With just a 20-minute train journey north of London you can be in St Albans. This buzzy Hertfordshire city has long been a favourite for those wanting to move out of London. But apart from being on most commuter’s wish list, there’s a host of things to explore for those wanting wanting a weekend break from the city, like its huge cathedral and crumbling Roman walls. There is a great selection of indie restaurants, brunch spots and a foodie lovers market.
For a budget-friendly brunch, visit a local favourite Hatch, which stays open for dinner at the weekend. Try their duck hash or sweetcorn fritters. Up for some authentic, fluffy mouthful of pudding, The Waffle House is the place. It is situated in a Grade II-listed watermill.
Quaff wines by the glass at bijou drinking hole The Bishop’s Cave. The friendly staff will pair your plonk with a personalised selection of cheeses. After something stronger? Check out the Gin Cave next door.
Have a different cinema experience at The Odyssey, a fancy indie cinema; built in 1930 and still maintains its art deco style. It offers super-comfy seats, table service, and several bars serving drinks with cheeseboards. The line-up is a mix of big blockbuster and art house films.
Tick off the city’s historical highlights on a circular walk. Start at the mighty Cathedral. Keep going to Verulamium Park, named after the Roman city on which it stands - via stop-off at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub-down to the Roman walls and back via the Verulamium Museum.
For keep sake, check out the Raindrops Roses charity shop. It’s full of carefully curated, sustainable stocks and locally made gifts, and all the proceeds go to cancer charities. If you are after an edible take-home, try the Alban Bun. The original hot cross bun is sold at St Albans Cathedral cafe every Easter.