St Albans is a picturesque city featuring a rich history and Roman past along with lakeside parks with vast wildlife, young forests, children’s activities and museums. Many visitors choose to stay in a luxury hotel near the town centre, though there are also plenty of family-friendly studios that offer many amenities you would find at home.

    History buffs will love exploring the historic cathedral, ancient ruins and aircraft museum. Young travellers can enjoy a multitude of parks with playgrounds and room to run around as well as a farm with exciting children’s activities. Here are the 10 best things to do in St Albans.

    1

    St Albans Cathedral

    Appreciate a historic cathedral with stunning architecture

    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo
    • Budget

    St Albans Cathedral features magnificent architecture and spectacular stained glass dating back to Norman times. The cathedral is located near the intersection of Abbey Mill Lane and Romeland Hill. Saint Alban, who was known as Britain’s first saint, was buried on this site 1,700 years ago, and this area has since been a place of pilgrimage, prayer and reflection.

    You can gaze upon the only 11th-century great crossing tower that's still standing. Among the most sought after sights are the exquisite stained-glass windows that wrap around the cathedral and date from between 1376 and 2006.

    Location: St Albans AL1 1BY, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1727 860780

    Map
    2

    Verulamium Park

    Enjoy a stroll at a lakeside park with a children’s playground

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Budget

    Verulamium Park is a 40-hectare park with a wide range of activities and historical importance. You can find the park located close to the city centre on Lake Iala. At the lake, you may enjoy a picnic while watching the waterfowl and dragonflies.

    Younger visitors can feed the ducks and run around on the playground. The park is named after the Roman city of Verulamium on which it stands, and you can still see the city walls and outline of the London Gate.

    Location: St Michael's Street, St Albans AL1 3JE, UK

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +44 (0)1727 819366

    Map
    3

    Heartwood Forest

    Explore a woodland with patches of ancient forest

    • Couples
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Heartwood Forest covers a 347-hectare area that was once farmland but now contains more than 600,000 trees planted by volunteers, making it the largest new native forest in England. You can get to the forest by driving 4 kilometres northeast from St Albans on the B651. Nestled among the new woodland, there are dense patches of old bluebell woodland, hedgerows, wildflower meadows and open grassland.

    You can explore the forest through a network of trails or wander through the beginning stages of a community orchard that is being planted by local children. Wildlife is abundant, and over 87 species of bird and 27 species of butterfly have been recorded here.

    Location: Sandridge, St Albans AL4 9DQ, UK

    Open: 24/7

    Map

    photo by Peter O'Connor (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    4

    Verulamium Museum

    Explore a Roman museum

    • History

    The Verulamium Museum is built on the site of one of the largest Roman cities in Britain and highlights the everyday life of the time. The museum is located in Verulamium Park. In the museum, you will find ancient artefacts and exquisite murals. You can tour recreated Roman rooms that feature intricate, large-scale models and collections of Roman gold coins.

    Children will enjoy the hands-on discovery areas, dress-up clothes and activities. The gift shop sells a wide variety of items including books, jewellery and decorative pieces.

    Location: St Michael's St, St Albans AL3 4SW, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 10 am to 4.30 pm, Saturday from 11 am to 4.30 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +44 (0)1727 751810

    Map

    photo by Carole Raddato (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    5

    Redbournbury Watermill and Bakery

    Visit a restored 11th-century mill with a museum and bakery

    • Couples
    • History

    Redbournbury Watermill and Bakery features a mill that was used to grind flour as early as the 11th century and continued to operate until the 1950s. In the 1990s, the property was restored into a functioning mill complete with a bakery and museum. In the museum, guests can use step ladders to explore 4 floors, and records of the rebuild can be viewed on a commemorative brick nestled in the southern wall.

    The bakery was built in one of the barns on-site, and here you can purchase freshly baked bread. Modern baking equipment was added, but the outside of the building remains untouched.

    Location: Redbournbury Mill, Redbournbury Ln, St Albans AL3 6RS, UK

    Open: Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm (closed Sunday–Friday)

    Phone: +44 (0)1582 792874

    Map

    photo by Colin (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    6

    Sopwell Nunnery

    Visit ancient ruins and enjoy a picnic

    • Couples
    • History
    • Budget

    Sopwell Nunnery is the sight of a Benedictine nunnery built in 1140, but what you now see here are the ruins of the Tudor mansion that was built over the top of it in 1560 by Sir Richard Lee. If you are travelling by train, you can get to the ruins with a short 15-minute walk from the St Albans City Train Station.

    As you stroll around the property, you will see remains of the gatehouse, kitchen and parts of 2 wings of the home. The River Ver runs alongside the property, and beautiful flower meadows are spread throughout during spring and summer, making it a perfect spot for a picnic.

    Location: Cottonmill Lane (managed by St Albans Museum, St Michael's, AL3 4SW), St Albans AL1 2BY, UK

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +44 (0)1727 751810

    Map
    7

    Willows Activity Farm

    Enjoy a fun day at the farm with children’s activities

    • Families

    Willows Activity Farm has more than 300 farm animals and 40 activities, shows and attractions for children to enjoy. You will find the farm just 2 minutes from Junction 22 off the M25. You can meet the animals, ride on Tristan the Runaway Tractor, watch children’s shows and enjoy funfair rides and acres of adventure play.

    Even in cold or rainy weather, there is still tons of fun indoor adventure and soft play. The farm offers special events including February Frolics, Easter Egg and Bunny Hunts, an A-maize-ing Maze in the summer, free pumpkins during the Pumpkin Festival and Santa’s Grotto at Christmas.

    Location: Coursers Rd, St Albans AL4 0PF, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)3333 312060

    Map
    8

    St Albans Farmers Market

    Shop fresh local goods while enjoying street food and live entertainment

    • Couples
    • Families

    The St Albans Farmers Market features fresh, locally grown food with a vibrant and entertaining shopping experience. The market can be found in central St Albans on St Peter’s Street. Local offerings include handmade cheeses, seasonal fruit and vegetables, fresh herbs, top-quality meat and game raised on local farms, freshly baked pastries and bread and locally made crafts.

    You can sample street food and enjoy live entertainment while you shop. Yoga classes and additional activities are offered on occasion, so be sure to check their weekly vendor list to see the participants.

    Location: St Peter's St, St Albans AL1 3DP, UK

    Open: Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm, Monday–Saturday from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1727 836781

    Map
    9

    De Havilland Aircraft Museum

    Tour an aircraft museum dedicated to de Havilland

    • History

    The de Havilland Aircraft Museum gives visitors the opportunity to get up close and into several de Havilland aircraft and examine their engines and memorabilia. It is located on the site of a 17th-century moated manor house, Salisbury Hall, that is situated just off of the Junction 22 exit from the M25.

    The hall was used as a secret location where the prototype of the Mosquito was designed and built. You will find most of the museum’s collection in a new hanger featuring the world’s first jet airliner, the Comet, and other aircraft.

    Location: Salisbury Hall, Shenley, London Colney AL2 1BU, UK

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10.30 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1727 826400

    Map
    10

    Shaw's Corner

    Tour the residence of playwright George Bernard Shaw

    • Couples
    • History

    Shaw's Corner was built in 1902 and was the second residence of Irish playwright and political activist George Bernard Shaw. The house can be found near the intersection of Bride Hall Lane and Bibbs Hall Lane. One of the most impressive elements of Shaw’s corner is its exquisite garden containing a 6-foot square hut where Shaw did a majority of his writing.

    There is also a small theatre area next to the writing hut where people perform. You can enjoy the rich scenery on Shaw’s Corner Walk, which is a circular walking trail that leads from Wheathampstead to Shaw’s Corner.

    Location: Bibbs Hall Ln, Welwyn AL6 9BX, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1438 820307

    Map

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