 

St Albans has a huge array of pubs, including historic hostelries The Boot and Ye Olde Fighting Cocks.

Almost every culinary taste is catered for in the city centre, from Italian (Per Tutti) to Thai (Thai Rack) to Mediterranean (Tabure), Indian (Veer Dhara, Chilli Raj) and hearty steak (Prime). 

The city is also home to a wide variety of cafés, which are very popular, although some residents feel the units would be better used as shops.

Herts Advertiser: St Albans medieval clock tower


Popular chain stores are found mainly on St Peter's Street, and in pedestrian shopping areas The Maltings and Christopher Place.

St Albans also offers a mix of independent shops, selling everything from clothes to comics, gifts and records.

These can mostly be found on High Street, Holywell Hill, Heritage Close and the picturesque George Street.   


Living somewhere as nice as St Albans doesn't come cheap, and the city centre is home to many of the area's most expensive properties.

Homes currently for sale include a five-bedroom detached house at Fishpool Street for £4,250,000, a three-bedroom semi-detached house on London Road for £975,000 and a two-bedroom period cottage on Clifton Street for £750,000.