Area Guide: The beautiful St Michael's area of St Albans
PUBLISHED: 16:22 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:28 22 November 2018
With its winding streets, pretty period cottages and ample eating and drinking options, St Michael’s is a beautiful area to explore – just don’t expect to find an affordable home here!
Just a short stroll from the historic Clock Tower and Abbey, St Michael’s village is widely considered to be the most attractive area of St Albans.
Home to many of the city’s most photogenic buildings, the walk to Verulamium Park via Fishpool Street is packed with pretty cottages, a handful of pubs and plenty of history, which make this upmarket enclave a great place to explore.
Chocolate-box character doesn’t come cheap, and there are few property bargains to be had in St Michael’s. Homes currently on the market in the area include a four-bed terraced house on Fishpool Street for £1,195,000 and a two-bed detached house on Kings Road for £650,000.
One of the three churches founded by the Abbot of St Albans Abbey was St Michael’s, parts of which are believed to date back to the 10th century. Built on the Law Courts of the Roman City of Verulamium, it contains many interesting features, including the monument to Sir Francis Bacon, who had asked to be buried in this historic church.
Verulamium Museum is the perfect place to learn more about St Albans’ history, with its recreated Roman rooms, collections of coins and well-stocked gift shop which is partnered with the British Museum.
Before the 19th century, you would have been able to locate a number of inns and shops on Fishpool Street, as well as factories which assembled straw hats, the parts of which were plaited by local women.
Verulamium Park is made up of over 100 acres of land and contains some of the remains of the third largest city in Roman Britain, including large parts of the historic city wall.
As well as the educational attraction of the park, visitors may also choose to visit the nearby Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre or the adiZone outdoor gym. For those with young families, the splash park and play area may also appeal.
St Michael’s C of E is a small primary school with a proud Christian ethos. Located on St Michael’s Street, the school will be accepting 30 children to its Reception class next September – its largest ever intake. It was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted at its last inspection.
Food and drink
St Michael’s Manor Hotel on Fishpool Street is one of the most highly regarded places to eat or stay in St Albans. The four-star hotel is set in five acres of beautiful grounds, and comes complete with 30 bedrooms and its own lake. The original house is more than 500 years old, and was first converted into a hotel in the 1960s. The Lake Restaurant is open to non-residents, and offers breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner in its grand indoor setting, or outside on the terrace, in the garden or by the lake.
An abundance of pubs can be found in the winding streets of St Michael’s, all of which fit in with the intimate feel of the village.
Dating back to 1538, the recently revamped Rose and Crown’s beams and other character features are a constant reminder of its age. In the warmer months, the pleasant beer garden is a perfect place to relax with a cold drink in the sun.
Other pubs include the Lower Red Lion and the Six Bells, while the popular Waffle House is a more recent addition to the village. Despite the more modern concept, the sense of history is by no means lost, with the building originating from the 16th century. The menu consists of a variety of sweet and savoury dishes, and long queues are a regular sight on weekend lunchtimes when a ‘first come, first served’ policy applies.
Verulamium is also home to the Inn on the Park café which provides light meals and snacks in a family friendly environment.