10 reasons to live in Hertfordshire

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Our focus this week lands on Hertfordshire. Here, Local editor Olivia gives us a rundown of what makes Hertfordshire such a wonderfully varied place to live

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 1. Thing about the area

Hertfordshire is a massively diverse place. There are metropolitan parts still on the tube network, lovely market towns with bustling high streets and and unusual shops. The first garden cities are here – Letchworth and Welwyn.

There are miles of rambling countryside and woodland, but also lots of very traditional English villages (mine is not unlike an episode of The Archers sometimes).
 

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2. Child-friendly café

Marconato's is very family-friendly – always a big welcome for kids and good for regular nights out too. Rosey Lea's in Bishop's Stortford has fabulous home-baked cakes and wonderfully deep crumpets and the staff will help you and your buggy up the front steps.

Inn on the Park in Verulamium Park, St Albans, is the most fabulous park café ever with events and parties offered too.
 

3. Child-free night out

Sopwell House in St. Albans offers sophisticated grown-up food and somewhere to have a lie-in if you've managed to secure overnight babysitters.

Elsewhere, you could give the local multiplex the cold shoulder and recapture the glamour of the silver screen at The Rex in Berkhamstead.
 

4. Outside space

Lee Valley Park, where there's miles and miles of it. Ashridge Estate is a beautiful National Trust establishment.
 

At a glance

Average semi-detached house price
Hertfordshire: £339,337
UK: £201,427

Average class size for primary schools
Hertfordshire: 26.9 pupils 
UK: 27 pupils

Average class size for secondary schools
Hertfordshire: 20.2 pupils 
UK: 20.5 pupils

Average salary
Hertfordshire: £21,400
UK: £26,000

Unemployment rate
Hertfordshire: 2.4%
UK: 7.8%

5. Hidden gem

The sculpture trail in Broxbourne Woods (literally off the beaten track).
 

6. Schools

Primary

Fairfields in Cheshunt, Mandeville in St Alban's and Northgate in Bishop's Stortford are among some of the oversubscribed schools due to their excellent reputations.
 

Secondary

Watford Grammar and Hockerill Anglo European College in Bishop's Stortford both come highly recommended. The Steiner School in Kings Langley also attracts quite a lot of attachment parenting minded families. Additionally, some of the top independent schools are here too, HaileyburyQueenswood and Haberdashers' Askes.
 

7. Free visitor attraction

Natural History Museum at Tring is a great educational day out (though their cool volcano room and earthquake simulator is currently closed for refurbishment for summer 2013).
 

8. Day out

Willows Farm is a big hit with younger ones – slightly older ones would love a tour of the Making of Harry Potter at Warner Brothers Studio near Potters Bar.
 

9. Places to live

St Alban's, Harpenden and Bishop's Stortford to some extent are commutable extensions of 'Nappy Valley', full of ex-Londoners who've moved out to enjoy great schools and a bit more house for their money.

Three Rivers was voted the second most peaceful place to live in the UK. Most of Hertfordshire is within very easy striking distance of the Big City but has all the bonuses of not living in London itself. There are plenty of great schools, lovely neighbourhoods and lots of big companies have their HQs here. A million residents can't be wrong!
 

10. Places to shop

There's outlet shopping at the Hatfield Galleria plus Christoper Place in St Albans.
 

About Olivia

I'm originally from London and now live with DH and our two boys in rural East Hertfordshire. I've been a part-time resident at MN Towers for seven years but I grabbed the opportunity with both hands to share some local knowledge with other MNers.

 

 

Last updated: 05-Sep-2013 at 9:41 AM