moving to st albans v hemel hempstead

(5 Posts)
urbanspirit Mon 15-Apr-13 14:40:47

Hi all, not posted before, but getting so confused and stressed out, need some mums advice/thoughts.

We (me + husband + 3 yr old daughter) are looking to move to St Albans, but there are very few 3 bed family homes on the market in the catchment area for a good schools and the ones that do come on seem to get snapped up at or above the very high asking prices.

So with that in mind we have also been looking at Hemel Hempstead, but know very little about what it's like there. We have been looking in leverstock green/south east side of Hemel area (husband works in st albans so we want to be on that side rather than boxmoor which I know is supposed to be nice).

Does anyone know anything about Chambersbury lane and Chambersbury Primary school or that area in general?

Anyone that knows both towns, would you say that the types of people living there are comparable? (I know that is very subjective).

What things are there to do for mums with toddlers and also are there buses into hemel town/st albans running from the leverstock green/south side of hemel near chambersbury lane and bunkers lane.

Any thoughts or advice very gratefully received.

MurderOfProse Tue 16-Apr-13 10:58:58


We recently moved to Hemel Hempstead. Unfortunately I know very little about St Albans so I'm probably not much help, but I just wanted to say how much I like Hemel. We're Boxmoor end so again not much use, but so far after nearly six months we've been very happy here. There seems to be lots to do for children, playgroups, after school clubs etc, and the walks in the countryside nearby and along the canal are fabulous. You do get a lot more for your money than in St Albans which is exactly why we're here. I also love having the Snow Centre on our doorstep plus there's the XC climbing stuff and so on.

Sure, the town centre is not as fancy as St Albans but it is functional and has the shops we need for most things - if we want more we can go to St Albans, Watford, Milton Keynes, Brent Cross etc.

It has its rough areas but most places do - you don't have to go in them.

Definitely no regrets here.

urbanspirit Tue 16-Apr-13 16:15:03

Thanks murderofprose, good to hear from someone in Hemel, there seems to be more active mumsnetters in st albans, or that's my perception, which makes me wonder if the type of people that live in Hemel different, I know alot of people who have moved from north london to St albans, so I guess you get that influence/type of person there. Where did you move from originally?

MurderOfProse Wed 17-Apr-13 23:36:17

I was noticing that too - most of the posts seem to be about St Albans or Berkhamsted etc. There are a few of us in Hemel though!

We moved from SE London where we'd been for almost ten years, but the main reason for being there was that it was the only place we could afford to buy a house (i.e. not a flat) at the time. I guess that makes us the type of person that puts more importance on "bigger house" over "local area" (within reason!) as after all that's kind of what we've done here with Hemel, but Hemel is so much nicer than our part of SE London so it is still a huge step up and we're certainly not slumming it to put it mildly. In fact even if I had the money I think I would still prefer Hemel over St. Albans because of the things like the snow centre, climbing wall, outstanding gymnastics club etc but those are personal interest issues really as we're quite active.

I've also lived in Harrow and West Hampstead, and although those areas were nicer than the part of SE London we were in, we needed the space and more importantly the better noise insulation you get with a house.

I'm originally from a very middle class village in Cornwall so idealogically I'm probably better suited to north London than SE, but our wallets weren't at the time ;-)

There's some pricey parts of Hemel e.g. Felden down near the station, where I wouldn't mind living myself if we won the lottery, as well as the slightly rougher estates elsewhere, and plenty in the middle too so there is a very wide range of types of people who want to live here.

As mentioned I don't know a lot about St. Albans at all beyond "more expensive on RightMove with seemingly no cheap bit" and "naice town centre" so I would hazard a guess from that, and the people I've met here locally that there is more variation in income bracket in Hemel.

Whyareallthenamestaken Thu 18-Apr-13 14:45:07

Hi Urbanspirit!

As someone who grew up and moved back to St.Albans, I love it. Yes it's expensive and you may have to settle for a smaller house, but what you get is a town furnished with excellent schools, and a very quick route into London (might not be a priority for you but does explain the house prices sadly).

The local perception here would be that Hemel is dreadful and St.Albans is fantastic; however I'm sure that is not entirely fair and encompasses a lot of local snobbery!

I have friends who live at the St.Albans side of Hemel, and while they are not over enamoured with their local area, their children go to a school in one of the nearby villages, which they are really pleased with.

Also, it could well be that the nicer bits of Hemel are preferable to the rougher buts of St.Albans.

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