Please ensure that you follow the latest Government guidelines and social distancing rules. Respect the local area and the countryside. Take litter home, park responsibly.
Always check updated opening hours, ticketing information and protocols direct with venues before setting off as things may have changed since this post was published on 14th October 2020.
Recently, local dad Dan Johnson got in contact and offered to send me some of the new Treasure Map Trails he has created. Treasure Map Trails aim to get children interested in the history of their local towns. The treasures that you need to search for are architectural features, statues, plaques or just quirky features of buildings and the landscape. You just need to look up, look down and look carefully.
The maps arrived promptly and were carefully packaged. The St Albans Treasure Map Trails map is beautifully illustrated with an ‘under the sea’ theme. The map is great for families with children of different ages as the clues are pictoral, so little ones can take part even if they can’t read yet. There is no set route so older children can help plan where to go. They can also read the clues on the back of the map if it’s proving difficult to find a particular ‘treasure’.
St Albans Treasure Map Trails
We started our tour of St Albans in Verulamium Park. We were treated to some extra treasures that aren’t on the Treasure Map Trails map when we walked past a heron in the stream next to the path.
We walked past the lakes and the waterfall and up Abbey Mill Lane to the Abbey Gateway. The Treasure Map Trail also includes historical facts on the back of the map and we learnt that the Abbey Gateway was built in 1365 and was originally part of a Benedictine monastery.
Remember to take a pen with you as you need to note down which treasures you find in each location!
Next, we went to search for a treasure at St Albans Cathedral. If we’d had more time then we could have visited the inside of the cathedral, but this visit we went straight on to Holywell Hill to search for the next treasure.
We then walked up Holywell Hill where we were able to find another two treasures. The boys (9 years and 5 years old) were able to navigate independently and the search for the eleven treasures made them stop and really look at buildings and places they would ordinarily walk past.
The map took us a little way along Victoria Street and then back into the centre of St Albans for a look at St Albans Museum and Gallery, then down Market Place to the St Albans Clock Tower.
St Albans Clock Tower is the only surviving medieval town belfry in England which was completed in 1405! The St Albans Clock Tower’s bell rang out for the first Battle of St Albans during the War of the Roses in 1455.
Finally, we made our way through the quaint Village Arcade and then back along George Street and Romeland through the Abbey Gateway and back to the lakes of Verulamium Park.
The Treasure Map Trail took us just over an hour to complete. The route was easy enough for little legs to manage and we all thought it was just the right amount of walking on an autumnal afternoon. There are lots of fantastic independent cafés and shops along the way, so you can stop for a bite to eat at the George Street Canteen or Hatch St Albans.
When you complete a map you can go to the Treasure Map Trails website and print out a certificate.
There are already seven Treasure Map Trails to purchase on the website. We are planning to try the Tring Treasure Map Trail over half term and there are also maps for Leighton Buzzard, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Aylesbury and Shrewsbury, with plans to add many more.
Top Tips For The St Albans Treasure Map Trail
- Purchase your Treasure Map Trails map at treasuremaptrails.com.
- Take a pen or pencil with you so you can mark the treasures on the map.
- If you want to follow our route then park at Verulamium Park, St Michael’s Street, St Albans, AL3 4SW, but get there early as there aren’t many spaces and it can fill up quickly. There are also several car parks in the centre of St Albans.
- You can make more of your visit to St Albans by visiting inside St Albans Cathedral or you can go inside St Albans Museum & Gallery to see St Albans Court which was in use from 1831 to 1967.
- If you want to stop for a bite to eat then book ahead at independent cafés like Hatch or walk in at George Street Canteen.
- Click here to take a look at our Treasure Map Trails vlog.
We visited St Albans in October 2020, all information is correct at the time of publishing.
We were sent some Treasure Trail Maps so that we could try the St Albans trail. Images, words and opinions are my own.