Berkhamsted'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 here twice per week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and also a monthly Farmers Market.
Alongside numerous household names including Waitrose, M & S Food Hall and Laura Ashley, an eclectic mix of local businesses gives Berkhamsted its effortlessly charming and individual flavour. Fred & Ginger, Here, Black Goo and I Love Food 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 Purple Menswear to numerous boutiques for women's clothing including Makana, 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'll 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'll 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 Ashlyn's School.
With up to 5 trains an hour at peak times and journey times of just 35 minutes to London Euston, it's 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 including Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis.