10 reasons to live in Hertfordshire
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
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).
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
Average semi-detached house price
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
5. Hidden gem
The sculpture trail in Broxbourne Woods (literally off the beaten track).
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, Haileybury, Queenswood 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
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
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.