St Albans and Harpenden in top 15 places to live in the South East

St Albans Cathedral [Picture: Alan Davies]

St Albans Cathedral [Picture: Alan Davies] - Credit: Archant

St Albans and Harpenden both made it to the top 15 places in the South East, according to the Sunday Times Best Places to Live list released today (March 17).

The 5th annual list, which is not ranked, is based on judges experience and a range of statistics including house prices, crime rate, and even if the post office is still open.

Describing it as “posh Watford”, St Albans was included on the list because of its good commuter links to London, M1, A1(M) and M25, Ofsted ranked outstanding schools, 100 acres of parkland, two weekly markets, and dining options in historic buildings.

St Albans’ annual country show, beer, film, folk and pop festivals, fashion week, cinema and three theatres were also noted.

Harpenden was chosen for its “mix of the worthy and the eccentric”, and is described as an affluent town.

A train commute to London is only 25 minutes away, and there are lots of outdoor spaces for the 30,000 residents, including 56-acre Rothamsted Park, an 230-acre common, and numerous duck ponds.

Activities contribute to the town’s appeal, it says, include a barbershop harmony club, a Scottish country dancing group, and Harpenden Spotlight on Africa.

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However it is mentioned that Luton Airport is only seven miles north, and says there are fears aeroplane noise will increase.

The Sunday Times Best Places to Live home editor, Helen Davies, said: “This year’s [list] is even bigger and better - the guide is more personal, more detailed and more comprehensive than ever before.

“Numbers on a spreadsheet can only tell us so much, so we carefully balance statistics with our writers’ decades of knowledge and expertise to create the definitive list of the best places to live in the UK.”

Statistics on renting and sale prices are provided by Countrywide plc – their research and analytics director, Johnny Morris, said: “Using extensive data from across our businesses, along with official statistics, we have been able to paint a detailed picture, not just of how much it costs to buy or rent in different places across the country, but what it is like to live there too.”