Area Guide: The Camp
PUBLISHED: 09:32 09 August 2016 | UPDATED: 09:51 09 August 2016
The Camp is a popular, multi-cultural area of St Albans close to the town centre and next to Fleetville.
It is unpretentious, friendly and more affordable than some other parts of the town with a wonderful sense of community spirit.
It includes Camp Road and roads off it, such as Royston Road and Ely Road.
The parade of shops on Cell Barnes Lane includes a Co-op supermarket, a newsagent and the popular Smoke House Deli, while nearby Fleetville has a large Morrisons supermarket, a Tesco Express, a launderette, Post Office, bakery, florist, funeral director, cafes and an active community centre.
The town centre is about a 15-minute walk away, with its parks, churches, main shops and smaller independent retailers, the cathedral, and the bustling market (on Wednesdays and Saturdays).
As with everywhere in St Albans, you can easily travel north and south using main road routes on the M25, M1 and A1(M).
The city station is a short distance on foot or by car, and has a regular fast service into London. It also offers regular services between Brighton and Bedfordshire.
There’s no shortage of excellent schools locally. Camp Primary and Nursery School was graded ‘good’ at a recent Ofsted inspection, as was Windermere Primary.
Fleetville Infants and Junior Schools were rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, as were Cunningham Hill Infant and Junior Schools.
Samuel Ryder Academy is an ‘all-through’ school, accommodating children from age 4-19, and was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted in May.
Another ‘good’ secondary nearby is Verulam School – a boys’ academy, which admits a small number of girls in the sixth form.
Food and drink
Much to residents’ dismay and sadness, The Camp – a popular community pub, which the area is named after – was sold last year to property developers. The closest pub now is The Rats Castle, which has recently undergone refurbishment to make it more upmarket. It stocks a range of cask ales and guest ale, serves bar snacks and has pool tables and a dartboard.
The Crown on Hatfield Road is just up the road and serves a full menu, which features homemade burgers, Sunday roasts and cake and coffee.
The Camp Fish Shop, Sutton Road, sells the best fish and chips around and for a Chinese takeaway, you will find no better than Chinese Express.
Mumtaj is an award-wining restaurant, which also delivers takeaways, offering amazing traditional Indian cuisine.
Sport and leisure
Nuffield Health has squash and tennis courts, swimming pools and many classes, as well as physiotherapists and personal trainers. The nearby Highfield Park Centre also has a gym and tennis courts, among other facilities.
The Royston Club, in College Road, is a popular social club, accessed by the neighbourhood.
The Camp area of St Albans is just off the well-loved Alban Way cycle and walking track.
It is also home to the Swanvesta Social Club, a self-confessed ‘Anglo-Cuban’ party band. They are made up of members on various instruments including saxophone, trumpet and flute as well as percussion, guitars and vocals. They rehearse on Ely Road and are available for hire.
And it would be wrong not to mention the Organ Museum, on Camp Road, where you can see and hear about historic theatre organs and music boxes that have been lovingly restored by enthusiasts.