History is on our doorstep in St Albans

Roman theatre at Verulamium. Picture taken by Heather Jan Brunt.
Roman theatre at Verulamium. Picture taken by Heather Jan Brunt.
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St Albans is not so very far away from Aylesbury and it is filled with so many lovely things to see and do, a one day visit is not really enough.

But on a recent sunny day I decided to make a start, and went there to explore one of the smallest cities in England, writes Heather Jan Brunt.

First stop was obvious, the incredible St Albans Cathedral, with the longest nave (84 metres) of any cathedral in England.

The highlight of any visit is seeing the Shrine of St Alban, the first recorded British Christian martyr. Overlooking it is a solid oak 15th century watching loft, the only surviving loft of its kind in England. It was used by monks and townsmen to guard the shrine.

From the ancient to the more modern, seven statues of martyrs were installed in the niches of the medieval nave screen in 2015. The colourful statues include St Alban himself, but also 20th century martyrs. The cathedral is open all year round and admission is free, with a suggested donation of £5.

St Albans is of course famous for its Roman history and evidence of the Roman town of Verulamium can be seen in the 100 acre Verulamium Park and also on the Gorhambury Estate. Here, visitors can walk around the ruins of a Roman theatre, and see the foundations of a Roman villa and shops. Entrance is £2.50 for adults and the theatre is open daily from 10am - 5pm.

The estate also offers free access to walking routes, and a chance to visit the ruins of the original house. The current house is open to visitors on Thursday afternoons from 2-5pm May to September. Guided tours only, no booking required. Adults £8.

Full information about all the attractions on the estate, including opening hours and ticket prices at www.gorhamburyestate.co.uk