Stevenage - Britain's first new town - has more to offer than visitors might expect, with excellent rail and road links, relatively affordable housing and cycleways. We found out more...

In 2021 Stevenage celebrated its 75th anniversary of becoming a new town, and has undergone enormous change in that time.

The UK experienced a housing crisis after the Second World War.The new Labour government therefore passed the 1946 New Towns Act, and what had previously been a small farming community of around 6,000 people became Britain's first ever new town.

Today, Stevenage is split into the 'old town' and 'new town'.  The old town is smaller and prettier than its more modern counterpart, and features prestigious period homes and an attractive high street lined with small shops and historic pubs.

Herts Advertiser: Stevenage Old Town

Beyond High Street is St Nicholas Church, the ancient, Grade I listed parish church of Stevenage.

In contract, the new town, which has a variety of modern shops, looks and feels more like an urban jungle.

The new town was built between 1946 and 1980, and features the UK's first completely pedestrianised town centre. 

There is also an expansive high street and a range of more affordable housing options. 

A project is currently under way to regenerate central Stevenage by creating 7,300 new homes by 2028, as well as revamping the railway station and building new bars, restaurants, shops and leisure facilities. 


Property is another tale of two towns - with property in the older part of town likely to be more expensive. 

Homes currently on the market include a five-bedroom detached house at Mathews Close for £820,000 and a three-bedroom semi-detached on Orchard Road for £585,000.  

Overall, properties in Stevenage had an average price of £335,994 over the last year. 


Stevenage roads are dominated by roundabouts, as well as 45km of cycleways. The cycle network of underpasses and overpasses was implemented in the 60s and 70s, while the town was in its earlier stages of development.

The town has excellent transport links. The station has connections to Cambridge, Leeds and London, with King's Cross only a 25-minute journey away.

There are also good road links to London and the north, with the A1(M) running to the west of the town.

Herts Advertiser: Stevenage's station links to London King's Cross in 25 minutes


The majority of schools in Stevenage were built in the 1960s to accommodate the influx of pupils coming from London. 

Primary schools in the area include Woolenwick Infant and Nursery School and Letchmore Infants' and Nursery School, both of which were rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted at their most recent inspections.  

Secondary schools include The Thomas Alleyne Academy, Marriotts School and The John Henry Newman Catholic School, all of which have a 'good' rating. 

The town also has a further and higher education college, North Hertfordshire College (rated 'good').  

Sport and leisure  

Stevenage is home to a wide range of leisure and sports facilities.

Stevenage FC compete in league one, the third tier of English football. The town also has a successful women's football club and a rugby club.  

The Gordon Craig Theatre is at Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, and hosts regular plays and dance productions, as well as the annual Christmas panto. The centre also serves as an events hub for the town.

Herts Advertiser: Stevenage has a wide range of arts and leisure facilities

Stevenage Lifestyles provides a variety of fitness-related options including golf, swimming, badminton and gym activities, while Fairlands Valley Park offers kayaking, climbing and windsurfing. 

Regular community events and sports are held at King George V Playing Fields, while Town Centre Gardens has a pond and a play area. 

Stevenage's main retail area is the Westgate shopping centre, while the Roaring Meg retail park has a number of furniture stores, as well as a Hobbycraft, Smyths toy store and a new Marks & Spencer.

The old town is home to more than 50 businesses, including a range of independent shops, pubs and restaurants.

Herts Advertiser: The new town offers plenty of shopping opportunities

Pop culture  

Several famous faces have called Stevenage home, including England footballer Ashley Young, golfer Ian Poulter, F1 motor racing driver Lewis Hamilton, performance poet John Cooper Clarke and novelist E. M. Forster - for whom the Forster Country area is named.

The city also acted as the set for Channel 4 comedy series Lee and Dean, which is about a pair of Stevenage builders. The show’s writers and stars, Miles Chapman and Mark O’Sullivan, are from the town.