Berkhamsted Area Guide
Graham Greene was born here, while Esther Rantzen, Sarah Brightman and even Charles de Gaulle have all called Berkhamsted home over the years. Today, this historic and thriving Hertfordshire market town is popular with commuters for its 35-minute train times to London Euston, with families for its excellent local schooling, and for its general feeling of 'the good life'. With thousands of acres of National Trust countryside on the doorstep and a High Street lined with an eclectic mix of interesting restaurants, stores and coffee shops, it's easy to see why Berkhamsted is so desirable, and why so few people want to leave.
About BerkhamstedBerkhamsted's town centre runs along a wide High Street with spacious pavements that are lined with pretty Victorian and Georgian buildings. There is a market twice per week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and also a monthly Farmers Market.
Alongside numerous household names including Waitrose and M&S Food Hall, an eclectic mix of local businesses gives Berkhamsted its effortlessly charming and individual flavour. Fred & Ginger, Here, and The Gatsby are among a wide and varied collection of cafes, coffee shops and restaurants that sit among a raft of independent retailers, from Berkhamsted Arts & Crafts, Petals florist and the local bookshop to numerous boutiques for women's clothing including The Forge, Muse and Amelie.
Being so close to London adds something of a metropolitan influence with so many residents from the creative and professional fields spending their weekends and evenings out in the town. This provides a ready and cultured audience whose presence is perhaps best embodied by the beautiful, art deco Rex Cinema whose sleek refurbishment offers a luxurious evening out for film lovers in magnificent surroundings.
You will find plenty more to keep yourself occupied in your free time. In addition to beautiful walks in the surrounding countryside and along the pretty Grand Union Canal that passes right through the town, you will find numerous horse riding opportunities, including on the National Trust’s 5,000 acre Ashridge Estate which also hosts one of many nearby golf courses. At Hemel Hempstead, the Snow Centre provides ski practice and learning both in and out of season.
If all that moving about sounds like rather too much, Champneys Health Spa is within 10 minutes drive of Berkhamsted and is the ultimate pampering indulgence. For families, one of the key drivers for moving to Berkhamsted is the high quality of local schooling available with the town, including a pair of particularly well-regarded education options in Berkhamsted School and Ashlyns School.
With up to five trains an hour at peak times and journey times of just 35 minutes to London Euston, it is no wonder Berkhamsted has found such favour among commuters. But road connections are no less excellent: the A41 dual carriageway - just over a mile to the south of the town centre - is around 10 minutes from the M25 (J20), while the M1 is less than 15 minutes away and puts Luton Airport within half an hour’s drive. Heathrow is around 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic.
Despite London’s proximity, there are plenty of even closer options for a bigger dose of retail therapy. Hemel Hempstead, Watford and Milton Keynes are all within easy reach and have large shopping centres featuring many high street names as well as department stores.
HistoryPerhaps the most notable of events for Berkhamsted was in late 1066 when, following the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror was handed the English Crown here. Shortly afterwards a splendid motte-and-bailey Norman castle was built, substantial ruins of which remain today, and this high-status, royal residence helped fuel the town’s influence and prosperity throughout centuries.
Many famous names have been associated with the castle, including Thomas Becket who spent a considerable fortune on rebuilding it, and Geoffrey Chaucer, best known as the author of The Canterbury Tales, who was Clerk of Works to Berkhamsted Castle, along with other Royal Castles. In 1833 the castle was the first building in the United Kingdom to receive statutory protection.
In 1541, John Incent, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral and also a local resident, founded Berkhamsted School whose subsequent roll of pupils includes many politicians, actors, authors and business leaders. The author Graham Greene was born in the school's St John's boarding house.
The picturesque Grand Union Canal came to Berkhamsted in 1798 (about 40 years ahead of the railway) and cuts through the town. Francis Egerton, Duke of Bridgewater and father of the inland waterway system, lived in nearby Ashridge and the national monument to the canal system, built in his memory, stands in the middle of the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate.
Located at the eastern end of the town centre, is the beautiful Rex Cinema. Dating to the 1930s, it features a fine art deco interior by David Nye and has today been restored as a fully functioning, luxurious alternative to the multiplexes.
Of course, no trip to Berkhamsted would be complete without visiting the Nash Partnership office. We cannot claim to have ousted a ruling monarch or profoundly influenced modern literature, but when it comes to moving home in this little corner of England, we can promise you a wonderful customer experience. Our team of extremely approachable people can promise you comprehensive local knowledge, invaluable expertise and straightforward advice with no skills required in deciphering Chaucerian English.
- Take a walk along the Grand Union Canal and meet the Berkhamsted Geese
- Watch a movie at the beautiful Rex Cinema with a glass of wine, cheese and biscuits
- Wander through the Bluebell Woods in nearby Ashridge and enjoy the spectacular carpet of flowers in spring
- Visit Berkhamsted Castle and discover its role in English history
- Enjoy coffee and a cake at Fred & Ginger's in the High Street
- Take the Berkhamsted Heritage Walk and see the blue plaques
- Relax with a cocktail (or two) at Copper House or The Gatsby
Types of PropertyWhether you are looking for a town centre lifestyle, a family location or something more rural, Berkhamsted and its surrounding villages will have something to offer.
You will find our Berkhamsted branch right in the middle of town at 152 High Street. From here we handle properties for sale and to let not only in Berkhamsted, but also the surrounding villages of Northchurch, Little Gaddesden, Ashridge, Ringshall, Bourne End, Ashley Green, Dagnall, Aldbury, Asheridge, Cholesbury and Hawridge. If you are unsure of where would suit you most, we can help you identify the best locations to look to fulfil your requirements.
In Berkhamsted’s town centre you will find a predominantly Victorian choice of terraced houses and period villas alongside a slowly expanding selection of modern apartments. As you approach the edge of the town centre you will encounter more substantial Victorian and Edwardian homes, with the vernacular becoming increasingly more 20th century and detached, often in tree-lined roads, when moving into the fringes of town.
Once in the surrounding countryside you can find all sorts of rural property, from smallholdings to sprawling estates, in various architectural styles.