town in Hertfordshire, England

Letchworth Garden City (more commonly Letchworth) is a town of 34,000 people (2021) in Hertfordshire. Letchworth was the first city built under the "Garden City" plan to combine the best elements of city and country living.

Understand

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Letchworth Town Hall

The first Garden City, Letchworth, began life in 1903. Built on 3,818 acres of land, this city was the brainchild of Ebenezer Howard who wrote the book titled To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform in 1898, which was reprinted in 1902 as Garden Cities of To-Morrow. Unimpressed with the cities and towns of the 19th century, his belief was that town and country should and could be married together to provide the very best for inhabitants. More than one hundred years on, Letchworth is a thriving town of 5,300 acres complete with tree-lined suburbs, green spaces and a town centre with ample parking, shopping and restaurants. The retail park on the Baldock fringe of Letchworth's industrial area, however, has sucked much of the life out of the town centre.

The town gained some notable interest, when it was used as the principle set as the fictionalised town "Newton Haven", in the Simon Pegg comic science fiction film The World's End. Many of the town's pubs and the cinema were used as the town's pubs in the film.

Get in

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By train

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From London, use the Great Northern Route service departing London Kings Cross Station. Letchworth or Cambridge are the final stops with the travel time varying between 35 – 50 minutes according to number of scheduled stops en route.

By car

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The A1(M) Junction 9 is a Short Drive from the town centre. Alternatively, the A505 can be used if you're not using the motorway.

Get around

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Map of Letchworth Garden City

By bus

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It can be traversed by car and is not too large to traverse by walking. However, there are bus services operated mostly by Arriva, that often go to Hitchin and Baldock.

By bike

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Cycling is somewhat supported through the existence of half-maintained combined bike-and-pedestrian paths around the town centre and in some of the newer (circa 1950s) developments. In addition to this, many of the original garden city streets are safe for cycling due to their relatively slim width discouraging driving in totality. This is supplemented by the intersection of the (partially incomplete) National Cycle Route 12.

 
The Spirella Building
  • The First Garden City Heritage Museum. As good a place as any to start your exploration of this area and to find out more about the Garden City Movement. You can also enjoy temporary exhibitions, which cover various subjects to do with the social history of the city.
 
Letchworth museum and art gallery
  • 1 Letchworth Museum & Art Gallery. Natural history of North Hertfordshire.    
  • 2 Sollershott Circus (First Roundabout). UK's first roundabout, built circa 1909.  
  • 1 Standalone Farm, Wilbury Road, SG6 4JN, +44 1462 686 775. M-F 9AM-4:30PM (Sa Su closed). A great place to take the kids for a day out. A small working working show farm set in 170 acres of Hertfordshire countryside, it offers a fabulous way to introduce children to animals and farmlife. Lambs, calves, chicks, ducks, pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, cows and horses are all there for you to meet and there is a lovely picnic area next to the children’s outdoor play area where you can enjoy lunch. There is also an indoor play area for those more gloomy days and you will find plenty of interesting displays in the exhibition barn.
  • 2 The Broadway Cinema, Eastcheap, SG6 3DD. A delightful Art Deco building offering 4 screens within the original 1920s construction. Particularly keen ticket prices for weekday evenings, Fridays excepted.  
  • The Greenway. A more than 13-mile walk/cycle around the town. The bits to the north are properly paved and they are more suitable for buggies or wheel chairs.
  • 3 Nuffield Health Letchworth Garden City Fitness & Wellbeing Gym, Letchworth Lane, SG6 3NP (Next to Letchworth Hall Hotel), +44 1462 681075. M-F 6:30AM-10PM; Sa Su 8AM-8PM. Nuffield Health is a large corporation with many locations. Some locations, such as in Letchworth Garden City, are gyms. This facility has ample parking. Its services include a large swimming pool, a steam room, a sauna, an exercise equipment area and a café. Free one-day passes are always available through the gym website.
  • David's Music, Eastcheap (less than 2 minutes from the train station, past the hogshead), +44 1462 475900. A 'proper' record shop in the traditional mould - a good range of new and second hand music (CD and vinyl, including some rare bits), great atmosphere and excellent, knowledgable staff who are passionate about what they do. Well worth the trip to Letchworth.
  • 1 David's Books, 14 Eastcheap, SG6 3DE - adjoining David's music (under 2 minutes walk from the train station, opposite Wilkinsons), +44 1462 684 631. A wonderful independent bookshop, great range of new and secondhand books of all varieties - one can easily lose an hour or two upstairs there among the secondhand books. High standards of customer service. Worth a visit to the town all on its own.
  • 1 The Bakehouse, 16 The Wynd, SG6 3EL (from the connecting street from the main street, the first building on your right), +44 1462337980. Su-Tu closed, W-Sa 9AM-4PM. Serving a range of cakes and refreshments, along with Scones. Seating can be procured both inside, outside and upstairs (although it can be hired out). Suitable for solo visits, all the way up to larger families. £5-10/person.
  • 2 David's Cafe, 16A Eastcheap, SG6 3DE (adjacent to the Garden Square Shopping Centre and G's Cafe and Deli), +44 1462684631. M-F 9AM-4PM, Sa 9:30AM-4:30PM, Su 10AM-4PM. Very good place to study and meet people, orientated for casual meetings for a coffee and a cake but can handle lunches too. For the town, the coffees are very affordable.. Good coffee prices. Sandwiches and other larger meals cost £7-8. Cakes are around £3-4.
  • 3 L’artista, 9 Eastcheap (in central Letchworth), +44 1462 689 014-5. noon-11PM. Authentic Italian - very loud, very tasty, very reasonably priced. £10-20.
  • 4 G's Cafe & Deli, 18 Eastcheap, SG6 3DE (adjacent to the Garden Square Shopping Centre), +44 01462 683449. M-Th 8AM-5PM, F Sa 8AM-6PM, Su 9AM-4PM. European-style delicatessen and cafe. A sandwich is around £9 but the portions are quite large and very well made.
  • Simmons Hertfordshire-only Bakeries- quite loud, decent selection of breads, snacks and cakes.
  • Miss Green Fingers Vegan Cafe- gets quite busy on weekends.
  • Cherries and Tea Cafe Caribbean-styled cafe- busy a lot of the time.
  • The Grapevine Turkish Authentic Turkish restaurant- quiet ambience, good food.
  • Esquires Coffee Letchworth Trendy Coffee House and Cafe with ample inside and outside seating, reasonably priced.
  • Cultivo Lounge serves meals for all taste, large and a good jack of all trades. Good for families.
  • Fabios Gelato Small Gelato shop with another branch in Hitchin,
  • 5 Pho House, 27 Eastcheap, SG6 3DA (opposite the Garden City Outdoor Shopping Centre), +44 01462 686984. M-Th noon-3PM and 6-9PM; F noon–3PM, 6–10PM; Sa noon–3PM, 6–10PM; Su noon–3PM, 6–9PM; closed Tu. Vietnamese Cuisine, quiet atmosphere. 2- to 3-course meal ranges from £18-40 per person.

Drink

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Letchworth was "dry" until 1958, but now has a few pubs.

  • 1 The Arena Tavern, 3 Arena Parade, SG6 3BY (town centre, opposite Morrisons), +44 1462 686 400. M-W noon-9PM, Th-Su noon-10PM. The Tavern is the only independent pub in the town centre and is very friendly - good food too. Live music on Thursday nights.
  • Hogs Head.
  • 2 Three Magnets, 18-20 Leys Ave, SG6 3EW, +44 1462 681 093. 8AM-midnight. Letchworth Branch of Wetherspoons.  

Sleep

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Go next

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  • To the north east 27 mi (43 km) is one of England's most famous academic cities Cambridge. Approx 2 trains/hour.
  • To the south-west Hitchin 3 mi (4.8 km).
  • Country Villages There are numerous attractive local villages. The entry for Stevenage has details of some of these.
Routes through Letchworth Garden City
Peterborough ← merges with    N   S  StevenageLondon


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