Just a short drive out of London, the city of St Albans makes for the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the capital.
With an idyllic centre juxtaposed with, quite frankly, one of the biggest and most impressive cathedral’s I have ever seen, the city offers something for everyone.
My fellow London lady Becks suggested St Albans as a day trip outside of the M25, she had visited before, so fortunately I had a tour guide for what was set to be a great girlie day out.
From shopping to culture to pure fresh air, here is how I recommend you spend a day’s visit to St Albans.
First up, retail therapy!
This little city certainly caters for just about everyone’s taste when it comes to shopping. For me, high street brands rubbing shoulders with a few of my country fashion favourites meant alarm bells were ringing for my bank balance.
Rather than one simple high street, this quaint little city is split up into sections, with Cath Kidston and Country to Coast making home in Christopher Place. The Market Place area boasts the likes of Fat Face and Jack Wills, and you can find shops like New Look, Oliver Bonas and Kurt Geiger in The Maltings Shopping Centre. I warned you it was dangerous!
Joules is also on hand to cater for all of your country fashion needs and if you are looking for a gift for one of your friends there will be no better place to head than Raindrops on Roses, which has everything from local handmade products to well known brands from further afield.
Time to take a stroll away from the shops and discover the vast history of this beautiful city.
On the way to the Cathedral, we took a quick diversion through a quiet and somewhat undiscovered little walled garden where we were sure to enjoy a sniff of lavender which was in abundance in the garden.
Walking out of the peaceful Vintry Garden, it is hard to miss the Cathedral towering overhead. Dating back to the beginning of the Christian faith in Britain, this impressive building was an Abbey before it was made a Cathedral in 1877.
Unless you walk around the whole exteria of the building, from the outside, the sheer scale of the Cathedral isn’t really comprehendible. Don’t get me wrong, the outside is simply beautiful, but the gasp comes when you step inside and into the longest nave in England, at 85 metres long, it really is breath taking.
Make sure you take a stroll around the whole Cathedral as the designs seem to get more and more intricate the deeper you explore inside. With so much history to discover within this ancient building, you could easily spend all day just wandering around.
Some of my highlights include the colourful Rose Window, the medieval wall paintings which can be seen in the nave and I challenge you not to be taken aback by the intricately beautiful main altar.
Grab a breath of fresh air
After leaving the Cathedral, we turned left out of the main entrance and headed down the hill across the park. This is where we stumbled upon Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub. Bevvy time!
You will surely struggle to walk past this one without sitting down for a cheeky pint or two. Luckily, when Becks and I went, we were spoilt with beautiful sunshine, so the wooden benches outside the front of the traditional pub were extremely inviting.
Put your feet up and reminisce over your finds from the day so far, both cultural and fashion, before strolling just a stones throw away into Verulamium Park.
Once again, wow comes to mind. I really didn’t expect to find such an amass of open space in this city.
A nature ridden lake lies tranquil, surrounded by fields and castle ruins. Time for a wander around the water for a chance to really blow away those cobwebs.
Just behind the lake lies what’s left of the Roman Wall of St Albans which was built between AD 265 and 270 to defend the Roman city of Verulamium.
It no longer stands as tall as its original five metres, but it provides a sense of the deep history harboured within the city.
The park provides a peaceful way to end a perfect day in a city which has everything to offer for anyone looking for a day away from a hectic daily lifestyle.
I hope you enjoy your day out in St Albans should you head there for a visit, and be sure to share your finds with me!