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Hertfordshire Area Guide

The Cathedral of St Albans Image courtesy of Flickr user Ben Sutherland

Hertfordshire is one of the Home Counties, tucked between Bedfordshire to the north, Cambridgeshire to the north-east, Essex to the east, and Buckinghamshire to the west. Greater London lies along its southern border and much of the county sits comfortably within the capital's commuter belt.

Hertfordshire has a rich literary history: Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and George Orwell's Animal Farm were all inspired by or set within Hertfordshire's pleasant boundaries.

Hertfordshire has many faces. To the south, near the M25, there are lots of towns that are home to thousands of London commuters. While to the north and east, the development thins out, leaving rural scenes in its place. Some of the UK's most expensive properties can be found in St Albans, Three Rivers and Hertsmere.The county hosts headquarters to several large companies - Tesco is in Cheshunt, JD Wetherspoon is in Watford, and GlaxoSmithKline has a presence in Ware and Stevenage. However, the county is also made of up swathes of prime agricultural land.

There are ten boroughs, from west to east: Dacorum, Three Rivers, Watford, St Albans, Hertsmere, North Hertfordshire, Welwyn Hatfield, Stevenage, Broxbourne and East Hertfordshire. The county town - Hertford - is to the east. It's a pretty town with superb transport links, good schools and some beautiful rivers. However, many prefer the nearby town of Ware because it boasts similar features, but has a much stronger sense of community.

Watford scores highly because of its proximity to London. The nightlife is buzzing, with a lot of pubs and decent-sized clubs. Stevenage has a similarly active nightlife.

Demographics

Hertfordshire has a population of 1,116,000, making it the second most densely populated county in the country. The largest settlements are Hemel Hempstead (82,000), Stevenage (80,900), Watford (79,700), St Albans (64,000) and Welwyn Garden City (43,200). All of these, apart from Stevenage, are in the southern half of county.

Transport

Hertfordshire connects travellers from the south east (London) to the Midlands and the North, making it well-connected by rail and road. The following major roads and motorways pass through the area: the A1, A5, A6, A41, M1, M11, and M25. Western, Eastern and Midland Rail Services are supported by smaller regional lines, and there are two fast commuter lines to London. Stanstead and Luton are the closest major airports.

Education

There's a high level of excellent education in Hertfordshire, although the relatively dense population does mean that the majority of schools are oversubscribed. There are 26 independent schools and 73 state secondary schools.

The University of Hertfordshire is in Hatfield and has about 23,000 students.

Amenities and Shopping

As the second most populous county in the country, and as a key commuter district for London, Hertfordshire has the facilities to match.

The glass-roofed Harlequin Shopping Centre in the centre of Watford is visited by over 17 million customers each year. If you're after a more low key and more independent shopping experience, the smaller market towns and villages outside the most developed areas of the county offer plenty of opportunities.

But Hertfordshire isn't just about shopping. From Snow City in Hemel Hempstead to the nature parks and wildlife reserves of the north of the county, this well-placed county is an exciting and rewarding place to explore.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact editor@primelocation.com

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.