Saunders 1865 | Moving to Watford and St Albans

Moving to Watford and St Albans

FreeAdvice - ContactAre you moving to Watford and St Albans? Both lying less than 20 miles north of London, these two Hertfordshire towns are within perfect reach for commuting to the city. Each offers a less frenetic lifestyle with easy access to the countryside. St Albans has a reputation as one of the most expensive places to live outside London, while Watford is a major transport hub with a thriving local economy— but for VIPs relocating to the UK, both have plenty to offer.

Our free, in-depth Moving to Watford and St Albans report includes info on:

• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city

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Putting Watford and St Albans on the map

St AlbansClose neighbours, these two towns are divided by the M25 London orbital, with Watford to the south and St Albans a mile or two to the north.

St Albans came to prominence as the country’s second-largest Roman city, Verulamium. It was subsequently renamed St Albans after Britain’s first Christian martyr was executed here in approximately A.D. 324.


Click here to enlarge the St Albans map


Watford, however, was not settled until Anglo-Saxon times, on a low hill overlooking a ford across the River Colne. During the 20th century it became the centre of the British printing industry and it continues to be a regional business centre.



Both Watford and St Albans enjoy exceptional transport links:

  • St Albans has two railway stations, lying on the Bedford to Brighton line
  • Commuter trains from St Albans reach St Pancras in 18 minutes
  • Watford has three railway stations and one underground station
  • Watford trains reach Euston in 15 minutes
  • Services run from Watford to the Midlands, North West and Scotland 
  • Two new underground stations are due to open in Watford in 2016
  • Both towns offer easy access to the M25 and M1
  • Luton and Stansted airports are within easy reach
  • However, a season ticket to London will cost approximately £3000 a year, which needs to be factored into your financial decision making


Click here to enlarge the Watford map

The areas

When it comes to renting property, St Albans and Watford are very different beasts. St Albans is smart and one of the most expensive places outside central London for renting or buying a house. Watford may be characterised as St Albans‘ poorer cousin, but it offers a vibrant town centre, cheaper rents and the same easy access to London and the countryside.

St Albans

  • St Albans property ranges from mediaeval cottages and Georgian terraces to modern executive homes, 1930s houses and modern apartments
  • If you’re looking for period grandeur, scour the surrounding villages of Wheathampstead, Childwick Bury, Aldenham, Ayot St Lawrence, Ayot St Peter or Ayot Green
  • In town, the Fishpool Street area offers most in the way of period houses
  • For large family homes try the suburbs of Marshalswick, Fleetmill or Clarence Park
  • For easy access to the M1 and M25, look for a property in the southern area of St Stephen’s
  • St Albans’ smartest addresses include Marshals Drive, Roe End Lane, Lamer Lane and Homewood Road
  • If you want a new build, try King Harry Park for three, four or five bedroom houses
  • Check out Charrington Place near the town centre for a chic modern apartment
  • At Becket Place, you’ll find new one and two-bedroom flats close to the station
  • More affordable property can be found in Sandpit Lane, Woodstock Road, Brampton Road and Salisbury Avenue


  • With Euston a mere 15 minutes away, consider Watford for an easy commute
  • In recent years the town has been transformed by an ongoing investment programme of more than £1.5 billion
  • A portion of this investment will result in two new tube stations, operational by 2017
  • 700 new homes are being included in the development of the Watford Health Campus
  • A new shopping centre, Charter Place, is set to make Watford one of the largest retail centres in the UK
  • The Watford Junction regeneration scheme will deliver 1,500 homes as well as new retail and office units
  • If you want the best address in Watford, find a house on Broadfield Way
  • Other places to look include Aldenham Road, Holbrook Gardens, Church Lane, High Cross, High Elms Way, Rufford Close, Wrensfield Close, Cottage Close, Grove Mill Lane and Temple Close
Who lives here and why?

Easy access to the capital and to the countryside are the most obvious reasons for moving to St Albans or Watford. Both lie within the so-called ‘Golden Triangle‘ between London, Oxford and Cambridge and are regional commercial centres in their own right.

Watford in particular has proved itself attractive to business. A number of large national corporations and multinationals have offices here:

  • Taylor Woodrow
  • JD Wetherspoon
  • Camelot group
  • Mothercare
  • TK Maxx
  • Costco
  • Beko

St Albans‘ appeal is for families who want to escape London. There are good schools, excellent shopping, and a wealth of restaurants and entertainment venues. The Arsenal training ground has brought a rash of football players to the area. Furthermore, if you need a large family home, it is still likely to be cheaper here than in the centre of London, even factoring in the cost of your season ticket.

The area has been attracting notable individuals since Roman times. Famous residents, past and present, include:

  • Francis Bacon
  • Stephen Hawking, who was educated at St Albans School
  • Film director Stanley Kubrick
  • War Horse author Michael Morpurgo
  • Lyricist Tim Rice
  • Architect George Gilbert Scott’s
  • Geri Halliwell of the Spice Girls
  • Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon
The best bits

The reasons for moving out of London to Watford or St Albans are obvious. But what about when you get here? What sort of hidden gems might you discover?

St Albans — the highlights

  • St Albans has been a market town for centuries and you’ll still find a thriving market here twice a week
  • As well as to shopping centres, you’ll find an eclectic selection of independent shops on George Street and Holywell Hill
  • 100-acre Verulamium Park features original Roman wall and a large lake
  • Sportsmen and women will appreciate the fabulous sporting facilities — cricket, football, gymnastics, hockey, rugby and skateboarding thrive here
  • St Albans also boasts three theatres

Watford treasures

  • Local football club Watford FC can claim Elton John as its main supporter and Honorary Life Chairman
  • The town has had a long association with the brewing industry
  • Cassiobury Park provides 190 acres of open space, which has won a green flag award and is the recent recipient of a £6.5 million redevelopment
  • Passing through the park, the Grand Union Canal makes for picturesque weekend walks
  • The Watford Colosseum, built in 1938, has been recognised as having some of the best acoustics in the whole of Europe
  • Further live venues include the Watford Palace Theatre and the Pump House Theatre and Arts Centre
Bringing the kids

If you’re starting a new job in London but want a more rural existence for your family, Watford or St Albans make the perfect choice. Commuting into the centre of town is fast and easy, while offering your children a less urban lifestyle.

  • St Albans has 24 state primary schools, two of which are affiliated to the Church of England and four of which are Roman Catholic
  • Many of these have been judged ‘outstanding’ by the education watchdog
  • The town has nine state-funded secondary schools, two of which are Roman Catholic
  • Three of the state secondary schools are girls only
  • Independent schools include the St Albans School and St Columba’s College, both of which are for boys, as well as St Albans High School for Girls
  • The physicist Stephen Hawking attended the St Albans School
  • Watford has 20 primary schools, two of which are Roman Catholic
  • The town and surrounding area has exceptional state secondary schools including, Parmiter’s School, Queens’ School, Rickmansworth School, St Clement Danes School and the two Watford Grammar Schools, for boys and girls
  • There are two state-funded Roman Catholic secondary schools
  • The Purcell School is a specialist music school
  • There are excellent fee-paying secondary schools around Watford, including Merchant Taylors‘ at Northwood and Haberdashers’ Aske’s at Elstree
Relocating to St Albans or Watford

If you’re relocating to the UK and want to avoid living amid the bustle and grime of the capital, St Albans or Watford could be for you. Getting to work in central London is easy but you’ll have all the advantages of living in a small but friendly county town. Not to mention, that you might make considerable savings on the rent.

St Albans, dating back to Roman times, is wonderfully historic, while Watford is a thriving commercial hub with easy access to the rest of the country. Whichever you go for, you’ll be faced with a choice of property styles, from medieval cottages to Victorian houses to brand new apartments. Excellent schools, sporting facilities and parks make both towns a magnet for families – great places to settle your kids.

But where to start? If you don’t know the area, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration when looking for a property, and access to someone with good knowledge of the local rental market is virtually essential.  Add to that further considerations such as convenience for work, suitable schools, transport links for trips back home…  If you’re relocating VIPs to the UK, employing the services of a relocation agent can really help.

At Saunders 1865, our teams of experts combine local knowledge with first-hand experience to pinpoint the right area and the right property that will tick all your boxes.  We know London property inside out, we know how much you should expect to pay and the advantages and disadvantages of choosing different areas.  We can bring expertise to all these factors and help to arrange smooth, efficient and stress-free relocations – here or to other parts of London and the UK.  Our services include home finding assistance, school finding, lease negotiations, temporary accommodation, move management and immigration assistance.  Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help you.

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Beautiful Houses
Family friendly
Good Schools
Great Transport
Natural Beauty
Pretty Villages
Spacious Houses

If you’re relocating to the UK and want to avoid living amid the bustle and grime of the capital, St Albans or Watford could be for you. Getting to work in central London is easy but you’ll have all the advantages of living in a small but friendly county town. Not to mention, that you might make considerable savings on the rent.

Average monthly rents in St Albans
1 bedroom £985
2 bedrooms £1,223
3 bedrooms £1,656
4 bedrooms £2,096
5 bedrooms £2,608
Average monthly rents in Watford
1 bedroom £939
2 bedrooms £1,292
3 bedrooms £1,664
4 bedrooms £2,427
5 bedrooms £5,475
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