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City of St. Albans

St. Albans is Hertfordshire's oldest town, a modern city shaped by over 2,000 years of human occupation. From AD 43 to AD 410, it was the Roman city of Verulamium. It played a major part in the peasant's revolt and sided with the Parliament in the civil war. In 1877, it received the Royal Charter giving the town a city status, and the Abbey church became the Cathedral.

The Cathedral was built from recycled brick from the Roman Verulamium and has one of the longest naves in Britain. It contains the shrine of St. Alban, the country's first Christian martyr, and has been a place of pilgrimage for 17 centuries.

 

Luton Hoo

Luton Hoo straddles the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire borders between the towns of Harpenden and Luton. The unusual name "Hoo" is a Saxon word meaning the spur of the hill.

Luton Hoo is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, but a family called de Hoo occupied a manor on the site for four centuries. It changed hands many times and, in the 20th century, Sir Julian Wernher, an avid art collector, owned it. His son Harold Augustus Wernher married Anastasia Romanov, who brought Faberge art to Luton Hoo. Recently, it was converted into a luxury hotel, golf course, and spa.

 

Wheathampstead

Wheathampstead, an attractive village just north of St. Albans and 27 miles from the centre of London, dates back to pre-Roman times. The village has a number of pubs, restaurants, shops and a Pharmacy. In the village centre is St. Helens Church, which dates back to the 13th Century. It also has a working mill on river Lee mentioned in the Doomsday Book.

To the Southeast of the village lies Devil's Dyke, a deep ditch that once marked the boundary of an ancient settlement. It was here in 54 BC that Caesar conquered Cassivellaunaus, the king of the Catuvellauni tribe. You can still walk along the ditch, which is up to 40 ft deep and 100 ft wide.

 

Ayot St. Lawrence

The village where George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) lived for more than 40 years is only 4 miles from West Lodge. The village is reached along very narrow country lanes, and also boasts of a 14th century inn, a ruined church, a neo-classical church and pretty cottages.

 

Woburn Abbey

Woburn Abbey has been the home of the Dukes of Bedford for nearly 400 years. As such, it is steeped in a vast amount of history.

 

Knebworth House

Since 1490, Knebworth House has been (and still is) the home of the Lytton family. 25 acres of formal gardens, simplified by Lutyens, include pollarded lime tree avenues, a formal rose garden, a maze and the walled kitchen garden. The Dinosaur Trail has 72 life-size dinosaurs grazing through the wilderness walk within the formal gardens. 250 acres of parkland, with herds of red and sika deer, include a children's giant adventure playground and miniature railway.