St Albans is a City. Apparently. I am afraid to say is it a very poor city. Shopping. There's the main high street (St Peters Street) where you will find the usual contenders; Marks, Bhs, Woolworths, Tesco Metro. Food wise you have McDonalds and Burger King. Most Banks are here. There are two shopping centres. The biggest and better is The Maltings. Biggest shops here are Wilkinsons, TK Maxx and a Topshop/D Perkins/Burton all-in-one on three floors. Smaller shops include the new Ann Summers, Silver Rivet and Etam. The other centre is St Chrisopher's Place. Shops include FCUK, Evans and some expensive lesser known stores. St Albans, although very small in size is a big fan of having two shops of each. You will find two Costas, two Greggs, two Clinton Cards and until recently two o2 shops. Don't ask me why. Speaking of coffee, St Albans is a big fan. Starbucks, The Daily Grind and as already mentioned the two Costa's. So this sounds ok? Why am I saying it is a disapointment. The entertainment side. A city without a cinema. Not one. No bowling lanes. Very few good pubs. Also the traffic problem. The main route through St Albans is down the high street. When the motorway gets closed due to accidents this is the main route used. Oh, and on a Wednesday and Saturday the market takes over the side road of the high street and half the street itself. And there is no bus station. Guess where they stop? Yeah, on the high street. Incidently, the market is ok. But a nightmare to shop. There is alot of history at St Albans, the Abbey and the St Al
bans Martyr. Have a look. But beware if it's a Saturday.
Shopping in St Albans is often more of a trauma than a pleasant retail experience, and that is honestly a real shame, as St Albans itself is a nice place with some excellent shops. But I'm getting ahead of myself (I have a habit of doing that!) Allow me to backtrack a little: In the first place, St Albans itself is a City (due to its Cathedral) in South Hertfordshire. However, if you do happen to visit St Albans don't expect a sprawling, concrete metropolis - instead the City is what the Americans might call 'quaint' with a very small city centre, cobbled streets, narrow roads and beautiful period buildings. St Albans is approximately 15 miles North of London, and sandwiched conveniently between the A1 and the M1. St Albans is also served by rail and is about 20 minutes from King's Cross and 15 minutes from Luton, depending on delays! As I mentioned earlier, there are some excellent shops in St Albans, including all of the usual suspects you can find on every high-street in the Country, Marks and Spencer, Woolworths, Wilkinson, etc. For Supermarkets, there is a reasonably sized Safeway to the North of the town, with a large, free car park. Safeway has just had a refit and is now absolutely lovely inside. I never thought you'd ever find me really enthusing over a supermarket, but the interior of the St Albans Safeway is now a pleasure to spend time in. The lighting is dim and really quite sensual and relaxed. As you first walk in the entrance, you're hit by a multitude of pleasant smells, which mix n' match as you wander around the store. To the right of the main entrance and continuing along the inner wall of the store are several small, manned counters - very similar in fact to the 'Market Street' which can be found in Morrisons Supermarkets. From these you can buy not just the usual cheese and cooked meat you would expect from a typical deli counter, but also freshly made pizza, salads
and all manner of other goodies that really are far too tempting to pass up. Just outside St Albans, on the edge of a small town called London Colney, is the only other Supermarket in the area worth a mention, but it really is worth a mention! The London Colney Savacentre sits within spitting distance of the M25, and in recent years has extended its building to incorporate the most enormous Marks and Spencer I have ever seen! Together the two shops present a real shopping experience, with everything made as easy as possible for the customer. A really enthusiastic shopper could spend several hours perusing the goods available in these two massive stores. The car park is huge and free and there is a bus stop on the edge of the car park which is served by busses from most of the surrounding towns. Shopping in St Albans City centre itself is, unfortunately, not quite as much of a joy and a pleasure as it should be. Parking is, quite simply, absolutely dreadful. Although there are two multi-storey car parks and several small pay and display car parks within easy walking distance of the main shopping area, these get packed very early in the day, especially on Market Days. At lunch time attempting to get a parking space is usually a dead loss. There is very little actual on-street car parking, and this is reduced considerably on market days, when the market takes over the main street of St Albans. Market Day is Wednesday and Saturday, and unless you are actually visiting the market, then St Albans city centre is best avoided on Market Day. Traffic slows to a near stand-still, and pedestrians develop kamikaze tendencies - wandering across the main road (which is directly adjacent to the market square) with little regard for the passing traffic. However, if you do fancy visiting the St Albans market, I would have no hesitation in recommending it. The market is small, and much like any other across the country with the typical fruit n' veg
, fabric and 'vacuum cleaner bag' stalls. It is slap bang in the centre of the city, and is well-served by busses from the surrounding area. However, as far as I am aware there is no park and ride service operating in St Albans, which is a shame as park and ride would massively reduce both the demand on parking spaces and the traffic jams in the city centre. In some ways going shopping in St Albans is a little like stepping back in time, as the shops are still based on and around the high street, rather than in an undercover shopping centre. This is lovely in good weather, but can be unpleasant in the winter, or on a rainy spring day! However, the shopping area is full of charm, and if you've got time to browse and wander on a sunny day then shopping in St Albans can be a real pleasure. The City Centre is perfect fodder for those of you who enjoy strolling in a relaxed manner, poking your nose into any of the small, perfectly formed shops selling everything from sweets and newspapers to jewellery, craft supplies and, of course, clothes. The more adventurous shopper with time on their hands can spend literally hours wandering around the shops in St Albans. Side streets off the Market Square offer a wealth of exciting shopping opportunities, including a costume hire shop, art gallery, car showrooms and bizarrely enough, at least three shops selling musical instruments - mostly electric guitars. If you've had enough of shopping, or just fancy a break for refreshments, you can pick up a sandwich from one of the many excellent delis' or sandwich shops in and around the City centre. If you fancy something a little more substantial, there are several of the usual fast food places to choose from - including McDonalds, Burger King and Pizza Hut. Alternatively, there are more upmarket restaurants in the City Centre, or pubs serving good pub grub. Personally, I would recommend a short drive along Hatfield Road to the Bunch of Ch
erries, a traditional pub that on weekdays serves absolutely the best Jacket Potatoes in the County, with home-made coleslaw to die for. Further along Hatfield Road you?ll come across a string of shopping estates housing a large electrical store, several car showrooms and DIY stores - useful, but not particularly interesting. On the outskirts of St Albans there are also a clutch of garden centres and a large pet superstore. All in all, I would recommend shopping in St Albans if you've got plenty of time to spare and you're looking for an enjoyable way to spend a free day. However, it really isn't the place to shop if you're just dashing into town for some essentials, mainly because of the heavy traffic and the lack of convenient parking. I do like shopping in St Albans, but in the six years that I've been living less than ten miles away, I've probably only shopped there about a dozen times, as for me the cons of shopping in St Albans outweigh the pros!
St.Albans has a shopping centre called the maltings it has a number of rather boring,dull and non exciting shops such as wilkonsons and our price where u can only find out of date cds and your local dealer. It now has a new shop called tk maxx where you can find the dress or shirt you wanted ten years ago when it was priced about a hundred pounds but now down to 2o pounds, be careful if you do buy anything because it might have a hole in the back. Please stay away from this place if u can because it is unbelievily dull and dry, It is the most boring place in the whole of St.Albans go to the market if u need to go shopping here.