Area Guide: The Hertfordshire village of London Colney

PUBLISHED: 13:57 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:07 12 March 2020

The River Colne has burst its banks before following heavy rain. Picture: Danny Loo

The River Colne has burst its banks before following heavy rain. Picture: Danny Loo

Archant

Best known as the home of Willows Activity Farm and Colney Fields Shopping Park, London Colney also has a traditional village centre with a mix of pubs, shops and schools. We found out more.

A cafe, pharmacy and barbers are some of the amenities on offer on this London Colney High Street parade. Picture: Jane HowdleA cafe, pharmacy and barbers are some of the amenities on offer on this London Colney High Street parade. Picture: Jane Howdle

A large village conveniently located just outside St Albans, within minutes of the M25, London Colney has a lot to offer its residents.

With a population of nearly 10,000, it is one of Britain's biggest villages. It's also rich in history: its High Street was once a main route to London and the Romans captured Alban in the London Colney area.

The village has a variety of property types, with some of the oldest and most attractive located in the picturesque Waterside area, overlooking the River Colne.

According to Rightmove, the average sale price for properties in the village last year was £413,036, making it more affordable than neighbouring Shenley, Park Street and St Albans.

High Street, London Colney. Picture: Jane HowdleHigh Street, London Colney. Picture: Jane Howdle

Landmarks and history

London Colney first appeared on a map of Hertfordshire in 1645. The village grew as the High Street became one of the main routes into London and an abundance of inns were set up to accommodate the incoming coachmen and their horses.

The village itself was the area that the Romans captured Alban, before taking him to Verulamium for execution.

High Street, London Colney. Picture: Jane HowdleHigh Street, London Colney. Picture: Jane Howdle

The Chantry Chapel in the grounds of the Pastoral Centre is of particular interest in the village. Legend has it that it was actually the site of the home of St Alban before his execution (now named in his honour). The whole site is recorded in the Domesday Book.

Eating and drinking

The village is blessed with four popular pubs - The Colney Fox, The Bull, The White Horse and The Green Dragon - which offer a mix of extras including quizzes, live music and lots of lovely food.

Carmelo's cafe and restaurant is one of the attractions on Haseldine Road. Picture: Jane HowdleCarmelo's cafe and restaurant is one of the attractions on Haseldine Road. Picture: Jane Howdle

There are also a number of independent food establishments in the area, including Carmelo's, a family-run café restaurant.

Community

The village library offers story and rhyme time sessions, among other activities.

This area guide is sponsored by Frost's, who have offices in St Albans, Marshalswick, Wheathampstead and Harpenden (www.frosts.co.uk/branches)This area guide is sponsored by Frost's, who have offices in St Albans, Marshalswick, Wheathampstead and Harpenden (www.frosts.co.uk/branches)

The Scouting movement is well-represented, with Beaver, Cub, Scout and Explorer groups, as well as Rainbows, Brownies and Guides.

The Parish Council run lots of events and activities throughout the year, including the hugely popular annual fireworks display which always draws a large crowd.

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Transport links

Road links are excellent, with the M25 and the A414 both a couple of minutes away. From St Albans, there is a direct train to London St Pancras which takes around 20 minutes.

Local residents appreciate having easy access to major routes in most directions, meaning they can avoid getting caught up in St Albans traffic unless they need to visit the city.

Sports and leisure

The village has proved a popular spot for professional football training. Arsenal FC have a training ground on Bell Lane, with 10 full-size pitches, an indoor facility and a medical centre. Watford FC also train in Arsenal's old ground, just down the road.

Cotlandswick Leisure Centre offers a 42-station gym, indoor soft play centre, tennis courts and Astroturf football pitches.

For keen gardeners, there are two sets of Parish allotments. One is accessed from Richardson Close (Glebe allotments) and the other is close to the playing fields in Shenley Lane.

Schools

London Colney has three state primary schools - St Bernadette Catholic Primary, Bowmansgreen Primary and London Colney Primary & Nursery School, all rated 'good' by Ofsted at their last inspections.

Securing a secondary school place can be tricky for London Colney children, as they aren't guaranteed a spot at their closest school.

This means that children in the village are split between many St Albans schools, including Samuel Ryder, Nicholas Breakspear - a Catholic school - Marlborough, Verulam (all 'good') and St Albans Girls' School (STAGS, which is rated 'outstanding').

Shopping and culture

Colney Fields retail park, located at Junction 22 of the M25, boasts a range of popular high street shops and supermarkets to browse, including M&S, Sainsbury's, Next, Boots and New Look.

A high street with local amenities, such as a hairdressers, a small supermarket, cafés and a doctor's surgery serves the village, and other independent businesses are dotted around the locality, including a dog groomer, a tackle shop and an Indian book distributor.

Local attractions

Willows Activity Farm is a fun day out for the whole family, featuring plenty of friendly farm animals. An adventure soft play centre, inflatables and funfair rides are also included in the price.

The de Havilland Aircraft Museum is the oldest aviation museum in the UK. It opened to the public on 15 May 1959, and makes for a fascinating place to visit. It is mainly a 'working museum', with volunteers actively restoring de Havilland Aircraft.

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