Hertfordshire vs Winchester

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    I’m a single 40-something looking to move away from the noise and congestion of London, yet be near my ageing parents in Barnet. I feel Hertfordshire could be a good fit, but don’t know the area at all. I’m lucky enough to live in a lovely flat in a leafy part of W London, but have noisy neighbours and parking issues! I’m thinking an attractive market town with a train station (so I can get my London fix and visit friends) yet with easy access to country walks as I’d like to adopt a rescue dog. I went to University in Winchester and fell in love with the place – I always thought I’d move back there one day. Is there anywhere in Hertfordshire that compares to Winchester, in terms of shopping/amenities and access to countryside? I work from home so commuting is not an issue, but I don’t want to be anywhere too isolated either. I’d be looking for a 2-3 bedroom detached house with a wraparound garden, with a budget of approx £800k. I’ve been told that property in Hertfordshire is more expensive than Winchester, so hoping this is realistic. Also, want to avoid soulless commuter towns, bland suburbs, and flight path noise from Luton and Stansted.

    All suggestions much appreciated!


    Belinda Aspinall

    Some thoughts for you from our facebook group

    Knebworth is a nice village near to a1m train into central London and in between two international airports


    I’ve lived close to both Winchester and Hertfordshire. In my view, the best place to consider would be Berkhamsted.

    I would highly recommend our little corner of South West Hertfordshire. We live in Croxley Green, adjacent to Rickmansworth, Chorleywood and delightful villages such as Sarratt. For shopping the town of Watford is nearby but we also have great access to London via the Metropolitan Line. The perfect mix, which is why we’ve stayed here for 37 years!

    The villages north of St Albans (for example Codicote, just 5 mins from Knebworth station – 20 mins to London, Kings Cross, 5 mins from the A1 and easy 20 mins to Luton airport) are perfect. Plenty of cafe culture nearby.



    Thank you so much for your suggestions. I’ve been busy visiting various towns in Hertfordshire and so far, I’ve liked Berkhamsted, Harpenden and Hitchin. (I was surprised to discover just how busy and congested St Albans is, so that’s off the list.)

    I love that Berkhamsted has an independent cinema, as I’m a film buff, and I thought the high street had a really good selection of shops and cafes, but I found the town a tad small and there doesn’t seem to be much housing stock to choose from. Also, many of the residential roads are on very steep hills!
    Whilst Harpenden and Hitchin are bigger, I didn’t fall in love with them and neither have a local cinema.
    Having said that, I feel I could probably live quite happily in any of the above places, once settled in. My main concern is finding a property next to a large park or open countryside where I can let the dog run off lead. I’m going to get a very energetic breed that will need hours of exercise every day, so dog walking is my main priority and it’s difficult to know which areas of countryside are accessible to the public. Can anyone help me pinpoint the ideal areas/roads to focus on? Or any other recommendations in terms of market towns that are similar to the above? I really need to narrow it down so I can start property hunting in earnest. I intend to move this year!



    Sounds like you want Northchurch, just on the outskirts of Berkhamsted but easily walkable to the centre (and cinema!). It backs on to Ashridge estate which is a large area of parkland with a National Trust house. Houses backing onto the common attract a premium though, so your budget might be a touch unrealistic there.

    Good luck avoiding all flight path noise nearly anywhere in the home counties – although its noticeably less out here than in west London.

    And yes, it is a bit hilly, there are several new developments of housing that are on either the tops or bottoms of hills, so they may be worth looking at (bearroc park or there’s one down by the old mill pub out towards bourne end, I don’t know the name)

    St Albans is also REALLY expensive, by the way.

    Hope this helps a bit. There are plenty of small villages around that might fit your countryside requirement a bit better but it depends how rural you’d like to go.

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