Area Guide: The Hertfordshire market town of Bishop’s Stortford

PUBLISHED: 08:00 17 August 2018 | UPDATED: 19:30 19 August 2018

The Black Lion Pub, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The Black Lion Pub, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: Karyn Haddon


Just five miles from Stansted Airport, on the county border with Essex, is the historic market town of Bishop’s Stortford.

The Gourmet Turk, Bishop's Stortford.

Picture: Karyn HaddonThe Gourmet Turk, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Originally a small Roman settlement, Bishop’s Stortford was first used as a link between Colchester and the village of Braughing. It gained its name in 1060 when the Bishop of London bought Stortford manor estate. The River Stort, named after the town, runs through it and was made navigable in 1769.

The town became known for being a staging post on the mail coach route between Cambridge and London as well as being a traditional market town. Bishop’s Stortford played an important role during the Second World War as an evacuation centre for many children moving away from large cities. It has since been established as a commuter area due to its transport links to London.


Bishop's Stortford town centre.

Picture: Karyn HaddonBishop's Stortford town centre. Picture: Karyn Haddon

According to Rightmove, the overall average sale price in Bishop’s Stortford during 2017 was £430,004.

Homes currently on the market in the town include a two-bedroom flat in Starling Court for £269,000 and a five-bedroom detached house on Thornfield Road for £1.5million.


Bishop's Stortford.

Picture: Karyn HaddonBishop's Stortford. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The town centre contains a wide range of high street stores and independent shops.

Residents enjoy a variety of options when carrying out the weekly shop as the town has a Sainsbury’s, Tesco Express, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer, and an Aldi.

Leisure and sport

Bishops Stortford town centre. Picture: Karyn HaddonBishops Stortford town centre. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Bishop’s Stortford boasts a multitude of parks and green spaces that are popular amongst locals, particularly those with children and dogs.

Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre includes a gym, two swimming pools and a running track. The surrounding park offers senior and junior football pitches as well as two separate play areas for young and older children.

Rhodes Arts Complex on South Road is one of the town’s main attractions. It includes a theatre, which hosts regular live music, dance and comedy events. The complex also includes a museum that tells the story of the town’s history via a varied programme of exhibitions.

St Michael's Church, Bishop's Stortford.

Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Michael's Church, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Transport links

There are strong links to London with the M25 being easily accessible via the M11 motorway.

Bishop’s Stortford train station provides regular services to Stansted Airport as well as Cambridge and London Liverpool Street. Multiple bus services enable quick and easy travel around the area and The Stortford Shuttle community bus runs frequently through the town centre.


Bishop’s Stortford is a great place for raising children with its large number of highly-regarded schools.

For infants there are pre-schools such as Sycamore House on Hadham Road and Doodle Do Day Nursery on Portland Road, both rated ‘good’ by Ofsted. St Joseph’s, St Michael’s, and Northgate are just a few of the primary schools in the area that achieved ‘outstanding’ in their latest Ofsted inspections.

Secondary schools in the area include St Mary’s Catholic School and Hockerill Anglo-European College (both ‘outstanding’); the latter was also named as the top state comprehensive in the UK by the Sunday Times Schools Guide 2018.

Food and drink

An array of restaurants are available in Bishop’s Stortford, particularly in the town centre. Popular venues include Côte Brasserie and Pizza Express, both situated along North Street.

Listed in the Michelin Guide, The Lemon Tree is a locally-run restaurant on Water Lane that offers live music and private dining as well as delicious food. There are also many different bars and pubs in the area such as The Bridge House on South Street and The Port Jackson – part of the JD Wetherspoon chain – on Riverside Wharf.

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