Moving to Hertfordshire is a wonderful idea. In this guide we look at education, transport, eateries and things to do, as well as providing some helpful moving tips.
Beautiful Hertfordshire in Southern England is surrounded by the counties of Essex, Buckinghamshire, Greater London and Bedfordshire. It contains several towns including; St Albans, Watford, Hitchin and Hemel Hempstead. Various landmarks lie across the county, from the popular Leavesden Film Studios, to family-friendly Paradise Wildlife Park. Many families choose to move to the county because much of it is within easily commutable distance to London, and trains running from the most southern parts of the county run into various central parts of London. If you’re thinking of moving to Hertfordshire, this simple and easy guide will help provide you with plenty of information to help you make your decision, and to help you on moving day as well.
Getting To Hertfordshire & Getting Around
Hertfordshire sits to the North of London which makes it extremely popular with commuters. Trains from the Southern part of the county serve various parts of London. St Albans and Harpenden run trains to St Pancras, Stevenage and Welwyn run trains to Kings Cross, and Hemel Hempstead and Watford run trains to London Euston. The train journeys differ in time depending on where you are travelling from. St Albans to St Pancras takes around half an hour, Stevenage to Kings Cross takes up to 40 minutes, and Watford to London Euston takes between 20 minutes and 50 minutes depending on the service you use. These times are changeable throughout the day and dependent on peak period delays. These under an hour commute times make the Southern part of the county extremely desirable to live in.
As a driver, the county has many useful roads you can use to get around. A lot of the major roads leaving North London go through the county, including the M1, the A1 for Central Hertfordshire and the M11 for the Eastern and Northern parts of Hertfordshire. Timings for the drive very much depends on where in London you are driving to or from as congestion can play a large part in journey times. A lot of people choose to drive into a parking area within the first tube stop or train station proximity and park there before catching the train or tube into work. This not only shortens the journey time as you avoid being stuck in traffic, but it also saves money on parking right in the middle of London, which can be extremely expensive. The county also has major roads and routes connecting you to the rest of the country.
If you like to get around by cycling rather than car or public transport, there are many wonderful cycling routes in the county to choose from. Alban Way, Ayot Greenway, Cole Green Way are all popular cycling routes to enjoy. A lot of different areas are also connected by scenic cycling routes, such as Windsor to St Albans. This nearly completely flat route takes you along a beautiful stretch of the river Thames and all the way to gorgeous St Albans. On the way you take in the Jubilee River and Windsor Castle, as well as many lovely natural sights, trees, shrubs and wildlife, all which changes over the seasons. These back routes supply cyclists with a plethora of eco-friendly commuting routes throughout the county. Many of the same routes can also be used by walkers.
In terms of getting around, there are various buses, taxis, coaches and train services to take advantage of. UBER is running in Herts and is proving to be extremely popular and cost-effective, so could be a great way to get around, particularly on an evening out or if you’re running late for a meeting and don’t want to pay taxi prices.
Clearly if you are moving to a new area and have children, or plan to have them, education is important. Luckily, Hertfordshire is a great place to bring up children because recent headlines suggest that 9 out of 10 schools in the area come under the good or outstanding ratings. Various schools that have received less favourable ratings have improved over the last few years, including a number of primary schools in Welwyn Garden City. Overall the schools in Hertfordshire have a higher score than the Ofsted national average which currently sits at just below 90%. One thing parents are regularly impressed by is the Herts for Learning company run and owned by both Hertfordshire Council and schools, which is a not-for-profit organisation that dedicates its operations to improving education standards within the county.
In terms of further education, clearly those living in Hertfordshire can get to the many top universities in London such as; UCL (University College London), Imperial College London, King’s College London, London School Of Economics And Political Science, Queen Mary University Of London, Royal Holloway University Of London, School Of Oriental And African Studies, Birkbeck College, City, University of London and Brunel University. If a young person wanted to study locally, they wouldn’t struggle to find a good university nearby, namely the University Of Hertfordshire which is mainly based in Hatfield. The University is split into 10 schools, with 50 academic studies and over 20 research facilities.
Eating Out In Hertfordshire
Eating out in Hertfordshire is fantastic because there are so many excellent independent eateries and restaurants. There’s a place for chain restaurants and cafes across the country, but it is great to support independent businesses and support the local economy. This is not a difficult feat with so many phenomenal eateries within the county. The Gables Restaurant, On The Green, Chez Mumtaj, Prime Steak & Grill, Number 23, The Cochin, The Bricklayers Arms, The Tilbury and Thompson are all highly rated across the county.
Things To Do
There are many amazing things to do within the county of Hertfordshire, regardless of your taste, budget, age or ability.
St Albans is stunning simply for a walk and a coffee. It is historic and quaint and if you can visit at Christmas, you can enjoy a truly cosy, English town feel. Top places to visit in St Albans are:
- St Albans Cathedral – A gorgeous piece of historical architecture, the cathedral is beautiful in the day and at night. Catch a haunting choir performance there, or try and get one of the popular candlelit tours.
- Verulamium Park – Set in over 100 acres of gorgeous parkland, this outdoors destination is fabulous for a colourful autumn walk. There is also a museum on the site which is also well worth a visit.
- De Havilland Aircraft Museum – If you love planes, this is a great place to visit with modern and vintage war planes and exhibitions.
- Willows Activity Farm – A wonderful destination for young children with animals to pet and feed, funfair rides and interactive displays.
- Royal National Rose Society Gardens – Particularly fragrant and beautiful in summer, this is a great place to go for a wander if you like the outdoors and appreciate historical landscaping.
- Frithsden Vineyard – Set in the foothills of the Chilterns, this gorgeous vineyard is a great place for a date. Visit on a themed food night, or for an organised wine tasting.
- Amaravati Buddhist Monastery – For ultimate peace and tranquility, pay the monastery a visit. The retreat centre is run entirely on donations.
- St Mary’s Church – This beautiful and historically significant church is beautiful and has history dating back to 1140.
- The Paper Trail at Frogmore Mill – The oldest mechanised paper mill runs exhibits and a tour. Great educational fun for families.
- Ventura Wildlife Zoological Gardens – A great day out for families, this is a small zoo attached to a cosy cafe. Great for smaller children.
- Chorleywood House Estate – Set on 170 acres, this site is vast and peaceful and contains many interesting buildings, as well as lovely areas to walk in.
- Hertford Theatre – A great place to enjoy indie films, have a snack in the cafe, or enjoy the art gallery.
- Hertford Museum – This is a must visit for anyone new to the area, because it has so much history about the local area exhibited inside.
- Hertford Castle – This Norman castle is destroyed all but the gatehouse, which you can still visit.
- Bayfordbury Observatory – Lovers of astronomy must visit this incredible place. They hold public evenings enabling you to look through their telescopes, see their planetarium, enjoy chats from researchers and generally get involved in all things astronomy.
These are just some of the great things you can enjoy in Hertfordshire. There are many unique qualities, attractions and facilities within each town and area that make it special.
Assuming you have done your research, checked out all the local areas and decided to move, you now only have the small task of moving on your hands! Sure, it is listed as one of the most stressful things a person can do in their lifetime and if you have done it before, you probably know why that is. However, it doesn’t have to be awful, upsetting, dramatic or stressful, or at the very least it can go as smoothly as possible, with a few simple tips:
Become Majorly Organised
If you’re moving to Hertfordshire and everything is finalised, you need to become Mr or Mrs organised, right away. Get a planning app on your phone, or at least make use of its calendar, and start planning everything you need to get done. The sooner everything is done, the sooner you can relax and maybe even move onto more fun tasks, like planning the interior design of your new place. You can’t complete the tasks however if you don’t have a plan.
Start Packing Early
Way too many people leave packing to the last minute, which is a big mistake because it results in stress and rushed packing, which in turn results in things being packed badly, broken and misplaced. Start packing early as soon as you can, even if it is just a box a weekend (depending on how long you have till moving day). Make sure you label the boxes well and prepare them for travel. If they are going into self storage, list them in a way that means you can identify everything that is in self storage and where.
Consider Using Self Storage
If you need to do your current house up, then it is a good idea to use self storage as an in between aide. Maybe you need to deep clean the rooms, or do the house up to rent out, either way you don’t have anywhere to put your stuff until you get the keys to your new home, in which case self storage is a life saver. Cheap self storage could also help with storing items for your new home.
Limit The Stress By Placing Kids And Pets With Friends And Family
If you can limit the stress on kids and pets by placing them with friends and family on moving day, then you should. This enables you to take care of setting up their rooms and getting the new place settled so they come into a calmer environment. On rainy or overly hot days, with lots of people milling around and lots of disturbance, even the calmest of kids or pets can get stressed so it is best to keep them out of the way if you can. If you can’t, have a quiet space for your pet to be in until you are transporting them to the new home, and have lots of entertainment available for the kids.
Book All Help Early
This includes childminders, friends who are helping you unpack, family members helping with the dog, moving trucks – everything. Everything you can book early you should, because people and companies get booked up fast, and you don’t want to miss out on their services on the big day.
Remember, your move to Hertfordshire is going to be wonderful. Just do your research, be organised and start preparing as early as you can to avoid stress and have more time to be excited about this amazing step forward for your family.