At St Albans Museum + Gallery you can pick up a FREE self-guided trail sheet and discover the People and Places of St Albans’ Past. Pick up a trail booklet at the museum and once you’ve had a good look at the free Barbara Hepworth Exhibition inside the St Albans Museum + Gallery, then you can follow the self-guided trail to explore St Albans and learn about many of the historic buildings in the city centre.
The trail continues along French Row and we discovered that Christopher Place gets its name from the old coaching inn, the Christopher Inn, which was built in the 1400s and named after St Christopher, the patron saint of travellers.
We managed to resist the temptation to go inside the best ice cream parlour in St Albans, the fantastic Darlish (if you haven’t been then go in and try some of their amazing flavours this summer), then on to George Street, just in time for lunch. We popped into the George Street Canteen, which has a delicious range of hot and cold lunches, excellent coffee and a brilliant kids menu, as well as stunning views of St Albans Cathedral.
After a tasty lunch we continued on the trail to the mysterious ‘steps to nowhere,’ then on through the Abbey Gatehouse and past St Albans Cathedral. The trail then took us along the cobbles through Sumpter Yard to the Ryders’ Seeds Head Office and Exhibition Hall, built by the former Mayor of St Albans, Samuel Ryder, who went on to commission the famous golf trophy, the Ryder Cup. The trail has a few questions along the way, to get you really looking at the historic buildings. It was a welcome change, to take some time to see familiar buildings in a new light.
The trail winds its way back through Waxhouse Gate and there are more fascinating facts about how this ancient part of the city got its name – you’ll have to pick up a trail booklet from St Albans Museum + Gallery to find out more!
Did you know that the Clock Tower in St Albans is the only medieval clock tower in England? The People and Places of St Albans’ Past Trail takes you past the Clock Tower, then along to the Corn Exchange, which was built in the 19th century to provide a place for trading corn and then became a dance hall, before it finally became home to a number of shops.
The whole trail took us about an hour to complete (not including our stop for a bite to eat) and ends back at the St Albans Museum + Gallery.
Entry to St Albans Museum + Galleries permanent exhibitions is free and the People and Places of St Albans’ Past Trail is also free, so it’s well worth a visit. Once you’ve had a good look around the museum and completed the trail then there’s still lots to explore in St Albans:
- visit St Albans Cathedral.
- walk to Verulamium Park and wander around the lakes.
- visit the Verulamium Museum and find out more about St Albans and Roman Verulamium.
- visit the Roman Mosaic and Hypocaust in Verulamium Park.
TOP TIPS FOR A VISIT TO ST ALBANS MUSEUM + GALLERY
- St Albans Museum + Gallery is on Market Place, St Peter’s Street, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL3 5DJ.
- St Albans Museum + Gallery is free to visit and open seven days a week (although there are sometimes small charges for touring exhibitions and workshops).
- Pick up a free People and Places of St Albans’ Past trail booklet from St Albans Museum + Gallery all year round.
- Children’s lunch boxes are available to purchase at the LEAFI cafe inside the St Albans Museum + Gallery.