St Albans was recently named by the Sunday Times as the best place to live in the south-east. Which is not surprising when you consider what it has to offer.
It doesn’t only have a long history – with its outstanding Roman remains and handsome buildings dating back to the Norman, the Tudor and the Georgian periods to prove it – but it is today a modern cosmopolitan city, perfectly situated in the green belt and some of the most glorious countryside in the south-east but with the added bonus of ready access to London, just 20 miles away.
In fact, the city’s unparalleled transport links will get you to London, with all its opportunities and attractions, in just a 20-minute train ride. Thameslink takes commuters direct to the City, travellers straight to Gatwick and Luton airports, beach buffs to Brighton, and with a quick change to Eurostar, on to Paris, Brussels or even further afield. For drivers, the M1, M25 and A1(M) motorways are on the doorstep, putting you on your way to any destination in the country within minutes.
The area boasts more than its fair share of league table-topping schools, both state and independent, including several well-regarded Jewish primary, secondary and nursery schools. For shopping, the city embraces the usual run of High Street stores plus an eclectic selection of independent boutiques – fashion, homeware, antiques and more – catering for all tastes and purses, as well as one of the largest outdoor street markets in the country.
And who needs Brent Cross, when you can choose between malls in Watford, Welwyn Garden City, Luton and the Galleria in nearby Hatfield, all within easy reach. For kosher shopping, a limited range of groceries is available from local supermarkets, but for anything else you might need, kosher delis and butchers are just a short drive away in nearby Radlett or Borehamwood.
Leisure facilities abound. There are two outstanding museums – the Verulamium Museum, focussing on the city’s Roman history, and the brand-new St Albans Museum and Art Gallery, highlighting other aspects of the St Albans story.
There are leisure centres, gyms, health clubs, spas and swimming pools galore; open spaces such as the attractive Verulamium Park; historic pubs and distinctive restaurants; together with countless cultural opportunities, among them a unique independent cinema, entertainment venues including a small theatre, and a thriving music scene.
Best of all, the pace of life is noticeably more relaxed…