Harpenden is a popular place to live, due to its winning mix of excellent schools, speedy rail links into London and semi-rural setting, all making it ideal of wealthy commuters. We found out more...


The town is one of the most expensive places to live in the UK. Properties currently on the market include a six-bedroom detached house for £4,950,000, a seven-bedroom detached home for £3,250,000, and, incredibly, a 14-bedroom detached Victorian mansion with "huge potential for redevelopment" for a mere £3,000,000.

Herts Advertiser: Harpenden High StreetHarpenden High Street (Image: Newsquest)


There is evidence of pre-Roman 'Belgic' farmers in the area, as in 1867 several items were found including a bronze escutcheon, rams head shaped mounts and a bronze bowl.

Like its neighbouring St Albans, there are Roman remains in land around Harpenden - such as the site of a mausoleum in Rothamsted Park.

The first reference to a parish church was in 1221, when it was referred to in 'Harpendene', so the original village is assumed to have formed around it.

Straw-weaving was a widespread industry in the town during the 19th century, while the Common was a regular venue for horse racing up until 1914.


Harpenden is ideally situated for commuting, with London St Pancras just half an hour away by train.

The town is seven miles from Luton Airport, and the M1, A1(M) and M25 are all close at hand.

Herts Advertiser: Bowers Parade in HarpendenBowers Parade in Harpenden (Image: Danny Loo)


One of Harpenden's main selling points is its excellent state schools, which include great primary schools and outstanding secondary schools.

Sir John Lawes, St George's and Roundwood Park were all deemed to be 'outstanding' in their latest Ofsted reports.

Katherine Warington School - which has not been rated by Ofsted yet - opened its doors in 2019 in response to a huge demand for more local secondary school places.

There are also several options for private alternatives. St Hilda's caters to girls aged four to 11 (although its nursery also admits boys), Aldwickbury is a boys' prep school, and The King's School, which has a strong Christian ethos, teaches boys and girls aged four to 16.

Shopping and food

Harpenden's leafy, quintessentially English High Street is bursting with choices for shops and eateries.

There are several well-stocked supermarkets and chain stores, as well as more quirky, independent venues - with a range of food options from Thai to tapas.

Bar Azita's Mediterranean grill is a popular dining spot, while the Harpenden Arms offers fine food and wine.

For the Great British gastropub experience, diners can visit The White Horse at Hatching Green, or The Fox on the northern edge of town.

Lussmanns offers courtyard dining at its 18th century former coach house overlooking Leyton Green, while Okka café and restaurant is an ideal spot food - Sunday brunch in particular.

Harpenden's vibrant farmers' market is held on the fourth Sunday of every month on Bowers Parade, and offers everything from fruit and vegetables to pastries, plants and preserves.

Herts Advertiser: Rothamsted Avenue in HarpendenRothamsted Avenue in Harpenden (Image: Danny Loo)

Sport and leisure

Harpenden Common's green space supports many thriving local sports teams, including Harpenden Cricket Club - which has been playing there for more than 150 years.

The 56-acre Rothamsted Park has its own skate park and playground, and is also home to Harpenden Town FC.

Adjacent to the park is Harpenden Leisure Centre, with its council-owned swimming pool.

Harpenden Rugby Club is based on Redbourn Lane, and plays in Regional 1 South East - in the sixth tier of the English Rugby ladder.

Four ex-players, Maro Itoje, George Ford, Owen Farrell and Jack Singleton - all of whom attended St George's School - have gone on to play for England.

The Nickey Line, a disused railway line between Harpenden and Hemel Hempstead, is a popular route for walkers and cyclists.

In the summer months children can paddle at the River Lea, which runs through Batford Springs Nature Reserve, or play in the park off Marquis Lane.

Many large-scale events are held in the town throughout the year, including Harpenden Carnival and the Highland Gathering.

Herts Advertiser: This area guide is sponsored by Frost's, who have offices in St Albans, Marshalswick, Wheathampstead and HarpendenThis area guide is sponsored by Frost's, who have offices in St Albans, Marshalswick, Wheathampstead and Harpenden (Image: Frost's)