St Albans Museum + Gallery opened in June 2018 and the refurbished Georgian Town Hall is a fantastic place to visit as part of a day out exploring historic St Albans in Hertfordshire. We went along to take a look inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery and the FREE People and Places of St Albans’ Past family activity trail, which will be available from Saturday 28th July, throughout the summer.
First Floor: Landing Gallery, Assembly Room and Keeper’s Galleries
We ventured up the stairs, past portraits of some of the famous faces of St Albans, to come face-to-face with the head of a lion in the Landing Gallery! Then through to the Assembly Room. When we visited the impressive Assembly Room was home to an exhibition of artworks and installations by Susie MacMurray. Be quick if you don’t want to miss it, as the Susie MacMurray exhibition closes on Sunday 5th August 2018.
Also on the first floor, make sure that you don’t miss the glazed corridor that takes you to the Keeper’s Galleries at the back of St Albans Museum + Gallery, where we found more artworks and views down historic French Row, towards the medieval Clock Tower and St Albans Cathedral.
Basement: Weston Gallery and the Cells
Back down the stairs and we made our way to the basement, which is home to the Weston Gallery and the Prison Cells. It’s fascinating to walk along corridors once inhabited by defendants from the 1800s up to the 1960s and if you look closely you’ll see graffiti belonging to previous occupants scratched into the walls and doors.
Then you can experience what it might have felt like to walk up the narrow stairs into the Courtroom and stand in the dock, ready for your sentence. You can also sit in the Judge’s chair and look through the list of cases in the St Albans Court from 1831 to 1967 and imagine the many people that heard their sentence passed in the historic space.
The Courtroom is no longer used for official court proceedings, instead it is a unique café and you can purchase drinks, cakes, lunches and children’s lunch boxes in the LEAFI cafe and then take a seat in the Courtroom and enjoy the surroundings.
People and Places of St Albans’ Past Trail
Pick up a People and Places of St Albans’ Past trail booklet at the St Albans Museum + Gallery and once you’ve had a good look around the exhibits inside the museum, then you can follow the trail to explore St Albans and learn about many of the historic buildings in the city centre. You can take a look at our visit following the self-guided trail here.
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:
- 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).
- Children’s lunch boxes are available to purchase at the LEAFI cafe inside the St Albans Museum + Gallery.