St Albans is one of the UK’s oldest settlements, green yet bustling and metropolitan, making it the perfect small city. It’s packed with Roman remains and is dominated by the impressive cathedral abbey. What’s more, it’s within easy commuting distance of London – you can be in the capital within 20 minutes.
A buzzing centre full of bars, shops and restaurants is combined with plenty of parks and open spaces such as Verulamium Park, where the kids can run around. Or escape into the rolling Hertfordshire countryside, commons and forests.
Equally, locals love the strong sense of community spirit and quality of life here, not to mention the many cultural and sporting opportunities available.
According to the Happy Family Home Guide for 2018, the city is one of the best places in the UK to raise a family, in a ranking system that looked at factors from crime rates and house prices to how many schools were OFSTED-rated outstanding or good.
Meanwhile, in 2016, the Sunday Times singled out St Albans as one of Britain’s best places to live. The same year, it topped the Better Family Life index run by a price comparison website.
Also that year, Hertfordshire ranked well for levels of employment, with 81% of those aged 16 to 64 in work, while nearly two-thirds of local school pupils achieved at least five A* to C grades at GCSE.
You’ll certainly find a particularly strong line-up of excellent state and independent primary and secondary schools in the area, including a number with the top ‘Outstanding’ rating from OFSTED.
The Variety of St Albans Property
With its strong local housing economy, investing in property in St Albans is always likely to be a safe bet if you’re looking to put down secure roots for your family. After all, the market here will always benefit from its closeness to London.
So, with strong demand for local properties, selling up and moving on if and when the time comes is not going to pose any problems.
If you’re considering moving your family to St Albans, the central and Abbey conservation areas include romantic streets with some gorgeous Victorian and Georgian housing.
For small families, again in the town centre and around the station, there are plenty of newer apartments, varying in size from one to three bedrooms.
As their broods grow, many people move out to the edge of town and the more spacious streets with their 20th-century housing stock, in areas such as Cottonmill, Prae Wood or the family-friendly suburb of Marshalswick, just a mile or two from the city centre, or perhaps one of the outlying villages. Kings Langley, for example, is a mere 15 minutes’ drive away.
Prices vary dramatically even with St Albans, so shop around for the right home. Check out new developments, too. Part of the centre near the Alban Arena venue, just off a main shopping street, is being converted into new flats, while new builds include townhouses and flats on Gabriel Square, a few minutes’ walk from the station.