Heritage > Counties > England


A relatively small county in South East England which covers just 629 square miles. The county is divided into two distinctive areas.

In the east the new towns of Welwyn Garden City, Letchworth Garden City and the town of Watford are highly industrialised whilst in the West of the county, lie many smaller towns and villages which are overwhelmingly agricultural in their nature. Residents of the smaller west Hertfordshire towns and villages are known locally as 'Hedgehogs'.

Hertfordshire is blessed with some excellent examples of Britain's scenic beauty in the Chiltern Hills, which run through part of the west of the county into Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.

Being comparatively close to London the county has some of the finest examples of traditional English country homes within it's borders. Hatfield House, Knebworth House and Brocket Hall all date back centuries whilst in the market town of Berkhamsted a Norman castle still stands.

It was at Berkhamsted that Graham Greene, the author of such works as 'Brighton Rock' was born.

Local Towns and Villages

  • ABBOTS LANGLEY Where Nicholas Breakspear, the only British Pope (Adrian IV 1154-59) was born in nearby Bedmond.
  • BARNET Half in Middlesex and half in Hertfordshire, it was conferred a charter by King John and is known as Chipping Barnet.
  • BERKHAMSTEAD Situated on the Grand Union Canal with its old churches and inns, the town is a lovely place for a picnic and a country day out.
  • BISHOP'S STORTFORD A hilly town, with a mixture of medieval and Victorian buildings.
  • BOREHAMWOOD Those famous film studios where the BBC now makes EastEnders.
  • HATFIELD The church has a window by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones.
  • HEMEL HEMPSTEAD A rather concrete town but with a delightful high street rising in a gentle curve towards the church.
  • HITCHIN Has the remains of a prehistoric hill fort called Ravensburgh Castle.
  • ST ALBANS YouÌll find a pleasant blend of the medieval and the modern in this cathedral town.
  • TRING Famous now for its reservoirs which attract black tern, crested grebe and many other wildfowl.
  • WATFORD Originally Watlingford as the Roman Watling Street crossed the nearby Colne river. An 18th-century description mentions the river making the town impassable and the "very long street which is extremely dirty in the winter".
  • WELWYN GARDEN CITY One of the first artificially planned towns begun by one Ebenezer Howard and completed by the New Towns Act of 1946, officially designated a New Town in 1948. Residents refer to the new town as Welwyn.
  • Bushey
  • Cheshunt
  • Chorleywood
  • Elstree (partly in Middlesex)
  • Harpenden
  • London Colney
  • Oxhey
  • Radlett
  • Royston
  • Sawbridgeworth
  • Totteridge
  • Tring
  • Wheathampstead

Places to Visit

  • Hatfield House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
  • Knebworth, Knebworth, Hertfordshire
  • Wrotham Park, Barnet, Hertfordshire
  • Benington Lordship Gardens, Stevenage, Hertfordshire
  • Berkhamsted Castle, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
  • Cathedral And Abbey Church Of St. Alban, St. Albans, Hertfordshire


  • Boxing Day: St AlbanÌs Mummers - St Albans. An ancient Christmas custom in which men and women exchange clothes and visit houses. From this activity emerged mumming plays which still survive here.
  • Mid-June: Bovingdon Revels - Bovingdon.
  • June: Croxley Revels - Croxley A Festive celebration with music and dancing.
  • 3rd & 4th week in July: Barnet Festival - Barnet
  • 3rd week September: AylettÌs Dahlia Festival - AylettÌs Nurseries, St Albans.
  • Early April & September: Hatfield Fair - Hatfield.Autojumble, the largest jumble sale in Europe of items connected with motoring and road transport, is also held at the National Motor Museum. With its monorail and nearby country pile, this is well worth a visit at anytime.
  • September: Stevenage Fair - Stevenage
  • 3rd week in July: Flower Festival - Hemel Hempstead.
  • October: Music Festival - BishopÌs Stortford.
  • 4th week in May: Hertfordshire County Show - Redbourn.

Famous names from the region

  • Glittering and outrageous pop star Elton John is the chairman of Watford Football Club.
  • Cecil Rhodes, one of the builders of the British Empire, was born at Bishop's Stortford in 1853.
  • The philosopher Sir Francis Bacon lived at Gorhambury House at St Albans.

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