Visiting Hemel Hempstead
Strolling around Hemel Hempstead’s Old Town, with its 12th-century church and Georgian buildings, it’s easy to forget you’re in a post-war “new town” that’s home to hundreds of businesses. The town is a great base for exploring the footpaths of the Chiltern Hills, or visiting nearby Warner Brothers Studios for the Harry Potter tour, and it’s only half an hour from central London by train.
Hemel Hempstead: town layout
Hemel sits on gentle hills north of London, where the Gade and Bulbourne rivers meet. Roads radiate from the so-called Magic Roundabout, designed in the 1970s to ease traffic congestion. The main railway station is to the west, while just north are the shopping district of Marlowes and the Old Town. The eastern districts of Maylands and Leverstock Green are home to many local businesses. The M1 motorway passes by here, crossing the M25 on the way to Watford and London. Across the motorway stands the cathedral city of St. Albans.
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Hotels in Hemel Hempstead
Hemel Hempstead was designed as a series of self-contained districts, so wherever you stay you’ll find plenty to do.
Accommodation near the main station or in the district of Apsley – where there’s another station – gives you easy access to London. You’re also close to the Old Town’s shops and trendy spots along the river.
Districts to the east, like Maylands and Leverstock Green, are closer to many corporate headquarters and business parks, and have easy access to the M1.
Eating Out in Hemel Hempstead
Hemel Hempstead offers a good mix of international and traditional fare, from spicy Nepalese dishes at Infinity to Keralan specialities at The Cochin and hearty pub grub at the canal-side Paper Mill.
If you have a bit more time, book a tour of Frithsden Vineyard followed by a wine-tasting session. The winery’s Terrace Café is a perfect spot to relax with homemade food and a glass of Frithsden wine.
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Shopping in Hemel Hempstead
The Old Town's streets are lined with independent boutiques and antiques dealers. The nearby pedestrianised district of Marlowes is home to high-street favourites, restaurants and cafés. Marlowes Shopping Centre and the open-air Riverside precinct here add to the lively atmosphere and make the area the town’s shopping hub. If you want a full day out, head west to Jarman Square, an entertainment complex that includes a cinema, an ice rink, shops and eateries.
Culture & Nightlife in Hemel Hempstead
You can book tickets for an evening of theatre, film or music at The Old Town Hall, a cosy theatre housed in a Victorian building in the Old Town. During the day, pop inside to catch free art exhibitions or relax in the café.
If you crave big-screen entertainment, Jarman Square’s Empire Cinema shows everything from blockbusters to arthouse classics.
Discover Hemel Hempstead’s past
Visiting Hemel Hempstead with a Family
From swimming, climbing and badminton at the Sportspace community sports centre to the play area, skate park and crazy golf course in Gadebridge Park, there’s plenty to keep children busy.
Family Fun in Hemel