St Albans and the surrounding areas has always been prime
commuter belt territory, with large swathes of residents commuting daily into
London, and it seems that in recent years, the popularity of the local area
with commuters shows no sign of change, as those looking to buy outside London but
still be able to travel to work in the city have flocked to the local area for the
advantages that living here offers. If you are new to the area and have been
looking at homes with the intention of living somewhere within an easy walk to
the station, it can be tricky to get to grips with the different parts of the
city, so here is some info on the different areas of St Albans and their ease
of commute into our capital city.
St Albans City Station situated off Victoria Street, close to the Town Centre is served by Thames Link trains and transports commuters to St Pancras, Blackfriars and London Bridge in 21 minutes on the fast train, so properties located within a short walking distance of the station and the town centre are prime location for a quick journey between home and work.
These properties attract a more premium price for having the ease of the town centre and the station on your door step, plus a whole host of other amenities on tap.
Properties in the town centre include a large proportion of Apartments/Flats and also great swathes of terraced housing, so it’s a common trend for commuters to initially opt to rent or buy close to the town centre due to its convenience and then to move further out of town as their families grow and more space and the desire for a larger garden and better parking options sets in.
Speaking of parking, in a historic city, with many houses and streets built before the convenience of the motor car, parking can be a tricky issue for residents around the town centre, and it’s almost non-existent for commuters as St Albans District Council operates a “permit parking only” scheme in large swathes of the city, designed to deter those who want to park their car there all day for the station, rather than paying the prices of the Station Car Parks, so the town centre areas are great for walking to the station, but can be more tricky to make work if you have a more modest budget and a growing family and car parking to consider.
There are various “rent a car parking space” schemes where private individuals rent out a parking space on their drive or property close to the city station, and these are often a more cost-effective option than parking at the main city stations for commuters.
Areas around the town centre and station which fall into prime walking distance to the station include the St Peters area (roads around St Peters Street, Holywell Hill and Fishpool Street) which are all city centre based and the Clarence Park area which heads out towards Fleetville on the other side of the station. You can typically walk to the station in between 5-15 minutes from these areas. These areas pretty much all have parking permit restrictions in place, but with such great transport links to take you t ow here you want to go, you may decide that a car isn’t necessary for town centre living.
Move a few minutes further away and past Clarence Park you’ll
find the Fleetville and Camp Road areas, still within about a 20-minute walking
distance and popular with young families thanks to their (slightly) more
reasonably priced housing, access to local shops and school catchment areas. There
is lots going on in these areas for young families, plus you’ve got the
convenience of Clarence Park and some green space also within walking distance.
These areas comprise of terrace housing with permit parking and also some newer
builds with their own driveways towards the outskirts, where parking
restrictions may not be in place.
Further out a little more next door to the Camp and Fleetville is the popular Highfield Park estate. Built on the site of an old hospital around two miles from the city centre, Highfield park epitomises suburbia, with its family friendly homes and streets built in the 1990’s. Walking distances to the train station from here are around 30 minutes, so it may be wise to invest in a bike if you are commuting from here. Similarly, Marshalswick also neighbours Highfield in this area on the other side of Hatfield Road and is a similar walking distance to the station. Marshalwick is a more diverse property area with its own “quadrant” shopping centre and ferocious school catchment areas which change year-on-year.
Going out past the town centre towards Verulamium park and neighbouring the Abbey Cathedral are the quaint more “exclusive” areas of St Michael’s and the conservations area. Think Olde Worlde Tudor England charm fused with the modern day and throw a myriad of pubs in for good measure and this is what you will find in this area. Although a slightly longer walk to the station (around 30 minutes), you are paying premium to live within the earshot of the bells of the Abbey and throwing distance of Verulamium park.
We then move to areas outside of the town centre including Jersey Farm a newer “estate” development to the North-East of the town and Sandridge, once a village in its own right and now an extension of St Albans. Move to the East of the town adjoining St Michaels and you’ve got Batchwood, Townsend New Greens and Bernards Heath areas, all not really walkable to the station, but offering more modern living and more space. Cycling to the station would be doable from these areas within 15-20 minutes.
Go over to the East of the city towards Radlett and Hatfield and we then come across Smallford, Colney Heath and London Colney all previously small communities which have morphed into greater St Albans. These areas host a vast difference in properties and at three-four miles away, all of these locations would most likely require a drive to the station.
Heading to the South of the City and we then come to the area of the city served by the “other” train station – the Abbey Flyer. The St Julians/Cottonmill and Sopwell area of St Albans lies within walking distance of the Abbey Flyer line, as do the St Stephens and Chiswell Green areas. All of these areas are walkable for the Abbey Flyer, but would require transport for St Albans City. The Abbey Flyer Line boasts transport links to London via Watford Junction Train Station where commuters can change for travel to London Euston Station and the gateway to the London Underground.
Staying to the south of the city and going out to St Albans peripheries the St Stephens areas of Bricket Wood, Park Street and How Wood are all further out of town so expect more for your money and better transport links via the M25/M1 junctions at Chiswell Green, but also all three areas boast their own train stations which are on the Abbey Flyer Line going into St Albans Abbey Station and out to Watford Junction Station on the other side. Although a longer commute than from the City Station area, these areas offer the best of both worlds and offer a more “village” feel to those who still want London within easy reach.
Speaking of Villages, the St Albans district boasts some great villages and so for those looking for a taste of rural living, the villages of the district and postcode boundaries include Redbourn, Wheathampstead, Flamstead and Markyate are in truth closer to Harpenden, (the next stop up on the Thames Link further away from London). Those living on the “Harpenden side” of St Albans may choose to travel to Harpenden station, although expect the journey to take longer (26 minutes) and not a many fast trains travel direct to Harpenden as St Albans.
Those living in Redbourn, Flamstead and Markyate are spoilt for choice for transport options, although all links to London will involve driving or getting a bus to a train station. These villages are an easy drive to Luton Station on the Thameslink (where you’ll allegedly always get a seat) or you could drive to nearby Hemel Hempstead and get the line directly to London Euston.
So, for those moving out of London initially who may want to stay close by to the City Station then this option represents city working without the London life. For those wanting to move to a bigger home or more rural area, moving further out with the prospect of driving into the station, or traveling to another station may be a good option.
We are always happy to advise on the best areas of St Albans and the surrounding areas to suit your individual lifestyle and needs, so feel free to give us a call on 01727 221 290 or pop into the office and have a chat with us for more information on the best areas of the city to suit you.