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The C&TH Guide to St Albans

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The C&TH Guide to St Albans

Explore the charming and historic Hertfordshire City...

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For when you need a little break from the humdrum of inner city life but don’t want to travel too far from home, why not head to St Albans? The spectacular Shire district, located just 20 miles from central London, boasts a fascinating wealth of history as the former Roman city of Verulamium. It’s also home to one of Britain’s most spectacular and oldest cathedrals, as well as an array of fantastic restaurants and pubs (the oldest in Britain!), museums, boutique shops and quirky cafés. From the medieval Clock Tower, to cocktails at The Ivy, we’ve rounded up the best things to do and see to make the most of your visit…

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The C&TH Guide to St Albans

VISIT

Verulamium Museum

Verulamium Museum

Courtesy of St Albans Museums

As Roman Britain’s third largest city, St Albans is home to a number of incredible ancient ruins, mosaics and Roman tales. Explore the depth of the city’s intriguing history at the Verulamium Museum, where you’ll even find the Sandridge Hoard, a spectacular collection of genuine Roman gold coins detected in St Albans in 2012. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet acclaimed archaeologist Tessa Wheeler  at the museum on 1st November and be sure to take part in ‘Archaeological Poo!’, a one-of-a-kind playful event the kids will love involving exploring fossilised ‘specimens’ and all things ancient poo! stalbansmuseums.org.uk

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

Photo: Megan Jones

When visiting St Albans, a trip to the Cathedral is a must. Not only is it a visually stunning example of ingenious 11th Century architecture comprising of spectacular stained glass windows and magnificent medieval features, the Cathedral also marks the place where Britain’s first Saint was buried over a thousand years ago. Join a daily guided tour, attend a special service or event, such as the Fireworks Spectacular on 2nd November, and conclude with a delightful cup of tea in the Abbot’s Kitchen Café. From carol concerts to an impressive son-et-lumiere instillation, there is plenty of fun to be had for all the family. stalbanscathedral.org

St Albans Museum & Gallery

St Albans Museum & Gallery

Photo: Megan Jones

Located within the heart of the city, surrounded by buzzy shops, cobbled streets and just a short walk from the Cathedral, the St Albans Museum & Gallery is the city’s arts and cultural hub, presenting an eclectic array of traditional and contemporary artworks spanning the past 2,000 years. Explore the exhibitions, discover the historic building’s history and delight in tea and scones in the Courtroom café. stalbansmuseums.org.uk

The Odyssey

The Odyssey

Photo: Megan Jones

Whatever the weather, St Albans’ The Odyssey is definitely worth a visit. The art-deco style cinema offers the ultimate decadent film viewing experience with its plush red velvet seating, fantastic feature films and glamorous 1920s-style exterior. Whatever you watch, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time at this fantastic film venue. odysseypictures.co.uk

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SEE

The Clock Tower

St Albans Clock Tower

Courtesy of St Albans Museums

Amongst the city’s plethora of historic buildings and cobbled streets sits the magnificent Grade I listed Clock Tower, presumed to have been erected as early as 1405. England’s last remaining medieval town belfry, it is surprising how seamlessly this bell tower blends with its more contemporary surroundings. stalbansmuseums.org.uk

Roman Ruins at Verulamium Park

Verulamium Park

Photo: Megan Jones

A must-visit on a beautiful day, St Albans’ Verulamium Park possesses over 100 acres of glorious greenery, the beautiful River Ver, St German’s Block (which originally existed as a part of the Roman City’s eastern wall), and entry to the Hypocaust, a 1800 year-old Roman underfloor heating system. Once you’ve perused the park’s ancient sights, grab a coffee from the café and perch at the top of the hill for stunning views of the city and cathedral. enjoystalbans.com

Eat & Drink

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

Photo: Megan Jones

As Britain’s oldest pub, the Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is most definitely a venue to add to the list of visits. Originally a resting place for lodgers travelling to and from London, this long-established, characterful pub is laden with history dating all the way back to the 8th Century. yeoldefightingcocks.co.uk

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The Waffle House

A well-beloved hangout in one of the most historic parts of St Albans, delight in delicious doughy treats at The Waffle House, one of the city’s most popular foodie attractions. Nestled within a former 16th Century Kingsbury watermill, the cosy family-run restaurant serves up a variety of moreish Belgian waffles, from garlic butter to banana flapjack and warming hot dutch apple. wafflehouse.co.uk

The Ivy

The Ivy St Albans

Part of the prominent Ivy restaurant collection, St Albans’ The Ivy is the ideal place to enjoy a sophisticated meal within the city. After a busy day of shopping and exploring, head to the brasserie for cocktails at the restaurant’s elegant onyx bar, and indulge in Ivy favourites such as roast pumpkin tortellini with black truffle, minute steak and the delectable chocolate bombe. theivystalbans.com

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