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St Albans market town

St Albans market town

St Albans is one of Britain’s most historic cities, just 20 miles and 20 minutes by train from London, it is the perfect place to relax and unwind against a backdrop of fascinating historical architecture, an abundance of independent shops, a 500-year-old Charter Market, award-winning restaurants and world-famous pubs.

St Albans thriving market town is best known for its Cathedral, an outstanding example of medieval architecture. It was begun in 793, when King Offa of Mercia founded the abbey in honour of St Alban, Britain’s first Christian martyr, put to death by the Romans in the 3rd century. The oldest parts, which still stand, were first built in 1077 and are easily recognizable as a Norman by the round-headed arches and windows. They form part of the 84-m nave-the longest in England. It was the Cathedral that the English barons drafted the Magna Carta document, which King John was then forced to sign.

Wherever you walk, the city is packed with reminders of its rich heritage. The stunning Norman Cathedral built using Roman bricks and the unique Medieval Clock Tower, in the city centre dating back to 1405. The Charter Market retains the lively spirit it exuded 1,000 years ago whilst pubs, shops and restaurants bring beautiful period buildings back to life.

St Albans Museum + Gallery celebrates the city’s 2,000 years of history through displays, artworks and installations, while traces of Roman history are all around. Verulamium Museum displays incredible ancient artefacts, and a mosaic from a Roman villa has survived and can be seen in Verulamium Park, along with parts of the Roman city wall.

Famous residents, in the world of science, include Sir Francis Bacon who was made Viscount St Albans and is believed to buried in St Michael’s Church, while Professor Stephen Hawking attended St Albans School, one of the oldest public schools in the world.

St Albans claims its place in the history of film and TV. A popular set location - Netflix drama The Crown chose the city’s cathedral as a substitute for Westminster Abbey - it was also home to one of the 20th century’s greatest film directors, Stanley Kubrick.

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At a glance

  • Activity

    Culture, Entertainment, Sightseeing
  • Address

    Hertfordshire, St Albans

"Its Cathedral is an outstanding example of medieval architecture"

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