Life in St Albans

(6 Posts)
Blissfull1 Mon 04-Dec-17 05:05:41

Hi all, we are thinking of moving to St Albans, although still considering around Amersham. Could any of you share your experiences of living in St Albans please? Particularly with regards to state primary schools and nurseries. We have a 4 months old baby girl, so planning ahead. We live in London currently, but want to move somewhere a bit quieter. Which nurseries and schools you particularly like in there? Also, which areas are nice to live and which are better to be avoided? Thanks a ton!

TisapityshesaGeordie Mon 04-Dec-17 06:28:45

Hello, we live in St Albans. It's a wonderful place to raise a family, loads to do, lots of parks and green, open spaces. It has a regular market twice a week and a farmer's market once a market. Quite a few independent delis as well as all the big supermarkets. More independent restaurants now than when we first moved here when it was mostly chains. There are three theatres, a lovely cinema, a leisure centre and a couple of museums (one currently being renovated).

In terms of primary schools, most of the best are in and around the city centre. Maple Primary and the Abbey School were in the top 50 state primaries in the UK according to the Times. I think the Abbey School may have actually been in the top 10.

Maple is my DD's school (hopefully DS's too, though we won't know for certain till April) and we can't rate it highly enough. It's academically rigourous but extremely nurturing too - staff really do seem to care about the whole child, and a lot of work goes to making them "good citizens". It has a huge green playing field too, which is extremely rare in a city centre school, and a very active PTA which has poured money into the school, especially in terms of sporting equipment and the outdoor space. However, its catchment area is tiny (we only got in thanks to a double intake last year) and the house prices in it are extremely high.

Tbf most of the houses in the city centre are pricy - our tiny Victorian terrace would go for over 500k - but coming in from London I'm assuming you're prepared for that. Your money will go further if you look further out but I've always found the outskirts a bit too quiet for my taste. However, the Jersey Farm/Sandridge area is supposed to be a nice, family area and Wheatfields primary, in that area, is supposed to be excellent. It also puts you in the right location for the excellent Sandringham secondary school (unlike the primary schools, most of the best state secondaries are outside the centre).

Back in the centre, and back on primary schools, the City school; Aboyne Lodge and Bernard's Heath are all great schools and the latter two have state nurseries attached (City has a private nursery, Little Robins - supposed to be very good but HUGE waiting two year waiting list last time I checked). My DD went to Aboyne Lodge nursery and loved it but due to staffing issues we weren't 100% happy. A friend who sent her second born there too says it's much improved now though.

There are lots of other great primary schools - honestly, you'd struggle to find a bad one - but those are the ones I know best. As far as other nurseries go, my son is at St Saviour's pre-school, which he loves and which recently got an Outstanding Ofsted. It doesn't look much, it's literally just a church hall they transform into a nursery every morning, but the staff make it wonderful. I also know a lot of people with kids at Home from Home who rate it very highly.

As you can probably tell I love living here. As far as areas go, there aren't many bad ones (I've heard Oysterfields and Cottonmill aren't great, but that could just be rumour), so the best idea would be to decide which school you fancy and try and buy close to it. Good luck!

Blissfull1 Mon 04-Dec-17 22:13:54

Thank you so much for your time and all the info!😊so pleased to hear you love living in St Albans😊

zoemelb Wed 06-Dec-17 07:57:45

Hi, if things go well, we are looking to move to St Albans soon near Sandridge school, looking forward to the move. TisapityshesaGeordie I have seen the market in the mainstream every week, would you mind me asking where and when is the farmer market? I'm looking for good butchers & fish markets as well near or in St Albans. smile

TisapityshesaGeordie Wed 06-Dec-17 09:41:02

Morning! The farmers market is held in the same place as the regular market on the second Sunday of every month. There’s a great butchers - A&C Meats - on Catherine Street just off the high street, and there’s usually a couple of fish stalls on the regular biweekly market.

WhyAmIEvenHereLOL Sat 09-Dec-17 01:12:33

So I hope I'm no rude to jump in this post. I recently relocated to StA and am renting in the middle of train station and city centre at the moment. Me too think Sandridge and Jersey Farm are a bit too quiet for my taste. I found my current location is good in the sense that it's not too quiet and I can just hop into the town and get to all the shops.

So I wonder if talking about buying, which central areas are good? So obviously I'm living in the east(er) side now, how about near cathedral, the west(er) side? And I'm looking for flat, or a small house max 2 bed.

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