Are these the best places to live in Hertfordshire?

One of Ayot St Lawrence's chocolate box cottages. Picture: Archant

One of Ayot St Lawrence's chocolate box cottages. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

From St Albans and Harpenden to Hitchin, Hertford and Tewin, Herts isn't short on lovely places to live. 

And with all of them offering beautiful homes and gorgeous green space within a short commute of London, it's hard to say which is best.

Nick Doyle of Cassidy & Tate, who have offices in St Albans, Marshalswick and Wheathampstead, said: "As a keen cyclist I am fortunate to get to see some lovely locations in Hertfordshire, with village pubs especially coveted and marked highly.

"But as a St Albanian born and bred, I have no hesitation in nominating it for the top spot; Hertfordshire has an embarrassment of riches with St Albans the jewel in the crown."

Steve Walker of Collinson Hall in St Albans said: “I have always liked Ware and its neighbour Hertford; both lovely towns. In that area, Little Berkhamsted is a gem. Hitchin has improved massively over the last few years and is a real pleasure to visit and grab a coffee in the square.


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"The Ayots and The Brocket Arms in particular still stand out as very special places to walk around and a new favourite destination has to be Heartwood, between Wheathampsted and Sandridge. Watching the new forest evolve year-on-year has been an unexpected pleasure.

"Heading into the Chilterns, I have walked and cycled through Ashridge Park and the villages of Aldbury and the Gaddesdens many times. We are truly privileged to have this amazing scenery so close by.”

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But which are the very best of the bunch? We asked Nick, Steve and Richard Goss from Hamptons in Harpenden to share their absolute favourites, with the following 10 coming out on top. 

Berkhamsted

Berkhamsted high street offers a mix of national chains and independents (Picture: Karyn Haddon)

Berkhamsted high street offers a mix of national chains and independents (Picture: Karyn Haddon) - Credit: Archant

Nestled in the Chiltern Hills, with much of the surrounding countryside classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Berkhamsted is a lovely place to be. The Grand Union Canal runs through the town, and the canalside is an ideal spot to seek out local wildlife or go for a bike ride. 

The Ayots

George Bernard Shaw's home Shaw's Corner at Ayot St Lawrence. Picture: Alan Davies

George Bernard Shaw's home Shaw's Corner at Ayot St Lawrence. Picture: Alan Davies - Credit: Alan Davies

Ayot St Lawrence, Ayot Green and Ayot St Peter are a trio of pretty rural hotspots collectively known as The Ayots. The charming village of Ayot St Lawrence – once the home of playwright George Bernard Shaw – is the best known of the three. 

Hertford

Parliament Square, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO

Parliament Square, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Hertfordshire's county town, Hertford dates back to the 10th century and lies at the confluence of four rivers – the Beane, Rib, Mimram and Lea. It is home to many historic buildings the oldest of which is the Norman St Leonard's Church, which dates back to the early 12th century. 

Essendon

High Road, Essendon. Picture: DANNY LOO

High Road, Essendon. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

A hilltop village overlooking the valley of the River Lea, Essendon is located in the south-east of Hertfordshire. The former home of novelist Dame Barbara Cartland, it's less than five miles east of Hatfield, but in terms of look and feel it’s a world away from the busy Hertfordshire town. 

Hitchin

Views of Windmill Hill, Hitchin, from Hermitage Road. 

Views of Windmill Hill, Hitchin, from Hermitage Road. - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Pretty Hitchin's historic town centre is packed with beautifully preserved Tudor and Georgian buildings. Its cobbled Market Place, flanked by shops and restaurants, is a favoured spot for special events in the town. 

Harpenden 

Murrary Bierman failed to comply with a community protection notice by entering Harpenden. Photo: Da

High Street, Harpenden. - Credit: Archant

With its outstanding schools, fast rail link into the capital and sought after semi-rural setting, Harpenden is a popular place to be — particularly among wealthy London commuters. Not surprisingly, it's also one of the most expensive places to live in the UK, with the average second-hand sale price in the town coming in at a hefty £845,569 last year, according to Savills.  

Ware 

The River Lea, Ware. Picture: DANNY LOO

The River Lea, Ware. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Ermine Street, which Ware is built on, was the Roman road between London and Lincoln – and with signs of occupation dating back to 4000BC, the town is one of the oldest continuously occupied settlements in Europe. Its riverside location makes Ware a popular spot for water-based activities such as boating, fishing and kayaking, and walkers and cyclists make the most of the towpath.

Aldbury

Scenic Aldbury, Hertfordshire.

Stocks Road, Aldbury. - Credit: Google Streetview

Just outside Tring, with the rolling Chiltern Hills and the varied delights of the nearby Ashridge Estate close at hand, is the beautiful village of Aldbury. Its pretty pond, surrounded by historic homes, offers the ultimate in chocolate box charm.

Tewin

Tewin Stores, Hertford Road

Tewin Stores, Hertford Road - Credit: Archant

Located three miles from Welwyn Garden City, Tewin is an upmarket, community-minded idyll with its own shop and cafe, Tewin Stores, which is run "by the village, for the village". Living here is beyond the reach of many, however: according to Rightmove, the average sale price for property in the village over the last year was £1,258,480.

St Albans 

St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Alan Davies

St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Alan Davies - Credit: Alan Davies

A cathedral city with Roman remains and period architecture aplenty, St Albans provides all the convenience of modern life with the bonus of a charming historic twist. There’s also a bounty of shops and restaurants on offer, as well as a speedy 21-minute commute to St Pancras. 

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