St Albans was recently ranked the top destination in the UK for Londoners moving out of the city and buying their first home.
The estate agent Hamptons found that more Londoners had bought their first home outside of the city in 2021 than in any year since 2007, with St Albans the top choice for new buyers.
The city was also recently named one of the happiest places to live in the UK and one of the best cities to raise a baby.
Read more: Get the latest St Albans news
But what exactly is it that makes St Albans so great?
From fantastic transport links to beautiful settings and fantastic local schools, St Albans has it all.
It’s hardly surprising that Londoners are moving out of the capital and making homes for themselves in this stunning Hertfordshire city.
We rounded up the top reasons Londoners can’t get enough of St Albans.
St Albans has a rich and fascinating past.
Centuries of history can be traced through St Albans’ streets, with the city dating back over 2,000 years.
It began as an Iron Age Celtic settlement called Verlamion before it came into the hands of the Romans during their conquest of Britain, which began in AD 43.
Along with London and Colchester, it became one of the three largest Roman towns in the country.
Alban himself was Britain’s first Christian martyr, killed for his beliefs by the Romans, who had named the city Verulamium.
You can discover Roman remains in the city’s Verulamium Park, a vast green space which is a beautiful spot in the sunshine, and beyond.
St Albans Cathedral is a famously stunning and historic landmark in the city, encompassing centuries of history.
During the dissolution of the monasteries, St Albans Abbey was closed in December 1539 and most of its buildings were destroyed.
In 1553, the people of St Albans bought the church for their own use but the expensive upkeep meant that it was falling apart by the 19th century.
It was wealthy Victorian benefactors who paid for the building to be repaired and in 1877 it became a cathedral, one which continues to stand proudly in St Albans today.
You’ll also find the only standing medieval bell tower in England at the centre of St Albans.
You can climb the 93 narrow steps of the clock tower up to the top, where the views over the city are spectacular.
Read more about St Albans’ history here.
There are fantastic commuter links from St Albans to London.
National Rail trains from St Albans City Station to London St Pancras International take just 20 minutes, and you can get to Farringdon in 25 minutes.
For an alternative route, there’s also St Albans Abbey Station – although journey times are a bit longer into London, taking approximately 43 minutes to arrive at Euston.
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St Albans is a real hub for culture and the arts.
There are three theatres: the Abbey, the Maltings Arts Theatre and the Alban Arena.
There’s also a museum and a gallery in the centre of the city, which prides itself on being a celebration of the city’s history and a showcase for contemporary arts.
The museum is homed in the old courthouse, and you can walk through the original prison cells in the basement and up into the dock of the perfectly restored court room.
There’s even a café, so you can treat yourself to a hot drink and delicious snack while pretending to be a member of the jury.
There’s a wonderful independent cinema, The Odyssey, which offers a luxury cinematic experience so you can lounge on sofas and drink wine while watching your favourite films.
There are strong roots to the film industry in St Albans. Just outside the city lies the house of legendary director Stanley Kubrick.
Food, drink and shopping
St Albans is famous in Hertfordshire for its abundance of wonderful restaurants.
From fine dining at Lussmans and Prime Steakhouse to treating yourself to dessert at the famous Waffle House, the city is one of the top places in the county for food.
It’s also a great spot for cosy pubs, including Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, which dates back to the eighth century and claims to be the oldest pub in Britain.
The streets of St Albans are packed with shops and, on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s, it’s home to a wonderful market.
Stalls sell fruit and vegetables, fish, meat and cheese, homeware, clothing, plants and flowers and gifts.
St Albans is lucky to have great schools, making it the ideal place for young families looking to relocate away from the city.
Top rated primary schools include Fleetville Junior School, Bernards Heath Junior School, Cunningham Hill Junior School and Oakwood Primary School.
Secondary schools are fantastic in St Albans too.
They include Loreto College, Sandringham School, St Albans Girls’ School and Beaumont School.
Average house price
It’s no surprise then that Londoners looking to move out of The Big Smoke have naturally gravitated towards St Albans.
It’s not only situated a stone’s throw from the glorious Hertfordshire countryside, but also offers up the creature comforts many associate with city life.
But these positives come with a price.
According to Zoopla, the average house price in St Albans is currently £592,710.
Whilst that’s much higher than the UK average, it’s still lower than London’s latest average house price, which Zoopla estimate stands at £681,427.
With that in mind, it’s not surprising people are flocking to St Albans.
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