Moving to ST ALBANS - which are the nice areas please?

(27 Posts)
Missybaby Tue 10-Mar-09 16:47:19

My DH's office is relocating to Hertfordshire and we are thinking about moving to St Albans as have been a couple of times in the past (to the centre) and it seemed really nice. Heard nice things about it too. Problem is, I am looking at estate agents online but I don't know which areas are nice/safe/friendly (for bringing kids up) and it would save a lot of time if I had some idea of where's nice rather than wasting a lot of time (as we don't live near there at the moment).

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

What ages are your children? If they are school age or you don't plan to move before they start a better approach might be to choose which school you like and buy a house near there.... No bad areas really but competition for school places is fierce. Tell us what streets have houses you like/are in your budget and we can give our opinion! Or else say what you want in terms of location...

stephla Tue 10-Mar-09 17:04:20

Most areas are fine - it is a very family friendly city. Personally I would be wary of living in the centre as it the pubs are all very popular and it can be noisy.

Getting into schools is the big thing. Choose your school and move very very near. Have a look at hertschoolguru.com for catchments and which are the good ones.

I live in Fleetville / Clarence Park. It is full of young families. It has good schools and a nice park. You can walk to the centre or the station. (Traffic can be bad).

Hope this helps - and good lucj!

I would disagree about the cantre - obv the main shopping area is "lively" at night but it's not a residential area. I like all the conservation areas and unless there is a pub on the same street it shouldn't be a problem. I like Fleetville too!

Missybaby Tue 10-Mar-09 17:32:30

thank you!

my kids are coming up for 1 and 3 yrs old so i will have to think of schools i suppose. i don't want to live in the centre. looking for somewhere leafy and not a busy road (detached, 4 beds & garage & garden).

Have you seen anything you like online yet?

Ruthiebabes Fri 13-Mar-09 11:04:25

It is worth considering villages near St Albans like Kings Langley, its only about 15 min drive from St Albans. A small, quiet village with a really nice feel (well, we think so!!) Near some excellent secondary schools - Parmiters and Watford Grammar.

JimmyMcNulty Fri 13-Mar-09 13:34:02

My friend's son goes to Cunningham Hill infants which is apparently a superb school. They live very close by in a 5-bed detached with a large garden and garage. It's a shortish walk into town. We went to a lovely park not far away last time we were there, can't remember the name.

GreatGooglyMoogly Fri 13-Mar-09 13:53:57

Highfield park is a good child-friendly area with nice houses.

GGM, aren't there sometimes problems with school places from that area??

GreatGooglyMoogly Fri 13-Mar-09 14:27:54

GM, TBH there are problems with school places from most areas of St Albans at the moment as so many schools only take 30 children in reception. If the OP wants a 4-bed detached with garden and garage not on a main road then I would recommend Highfield Park as there really aren't many areas that offer all of those things. Otherwise you could look a little further out in Marshalswick or Jersey Farm.

doublehelp Fri 13-Mar-09 14:36:39

i live in chiswell green has a great park you can walk to, a great primary/junior school loads of green around and about 2 miles from the town and has its own oub too.
its great to get to the M1, M25 and A1

madeindevon2 Fri 13-Mar-09 14:58:43

u all seem to know much about schools in st albans! anyone know anything about garden fields school or aboyne lodge? are they good schools?

Qui Fri 13-Mar-09 14:59:38

shock
4 bed detached in St Albans......have you seen the prices? I assume you have if you've been browsing Estate Agents.

Are you planning to stay for good? As if so, you might like to think of the catchment areas for secondary schools as well as primary.

GreatGooglyMoogly Fri 13-Mar-09 15:35:24

MID2, Aboyne Lodge is a very good school and almost impossible to get into due to a reception intake of 60 a couple of years ago (it is usually 30) which is now resulting in siblings taking 28 or 29 of the 30 reception places. Garden Fields is good too and has a massive playing field. I know they take at least 60 for reception, though it might be 90. No school is easy to get into anymore though.

madeindevon2 Fri 13-Mar-09 15:43:07

im seriously considering private if i can afford it. even using the word "lottery" talkng about your childs education makes me {angry}
whats st columbas college like?

GreatGooglyMoogly Fri 13-Mar-09 16:57:57

Very good as far as I know, though I don't know anyone with children there. I think it is a Catholic, boys only school, ages 4-18.

QueenofHerts Sun 15-Mar-09 12:37:20

My first thought was "God the PRICE!!"

Assuming you know all that grin if you are thinking of state at primary and secondary, best bet is north-east sector of city - good (but large) primaries and then in good position for Beaumont, Sandringham, STAGS, Verulam. But of course the admission rules vary form year to year and popularity of schools vary from year to year. So don't plot your child's education - but living in NE does generally put you in better position.

I disagree about City Centre - I live there and no trouble at all. Totally shit for school choice though

Madeindevon - actually I'm in favour of the curretn lottery system because it means those of us in centre or south can then stand a chance of getting into STAGS or Verulam - v. v/ difficult otherwise.

St Columbas - yes it's boys and catholic, but in practice accepts a very side range of faiths. Lots of muslims & hindus there. Excellent pastoral care, but not in same academic league as St Albans boys school.

Garden Fields excellent - not sure about how easy to get in though. Aboyne Lodge - not a hope in hell. I know of someone in the same road who could not get their child in there this year because of the sibling issue.

Highfield Park ... well there is a reason why it's more affordable and that's because of the schools. The nearest secondary is FB which is in special measures. Some kids from Highfield have got in at Beaumont, but that varies tremendously from year to year.

newgirl Mon 16-Mar-09 23:16:33

there are all sorts of lovely areas in st albans including quiet pockets in the town centre

ramsbury road/approach/cornwall road area is lovely and walking distance to station and town

fleetville more affordable and close to lovely clarence park - some rat run roads though, but some lovely period houses and a community feel - great school there - fleetville

the long roads off sandpit lane are good family houses 4 bed etcs eg gurney court, charmouth, though some are very near the train line and are expensive - long gardens

fishpool is the prettiest street, with some houses hundreds of years old but houses are small unless you are very well off

st michaels village is gorgeous but not many houses there

the roads around the abbey are very pretty and lovely family area, but pricey and parking can be tricky

the highfield estate is spacious and full of families with a great nursery though very tight for primary schools

hope that helps!! we love it here. Druce is a good agent who seems to get good properties - and no I dont work for them - they just seem to be a good place to start

Qui Mon 16-Mar-09 23:19:40

Ramsbury Road/ Approach Road/ Cornwall Road are terrible for parking, though. Can't think of any houses that are detached or have garages. Agree they're v.nice.

newgirl Mon 16-Mar-09 23:29:52

thats true - parking is very tricky round there - there are a few spaces for the more modern houses tucked at the ends but not many at all

thats a good point - if you want/need more than one car, the town centre is probably going to be tricky - there is a voucher scheme in some areas but there arent enough spaces for one car for every property

just had a look on the druce website (i must go to bed!!) - there are a couple of great ones on there - one on carlisle avenue which is a lovely road, and one on park avenue which is a fab road - house looks great - looks good value for that area - both have parking and garages I think

WantManualForKids Thu 19-Mar-09 11:01:59

madeindevon - if your husband's job is likely to be based in St. A for several years and you are considering fee paying schools, STAGs (girls) & St Albans school (boys) are really very good. Also, take a look at Beechwood Park as a prep school. It is co-ed, beautiful grounds and about 15 minutes drive from St Albans.

I would reinforce the Thurs/Fri/Sat night noise issue in town centre though. I have a house there and the combination of pup-emptying and carlos-fandango-super-loud-exhausts on small cars took a bit of getting used to! But, as has been said, St Albans is very family friendly, with all the shops & parks & clubs & groups etc that would help you integrate quickly.

HTH..

QueenofHerts Thu 19-Mar-09 17:30:02

STAGS is actually the state girls school, WantManual! grin

The private one is the similarly named St Albans High School For Girls. Very confusing.

For less academic schools than these, Abbots Hill (girls, near hemel) and St Columbas (boys) v. popular

WantManualForKids Fri 20-Mar-09 06:58:42

Quite right QoH, it is a state school! mea cupla. A very good one though...

madeindevon2 Fri 20-Mar-09 12:58:15

thanks for you replies! mine and my husbands jobs will be london based for the forseeable and plan to stay in st albans,
i will look up Beechwood Park (i have one son)!

WantManualForKids Fri 20-Mar-09 15:58:19

Not sure how familiar you are with ThamesLink (as was), but getting into London was a breeze for both of us although overcrowding was an issue. I could deal with most of the late running trains because they run so frequently in the early morning. We live in Switzerland now, so I set my watch when the train leaves every monday morning :-)

/ Start Shameless Plug Mode

I am making a huge assumption here, but if you are also on the hunt for a some form of childcare, I know our former nanny is looking a new family. If you're interested let me know, otherwise pls ignore me!

/Stop Shameless Plug Mode

pippler Tue 10-Aug-10 12:57:20

I am out of date with this forum but just wanted to up date.

My son goes to Garden Fields very happy but just changing head teachers this September. Aboyne Lodge - not unless you live really local but very unlikely to get in.
Maple is very good academic school centre of town.

Best to live near to a secondary school I think that is the struggle to get in at the moment as far as I am aware Beaumont, Sandringham are very good, however all have something to offer if the kiddie wants to learn that is. Also all very difficult to get in I'd opt for Harpenden and St Georges.
Parminter very good but have to pass an entrance exam.

Be prepared very expensive here even McDonalds is more expensive than other McDs in the UK!!!!

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