• The Guardian

St Albans: ‘Not too big, not too small.’

What’s going for it? St Albans is a Goldilocks kind of place: it’s just right. Old (one of Britain’s oldest settlements), but not over-preserved. Not too frantic and urban, not too dull and commutery. Dense, but green and verdant.

The city centre is a historical delight, high on a hill and folded into Verulamium park, bursting with Roman remains and ancient trees. Not too big, not too small. Technically speaking, it’s a city, with a ma-hoo-sive cathedral abbey (including England’s longest nave, trivia geeks) and the cultural heft of a city; its beer festival is a sight to behold. But you can walk to the city limits.

It’s perfectly positioned not too far away from anywhere in particular, 20 minutes’ journey from central London, cupped by the M1 and the M25. Mum and Dad moved here in the mid-1960s; Let’s Move To… must be in the genes. This is where I began life in a starter home on a suburban cul-de-sac at the edge of town. Four decades on, though, there’s only one teeny tiny problem: the property prices. Just wrong.

The case against Some people might call it Posh Watford. How dare they.

Well connected?

Trains: a dozen or so an hour at peak times to London St Pancras (19-34 minutes), and six or so north to Luton (about 15 minutes) and Bedford (40 minutes).

Driving: on a good day, it’s an hour into central London. Plus you’re 10 minutes’s drive from the M25 and M1; half an hour to Luton and its airport; and about 45 minutes to Heathrow airport.

Schools Great. Primaries: among many good, Cunningham Hill, Oakwood, Fleetville, St Alban & Stephen Catholic, Skyswood, Bernards Heath, Abbey CofE and Maple are “outstanding”, says Ofsted. Secondaries: Marlborough, Verulam and Townsend CofE are “good”, with Beaumont , Sandringham, St Albans Girls’ and Loreto College “outstanding”.

Hang out at… A fine selection of boozers, such as the Six Bells and the Foragers, plus good food at Thompson and Lussmanns.

Where to buy This is prime commuter territory; get in anywhere you can. Large detacheds and town houses, £800,000-£2.25m. Detacheds and smaller town houses, £600,000-£800,000. Semis, £400,000-£975,000. Terraces and cottages, £325,000-£675,000. Flats, £200,000-£450,000. Rentals: a one-bedroom flat, £750-£1,100pcm; a three-bedroom house, £1,200-£2,250pcm

The Daily Express has just announced property price increases of 17.2% in the last 12 months.

If you are lucky enough to live in St Albans, you are sitting on a prime property investment. At The Home Extension Team, we are the experts in helping you to make the most of your property. Based in Hitchin, we cover the whole of Hertfordshire and beyond and have extensive experience of home improvement projects in St Albans, including extensions, loft conversions and renovation projects. Why not contact us to see how we can help you.

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