Typically, when people move from London to St Albans as the vast majority of the St Albans population has over the years, the prime desire we often hear, is to be quite central, in close proximity to the station and to other local amenities within the city centre.
However, after a few years, we often find that people are back in our offices wishing to move again. This time their priorities have changed as they have perhaps now started a family, acquired a couple of pets, or simply just need more space. They will then normally migrate outwards to other parts of St Albans with the priority of buying a nice “family” property or “forever home”, often closer to local schools, transport links or more green spaces.
As all of us who have ever moved home will know, a property which works for right now, may not always work for the future and as life changes, what we need from a property changes too.
It’s easy to become quite St Albans centric in terms of thinking about where to live around the city centre and in the wider reaches of the areas it offers, but if you fancy a taste of the countryside, there are some wonderful rural parts of St Albans just on the outskirts with bustling village communities that are definitely worth a look as these offer the best of both worlds.
The “Village” communities outside the city typically offer the benefits of more property for your money, more green spaces, access to fantastic schools (as do most places locally), easier access to the motorways and a local community feel.
(Caveat - If you will be moving in order to secure a school place any time soon then it’s important to do your research and check catchment areas as there are some black holes in St Albans, as recent years allocations have proved).
Given the “new normal” that we are all living in, maybe now the fact that many of us can work from home remotely means that actually being in close proximity to the station for a quick journey to work isn’t such a prime consideration. It may also be that the last year has prompted your desire to live somewhere where you are a little more spread out from others.
So if you fancy a taste of Village life, why not consider one of the local villages attached to St Albans either by location or postcode.
4 miles equidistance to both St Albans and Watford, this popular AL2 village boasts easy access to both the M1 and M25 motorways. With its own station, grade 2 listed buildings, pubs, shops, school and community facilities, this village is a real commuter hot spot. Secondary schools are available in St Albans and Watford. Nearby woods and countryside offer ample opportunities for walking.
A much-extended village/suburb of St Albans, Chiswell Green in the AL2 postcode is also ideal for commuters as it too offers quick access to the M25 and M1 motorways. Plus, with Starbucks and Waitrose both just on the doorstep, the popular Greenwood park with its own Café, plus a slew of other Pubs, shops, schools and community facilities, Chiswell Green is another sought-after place. Chiswell Green also offers a quick walk into the city centre and Verulamium Park so it’s perfect for those who want to be a “stones throw” away from the city centre without actually being “in” the centre. Chiswell Green has its own secondary school, and also offers access to other schools in St Albans and Watford.
Situated between St Albans and Hatfield, the AL4 village of Colney Heath can be found just up the A414 not far from the A1M. With a popular common and river running through it, Colney Heath has more of a feel of being in the countryside with a range of rural walks on the doorstep, whilst still being very close to local amenities including popular pubs, church, school and shops. Getting into a preferred secondary school from Colney Heath has proved a little trickier in recent years, although this is always subject to change each year.
One of the AL3 villages further away from St Albans, this really is a taste of rural life but with the M1 motorway and other great transport links literally on the doorstep and easy access into St Albans in around 10-15 minutes. Flamstead has its own pubs, a village shop, church, a nursery and a primary school, plus a strong village community which makes it a fab place to live. Children have the choice of outstanding secondary schools in Harpenden. Literally in the middle of the countryside, this village enables you to either stay happily “cut off” from civilisation, or the ability to return to more populated areas in just 10-15 minutes.
Featuring a fantastic combination of pubs, primary schools and shops, plus of course with Colney Fields Shopping Centre on the door step, this large village is actually one of Britain’s biggest villages, boasting a population of around 10,000 people! Situated in the AL1 & AL2 postcodes, the River Colne runs through the centre of the village, giving it a village feel at the centre, but the M25 and A414 are both only a couple of minutes from the village. Like neighbouring Colney Heath, London Colney has suffered from a drought of secondary school places in recent years, with children split between a combination of different secondaries throughout St Albans and further afield, however as we said before, the landscape changes year-on-year so do your research.
Next door to Flamstead on the A5 towards Dunstable and the furthest “AL” village as it’s right on the border of Bedfordshire, Markyate creeps into an AL3 postcode but is only a 15 min drive back to St Albans city centre and a 10-minute drive to Dunstable Downs and Whipsnade Zoo. Again, Markyate has excellent transport links to the M1 and easy access to Luton Parkway station for commuters (meaning in “normal times” you get a seat before the St Albans City Station madness!). The village has a variety of shops, pubs, a primary school and churches, plus other community amenities and is surrounded by local countryside. Like neighbouring Flamstead, most children in the village currently attend secondary school in Harpenden.
Park Street, within the AL2 postcode and neighbouring both Bricket Wood and Chiswell Green has the benefit of having its own train station on the Euston line. Again, this busy village office great local transport links with close proximity to the M25 and M1, plus the A414 too. Park Street has community a plenty with primary schools, shops, pubs and other local amenities situated within the village, plus the choice of St Albans and Watford secondary schools. With fields and woods on the door step, Park Street offers something for everyone.
A popular AL3 village with its own village common, numerous pubs and amenities plus a High Street, Redbourn is often a popular choice for moving out to “the countryside” because the village is surrounded by countryside but is also literally is just 10 minutes down the A5183 and offers easy access to the M1 motorway. Redbourn offers primary school options plus various community buildings and is a strong village community. Children from Redbourn attend Secondary school in St Albans, Harpenden and Hemel. The “nearest school” catchment is split in the village so worth checking previous year’s statistics for your property if this is a consideration.
Some would argue that Sandridge almost merges into Marshalswick nowadays, but the small village with its own high street, pubs and amenities really is a standalone community. A church and village hall plus recreation facilities are on offer in the village. Plus “Heartwood forest” is also nearby. Sandridge also offers access to outstanding secondary schools in St Albans.
All in all, moving to any one of the local village communities surrounding St Albans offers the best of both worlds - access to the city centre within a 10-to-15-minute drive, and the opportunity of enjoying the slower pace of village life within a smaller community and with so many fantastic options for village living right on the doorstep, the question is, which one of them really is right for your next move?
We are always happy to help and offer advice on local areas surrounding St Albans, so if you would like more information please do feel free to give us a call on 01727 221290.
Why not let us know what you think and give us your opinion about living in different villages surrounding the St Albans area!