A weekend in St Albans

Thursday 12 May 2011

St. Albans is a small town in Hertfordshire, about 30 kilometers north of London. It has a great history that goes back to Roman times when it was called Verulamium and it's most famous for its impressive cathedral.

The St. Albans Cathedral

St. Albans is a lovely place for a weekend break away from London. The main highlight is the magnificent St. Albans Cathedral. At one point in time, the Cathedral was the principal abbey in England and it was here that the first draft of the Magna Carta was created. You could easily spend an hour or two exploring the Cathedral, with its soaring ceiling and stunning stained-glass windows, or strolling around the Cathedral grounds. At 84 meters, the nave is the longest of any cathedral in England. Don't miss the quirky blue statues in the Cathedral!

The Roman Mosaics

St. Albans is also home to a unique archeological discovery in England: a series of Roman mosaics from ancient Roman homes in the area. The mosaics are in an amazingly well-preserved state and can be viewed at the Verulamium Museum. Parts of the old Roman settlement can also be viewed at the adjacent Verulamium Park.

A stroll around St. Albans

St. Albans is perfect for a leisurely stroll. High Street is lined by a good variety of shops, cafés and restaurants. Standing proudly at the edge of High Street is a 15th century Clock Tower, one of only two similar towers in England. Further down High Street towards George Street, you'll see wonderful examples of Tudor architecture. Turn towards Fishpool Street for more gorgeous centuries-old houses. You'll also find the Black Lion Inn in Fishpool Street, a historic inn that's been refurbished and is the perfect place to stay for the weekend.

Simply the best waffles!

Further down the road on your right, as you cross the bridge over the River Ver, you'll find the old Kingsbury Watermill which now houses the Waffle House. Savoury or sweet, they serve simply the best waffles! While you're there, ask for a tour of the watermill. Across the road from the watermill, you'll find the entrance of the Verulamium Park, a gorgeous park with extensive lawns, lakes and Roman excavations. The Verulamium Museum is located right next door. Situated at the far end of the park is the Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, a pub that is reputed to have accommodated Oliver Cromwell during the Civil War. St. Albans is a short 20-minute train ride from St. Pancras Railway Station in London, making it ideal for a day-trip or a weekend break. The closest airport is London Luton, just 15-minutes away. The original post can be found on the Velvet Escape travel blog. Images are courtesy of Keith Jenkins.

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