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Moving to St Albans / Which areas and schools can you recommend?

(14 Posts)
kathrin72 Mon 25-Nov-13 22:17:24

Hi there
I'm planning to move to St Albans from London with my husband and daughter as we need a bit more space and I'm wondering which areas people could recommend. I know that considering schools is a big thing, my daughter just turned 1 so I guess I still have a bit of time to get my head around them... Is Fleetville a nice area? Which areas would people recommend? We currently live in Hammersmith so we're pretty used to having a little deli, butcher etc round the corner...
Any ideas highly appreciated!

JenningsRoad Mon 25-Nov-13 22:30:39

Hi, I am from St Albans.

Fleetville is OK, it's near the town and station and has a good primary. It is a multi cultural area and has a bit of a community feel with both small shops and a large Morrison's but the traffic can be very bad as it is all on a major through road.

Most of St Albans is pretty nice, apart from the Cottonmill area which is grim.

kathrin72 Tue 26-Nov-13 11:19:48

Thanks a lot! It's so tricky to house hunt without knowing the area but it sounds like at least schools seem pretty good everywhere...

looknow Wed 27-Nov-13 10:24:25


Cottonmill is not grim. It has plenty of hard working families.

If you live in Jennings Road then I guess you are used to large detached houses just shy of a million pounds. Maybe you should do some research before labelling areas "grim"


mellicauli Wed 27-Nov-13 10:50:28

The schools everyone wants to get into are Maple, St Michaels, Cunningham Hill, St Peters. My son goes to Fleetville and I have been very impressed with it.

You need to be quite canny with schools' areas as there are a lot of families and the catchment area can be small. Get a subscription to Herts School Guru and it will give you an idea if the house you are buying would be likely to get you in where you want.

If you need to commute to London, buy in walking/cycling distance of the station if you can afford it. Traffic in the morning is very slow throughout St Albans and parking is expensive.

I agree that "grim" is a bit harsh for Cottonmill. There are a few grey and unattractive houses down there but the area next to the nunnery and old swimming pool looks lovely. And the watercress nature reserve is a little gem.

Watch out when searching for areas they call St Albans but aren't really (Chriswell Green, London Colney, Park Street). Personally I'd rather live in St Albans "proper". I have always tried to avoid living too close to the centre of town because there are a lot of popular (i.e noisy) pubs there.

swiftchange Wed 27-Nov-13 17:37:35

Couldn't resist! Cottonmill is actually a lovely area to live. You are smack bang between 2 outstanding primaries, St Peters and Mandeville. Local community is great, friendly and it is very near to town, station and the park. OK, houses are not the most attractive in St Albans, but you do get plenty of house and garden (i.e. can still buy a family house for under 500k). We love it and when we moved recently, specifically looked for a house in the location because we didn't want to move too far away from amenities and local friends. And yes, we have a HUGE garden!

JenningsRoad Wed 27-Nov-13 21:22:37

I wasn't casting aspersions on the diligence of families living in Cottonmill hmm.

But, it's subjective, and in my opinion the Cottonmill area is not one of the nicest areas. With the rosiest of tinted glasses, no-one could honestly say it's an attractive area.

And my job means I know the area very, very well and it has the worst crime rates of the city.

snowpo Wed 27-Nov-13 21:55:21

Think about secondaries too, a friend just moved there. To be in the catchment for the secondaries she wanted (which are very good) she had a limited area she was looking in. The house prices are high and she found she had no chance of buying unless she was chain free.

FormaLurka Thu 28-Nov-13 23:08:07

Marshalswick is a good location. For secondaries you have Beaumont and Sandringham. STAGs (girls school) is nearby-ish.

newgirl Tue 10-Dec-13 17:52:50

If you look in fleetville you should be near to fleetville school and Beaumont secondary both of which are fab. Very small catchment for Beaumont and getting smaller each year. you can walk to the train station.

Marshalswick you would be near several good primaries and good secondary sandringham but a real trek to the train station.

Cottonmill has many lovely roads and is walking distance to two stations, town centre and fab verulamium park. Full of families too so good for meeting other young families.

Depends on your budget - sadly the nicest parts are probably pricier than west hampstead now

cheekbyjowl Wed 11-Dec-13 19:30:42

Can't go too wrong. its very des res

if you like the deli/village feel then also look at sandridge and wheathampstead.

fairylightsatchristmas Sun 15-Dec-13 21:19:03

would you consider renting for a year or so? It would give you the opportunity to get the feel of the place. When I moved there about 14 years ago, we didn't know where the supermarket was, the post office, anything, but it doesn't take long once there. It IS crazy expensive and very competitive. I know a couple of sets of friends who had between 700-800k to spend on a house and kept getting beaten to it by others!! Traffic is utterly awful. It can take 30-40 mins to get across town when its at its worst so I would agree that you need to try and get yourself within cycling / walking distance of the station if that matters for work. Having said that, it is a great place to live and work and if we weren't horribly priced out (we live 20 miles away and drive in sad now) I'd be back there like a shot. In my job I visited a number of the primaries regularly and I always thought Aboyne Lodge and Bernards Heath had the nicest "feel" to them. Maple always seemed snooty and really up itself. Never liked going there much. PM if you like x

Turnipgreen Sat 22-Feb-14 19:07:44

Similar question to ones posed already but I am looking to move to the St Albans area. My children are both at school there and I wanted to move a bit closer. What are the best villages around the area that are say within a max 15-20 minute journey by car or public transport?

CreightonAL1 Wed 01-Oct-14 23:22:33

My family moved to St Albans from outside the area and did a lot of research.

Jennings Road your comments about Cottonmill are utter nonsense. I have a pleasant 10 minute ride to the station along the Alban Way each day or a 25 min stroll. Lovely wide roads, big houses, big gardens and affordable too.

Having lived here 2 years I've not seen or heard a sniff of trouble and if anything if moving from London you may find it too quiet and suburban.

My children go to Mandeville which is an amazing school, has grounds and huge lawned playing fields which are the envy of many and is amongst a clutch of schools which will not be expanding beyond a 2 class intake each year (unlike garden fields jmi for example).

Ultimately it's St Albans. It's not a huge place and virtually all the schools are rated good or outstanding. There are no bad areas and anyone who thinks there is needs some perspective!

Fleetville is nice too and would certainly be an easier transition than going straight to complete suburbia.

I hope your move goes/has gone well!

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