St Albans versus ???

(10 Posts)
mrpractical Fri 01-Mar-13 15:38:14


We are moving from Seattle to the London area and St Albans is currently our top pick; but from 5000 miles away. From here, it looks good to us because it is large enough to have good food and amenities, small enough to be a community, far enough from London to have housing we can afford, yet the commute is reasonable.

We are visiting next week and also want to look at places outside St Albans, but are not sure where to look. I will be working near Farringdon, so it must be along the train line. We are hoping for some qualitative advice on St Albans versus other places along that line.

For context, we are very active (bike, ski, hike) and have a four year old son. We want a place he can run with a pack, get muddy, climb trees, and bike the neighborhood. We want to be involved in the community, and know our neighbors. And of course, we want a great school (state non-denominational).

What would really help is something along the lines of "if you like this and that, you should look at Harpenden", "people who like this and that like St Albans", "if you get out as far as XXXX, you are getting rural".

Any advice much appreciated,

HarpoBoy Sat 02-Mar-13 09:53:19

Harpenden is much nicer than St Albans.

You get a seat on the train in the morning, schools are much better, and you can easily walk to the station from most parts of town.

Smaller, more intimate place too. If you want the bustle of St A - its only 6 mins on the train

HeartyHerts Sun 03-Mar-13 10:11:04

Depends if you want somewhere more rural Wheathampstead is nice - 10 mins drive to Harpenden, St Albans or Welwyn Garden City so not totally cut off. Fab school and lots of off road cycle routes. Secondary schools not so great for - if you can get in them they are fab. There is talk of a new secondary school in Harpenden which would help.

HarpoBoy Thu 07-Mar-13 08:18:08

Wheathampstead is nice, but it means a drive to the station. And secondary schooling is a real problem.

Stick to somewhere within 0.5 miles of Harpenden station, and you wont go far wrong.^4262&insId=1&radius=0.5&displayPropertyType=&minBedrooms=&maxBedrooms=&minPrice=&maxPrice=&retirement=&partBuyPartRent=&maxDaysSinceAdded=&_includeSSTC=on&sortByPriceDescending=&primaryDisplayPropertyType=&secondaryDisplayPropertyType=&oldDisplayPropertyType=&oldPrimaryDisplayPropertyType=&newHome=&auction=false

juneau2 Mon 11-Mar-13 17:34:14

Harpenden is much nicer than St Albans.

This is very subjective, BTW! Harpenden is nicer than St Albans IF you want to live in a small community with a small and not very varied high street and not a lot of diversity.

If you want a good town centre, a historic cathedral, a theatre, a venue for dance/comedy/pantomimes/etc, and a bit more going on then you'd prefer St Albans.

We relocated to St Albans from the USA, so if you want any tips, PM me.

juneau2 Mon 11-Mar-13 17:37:07

P.S. I don't mean to sound 'down' on Harpenden. It's a lovely small town with a common and a lovely high street. It's a small town though. St Albans is a small city. Wheathampsted is a beautiful village with some amenities. If you want a more rural setting for getting muddy, etc, then a village might be more your scene. Redbourn is also a very nice village which is close to Harpenden.

newgirl Mon 25-Mar-13 18:22:58

Lol - I much prefer St Albans to harpenden too.

H is pretty but has huge road going through town centre and Luton airport a little too close.

St a has lovely woods and parks and great schools. Pricey though. Hope you enjoy looking!

ColdandLonely Wed 03-Apr-13 14:57:37

I agree about preferring St Albans to Harpenden too. St Albans has everything you need and is far funkier and cosmopolitan than Harpenden, which is a bit more old lady conservative.

Whyareallthenamestaken Thu 18-Apr-13 14:56:43

Haha love the St.Abans brigade sticking up for us over Harpoboy's rather hilarious post!

Amenities wise, St.A, Harpenden, Wheathampstead, Redbourn are all so close to each other, it's fairly redundant thinking you can't enjoy what they all have to offer wherever you live..

Harpenden schools have got better, but it wasn't so long ago everyone from Harpenden sent their kids to school in St.Albans which is full of very highly achieving schools - and more of them.

You might get a seat on the train easier from Harps, but add 10 mins onto your journey each way which counts a lot for me when it comes to commuting!

That said, you can't go wrong with either really. Just as others have said, I'd avoid the villages as you will have a nightmare when it comes to secondary school placements.

Good luck with the move!

mewkins Sun 16-Jun-13 10:37:16

I lived in St albans for a few years. The main thing I didn't like was the gridlocked traffic every morning and evening. However shopping and schools are good. I'm not keen on Harpenden and it regularly comes out as one of the priciest places in the UK. You get more for your money just about anywhere. There are some lovely villages and towns in Herts- I live in east Herts and generally the further north you go the more yiu get for your money. Hitchin is lovely.

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