Are you looking for a fun day out? Perhaps you’re seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and want to take things at a more sedate pace? There are many such locations dotted across the UK, of course, but for a splash of history, culture and lush green parkland, it’s difficult to top St Albans.
Situated a short distance to the north of London, many see St Albans as little more than a commuter hub, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Previously known as Verulamium by Roman settlers, it’s a city awash with historical significance and boasting ample opportunity for education and excitement.
Getting there is a piece of cake, too. For example, you can arrive by rail from London St Pancras in less than half an hour. If you’re coming from the south coast, trains going from Brighton to St Albans run on a regular service via a direct line so you can sit back, relax and watch the world go by.
Once you hop off, there’s no shortage of things to do, but here are just three highlights you might want to try:
For history enthusiasts, a visit to the city’s spectacular cathedral is absolutely essential. Completed in 1115, the magnificent structure was built from the ruins of Verulamium and it houses the shrine of St Alban, who is honoured as Britain’s first saint. Regular guided tours of the cathedral are available, where visitors can take in the 85-metre nave – the longest in England – as well as the beautiful stained glass windows, the Norman tower and the watching loft.
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks
After paying a visit to the cathedral, you might feel it’s time for a little light refreshment. If that’s the case, look no further then Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, which claims to be Britain’s oldest pub. Situated on Abbey Mill Lane, it offers a winning combination of fine ales, hearty food and rustic décor. St Albans is the headquarters of Campaign for Real Ale, so landlords have to know their stuff, and this establishment certainly won’t disappoint in that regard.
With a good meal and a drink (or two) inside you, perhaps the afternoon could be spent getting some fresh air and walking off the food? If that tickles your fancy, you could pop down to Verulamium Park and its 100 acres of glorious parkland. Children’s play equipment and a museum displaying hundreds of artefacts from the ancient Roman settlement mean it has something for everyone, while Heartwood Forest offers a stunning alternative for anyone seeking a peaceful stroll among the bluebells.
Disclosure: This is a featured post.