Hidden gem Hertfordshire unlocked by Uno!
When it comes to scenery and places of interest, Hertfordshire is quite often under-rated. It tends to be associated with commuting and a series of pleasant towns that are on the periphery of London, almost feeders, rather than constituting ‘attractions’ in their own right. A trip on Uno Bus between Broxbourne and St. Albans on two connecting Uno Bus services immediately shatters this perception and unmasks the beauty and charm of this fabulous county, that intersperses soporific pleasures with market town hustle and bustle. The bus is not only a lovely vantage point to fab scenery but it’s also the gateway to some great places to visit en route and at its destinations.
The Hertfordshire countryside between Broxbourne, Hertford Heath, Ware, Hertford, and Hatfield offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and rural charm, more blissful with each changing season. It is a landscape that is penetrated by the 341 and 641 bus, traversing the most picturesque of regions with rolling undulating hills, meandering rivers, quaint villages, and historical landmarks that tell the story of England’s rich heritage. The buses are very comfortable (many with charging points and all with free Wi-Fi) as well as enjoying large windows, so there’s always a great view of the unfolding scenery. The sleek mauve coloured décor outside and inside the buses portrays a luxurious feel from which to check out the scenery, alongside the smartly attired and friendly drivers who are particularly attentive.
Starting in Broxbourne, customers find themselves at the southern edge of this scenic expanse. It’s only a 20-minute train journey from Tottenham Hale, with its fast, frequent and direct links to/from Stansted Airport as well as Central London via the Victoria line and 30 minutes from London Liverpool Street.
Broxbourne is characterized by its verdant countryside and proximity to the River Lea. The river, flanked by lush greenery and flourishing wildlife, provides a tranquil setting for leisurely walks or boat rides. The Lea Valley Park, a significant green space in the area, offers a range of recreational activities, including cycling, picnicking, and birdwatching, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the natural splendour of the region. It’s a real oasis of wildlife and calm, so close to the eclecticism of London.
Moving northwards towards Hertford Heath, customers encounter a landscape that exudes a sense of idyllic rural life, with picturesque fields, well-manicured gardens and tree-lined roads, on every twist and turn of the journey. Hertford Heath is a quintessential English village enveloped by open fields and patches of woodland, as well as a ‘secret pond’ (see photo below!). The countryside here is an amalgamation of farmlands, bridle paths, and peaceful meadows. The village retains its historic charm, with traditional cottages and a picturesque village green. Footpaths weave through the landscape, inviting hikers and nature enthusiasts to explore the tranquil beauty of the region.
Ware is next on this rapidly entrancing journey and is a town steeped in history. It also sits along the banks of the River Lea and is known for its historic waterfront and charming architecture. The river is a central feature of the town, offering scenic riverside walks and boating opportunities. The Ware Priory, a historic building with beautiful gardens, and the remnants of Ware Castle provide glimpses into the town’s rich past. The countryside surrounding Ware is a mix of rolling hills, fields adorned with wildflowers, and small woodlands, making it an ideal spot for leisurely walks and picnics.Journeying further northwards and Hertford is a town that seamlessly blends the old with the new. Hertford has a timeless appeal which lies in its historical architecture, picturesque streets, and serene riverbanks. The town exudes a welcoming atmosphere with its bustling markets, quaint shops, and diverse eateries, showcasing a rich tapestry of cultures and culinary delights. The ancient Hertford Castle, with its captivating gardens, stands as a testament to the town’s deep-rooted history, so too the impressive All Saints’ Church.
Hertford’s cultural scene is thriving, featuring galleries, theatres, and events that cater to varied tastes. Throughout the year, festivals and local events bring the community together, highlighting the warm and inclusive spirit of Hertford. The green spaces, including Hartham Common and Panshanger Park, provide a becalming presence for outdoor enthusiasts and picnickers.
Heading northwest towards Hatfield, there’s a shift in the landscape as it becomes a blend of rural and suburban elements. Hatfield is a town known for its historic connections, including Hatfield House, a grand Jacobean mansion with stunning gardens. The countryside in this area features a mix of expansive estates, open parklands, and well-maintained gardens, offering visitors a taste of English aristocratic life and the beauty of landscaped gardens. There’s also the Galleria shopping centre with its chic, boutique, upmarket and traditional chain stores to provide retail therapy. There’s a big student population in Hatfield, as it’s home to the renowned University of Herts, who incidentally own the Uno Bus company!
At Hatfield, it’s an easy interchange for the 602 bus to St. Albans, which is only 47 minutes away.
St. Albans captivates with its timeless beauty and rich heritage. Ancient Roman ruins blend seamlessly with medieval architecture, epitomized by the stunning St Albans Abbey. The shrine of St. Alban, the first Christian martyr in Britain, lies at the heart of this sacred place, drawing pilgrims and history enthusiasts alike. The Abbey’s tranquil cloisters and well-preserved medieval features transport visitors to a bygone era, inviting contemplation and awe. The Abbot’s Kitchen Coffee Shop is also well worth a visit in the Abbey.
Tree-lined streets, charming markets and lush parks exude a tranquil allure in St. Albans. Verulamium Park, adorned with lakes and ancient remnants, invites leisurely strolls. It’s a 100-acre parkland, with a museum containing a range of fascinating artifacts, excavated from the area. There’s also good views from the Verulamium Park of the Cathedral (see photo below).
St. Albans has a vibrant cultural scene, replete with theatres, galleries, and festivals, as well as coffee shops and there’s a constant buzz of activity. A sense of community and a love for history infuse joy into every corner, making it a haven for those seeking both natural splendour and cultural enrichment. There’s also football to be enjoyed in St. Albans at the very friendly Clarence Park – St. Albans City play in the National League South.
Having devoured the joys of St. Albans, the bus can be taken a few stops back towards Hatfield to St. Albans railway station, where there are easy and frequent connections to London St. Pancras International and across the capital and south of the Thames to Brighton, as well as northwards to the East Midlands, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. It makes it particularly easy, for those coming from London to make a lovely day of it, to Broxbourne via Liverpool Street or Tottenham Hale and then return via St. Albans!
So close to London, but in a world of its own – sometimes sleepy but always fascinating, Hertfordshire provides a really uplifting adventure, conveniently and affordably so by Uno Bus!
Click onto the links below to find out more about each journey, including times and information on the scenery and great places to visit, as well as fab walks! Don’t forget, for now, it’s only £2 to travel one-way on each bus!