St Albans is the 13th best place to live in the UK
High house prices but you get what you pay for
Currently considered to be among the most expensive places to live in the UK outside Central London, this mostly suburban district is a paradise for well-off commuters. It's a price worth paying though, as transport links are truly superb.
Our 13th best place is far from unlucky for its Hertfordshire residents in St. Albans. 50% of the smarty pants residents have a higher education qualification! And with it comes the big bucks, with some of the country's top earners residing in the area. Their kids are clever too with GCSE results way above the national average. But just 22 miles from the capital your perfect pad doesn't come cheap!
Trains to Kings Cross St Pancras from St Albans Central are particularly good, with the Thameslink running every ten minutes or so at peak time and taking just 10 to 30 minutes, while the "Abbey Flyer" will get you to Watford Junction in less than 20 minutes from St Alban's Abbey. Airport access is also good, with Luton Airport Parkway just over ten minutes away by train, and Heathrow a 45-minute drive.
But living in St Albans isn't all about getting away from the place! A monthly farmers' market, a street market every Wednesday and Saturday and a French market every four months should see foodies in 7th heaven. And if you're tired from trekking around the markets all day, there's also a strong pub culture. Along with our chart leader Edinburgh, St Albans can claim one of the highest levels of pubs per square mile in the country. And while there are several credible claims for the title of oldest pub in England, St Albans' Ye Olde Fighting Cocks currently holds the official Guinness Book of Records title.
St Albans is a great place for schools, too. A respectable 63 per cent (national average 46 per cent) of the borough's school children achieved the magic five A* to C grades at GCSE. Primary schools do excellently, too. Aboyne Lodge, Abbey Church, Maple School, St Michael's C of E and St Peter's School have all comfortably exceeded the national average aggregate score (of 242) in English, Maths and Science, with at least 280 points and, in some cases, a perfect 300. All are state schools located within a mile of central St Albans.
So, just how much is it going to cost you? Unsurprisingly, it's not cheap. A semi-detached home goes from around £450,000, while detached houses fetch a slightly eye-watering average of £700,000. Flats are more manageable at around £280,000 on average. But, if you've got the wherewithal, it's worth it. St Albans is the place with something for everyone.
Copyright Channel 4's Location Location Location: Best and Worst Places to Live. Published 02/06/2008