garden city and new town in Hertfordshire, England

Welwyn Garden City is a town) in Hertfordshire, England. It was the second "garden city" in England, and one of the first "new towns". It is unique in being both a garden city and a new town and exemplifies the physical, social and cultural planning ideals of the periods in which it was built. The town is laid out along tree-lined boulevards with a neo-Georgian town centre. The view along Parkway to the south was once described as one of the world's finest urban vistas.

Understand edit

Welwyn Garden City is a town, and nit a city. It is also known as WGC or, somewhat incorrectly, Welwyn, although this can cause confusion with the village called Welwyn which lies a 2 mi (3.2 km) to the northwest of WGC.

Welwyn Garden City, as its name suggests, is a "garden city", founded by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the 1920s following his previous experiments in Hampstead Garden Suburb and Letchworth Garden City. Howard had called for the creation of new towns of limited size, planned in advance, and surrounded by a permanent belt of agricultural land, as a role model for lower-density suburban development. Howard believed that such garden cities were the perfect blend of city and nature. The spine of the town is Parkway, a central mall or scenic parkway, almost a mile long.

Welwyn Garden City is well known by avid readers of the side of breakfast cereal boxes in Britain as the town where Shredded Wheat and Shreddies were made, at the former Nabisco factory (now part of Nestlé).

Get in edit

Map of Welwyn Garden City

By train edit

Trains run roughly every 20 minutes to 1 WGC station. from London. Taking approximately 30 minutes from London King's Cross, and 50 minutes from London Moorgate station. Trains also run to and from Hatfield, Stevenage, Cambridge and Peterborough.

By bus edit

The bus station is serviced by local buses only - no National Express services. Local buses run to and from Hatfield, St Albans, Stevenage, Hitchin, Hemel Hempstead, Hertford and Watford.

Get around edit

WGC is small enough to walk around for any able-bodied person. Taxis are available from the rank at the front of the Howard Centre if required.

See edit

  • 1 Welwyn Roman Baths, Welwyn Garden City. A 1,800-year-old Roman bathhouse which was unearthed from beneath Welwyn Garden City in 1960.    
  • 2 Shredded Wheat Factory. It can be seen from the train. No tours. That's about as much as you can do save walk across the (now listed) footbridge. The Factory closed in 2008.
  • 3 Parkway. The attractive avenues of Parkway and Howardsgate are worth a visit, with the coronation fountain at their intersection.
  • 4 Mill Green Museum, Mill Green. Open Tu-Th 10AM-5PM, Su Bank Holidays 2-5PM. Water-powered flour mill, a three-room local history museum and gardens. Adult £3.50.    

Do edit

  • 1 Stanborough Lakes (30 minutes' walk from the town centre or 5 minutes in a taxi). A pleasant recreational area offering fishing, boating, swimming as well as wide open spaces for dog walking and sun bathing.    
  • 2 Stanborough Park Water Sports Centre, Welwyn Garden City. Lakes open for sailing, canoeing, paddleboarding, rafting and open water swimming in Welwyn Garden City. Open for group bookings, courses and public sessions. Check the website for seasonal opening times.    
  • 3 Campus West, +44 1707 357117. Cinema and theatre. Shows a range of productions and offers a bar serving alcoholic drinks which is open for the duration of the entertainment.

Buy edit

  • 1 John Lewis, Bridge Road, AL8 6TR, +44 8456 049 049 (extra charge). Open daily. Took over Welwyn Department Stores in the 1980s and offers a grand shopping experience without the hussle and bustle of a London store.

Eat edit

There are several good cafes and restaurants on Howardsgate (the main avenue leading up to the Howard's Centre).

  • 1 Postino Lounge, 17-19 Howardsgate, AL8 6AA. 9AM-11PM. The old Post Office converted to an all day restaurant. The upper floor has large light windows.
  • 2 The Stanborough Beefeater, Stanborough Rd, AL8 6DQ, +44 1707 391345. 6:30–10:30AM noon–11PM.
  • You can pick up picnic food from supermarket Waitrose or pizza from Pizza Express.

Drink edit

  • 1 The Doctor's Tonic, Church Road. noon-11PM. It was built as the town's Cottage Hospital (hence the name) and has a lively and young crowd most days of the week as well as live music upstairs.  
  • 2 The Two Willows (Formerly "The Cork"), 9 Howardsgate, AL8 6AW. Right in the town centre, it's the place to go if you want a lively pub.  
  • 3 Attimore Hall, Ridgeway AL7 2AD, +44 1707 299332. Noon to 10:30PM (or later).
  • 4 The Chieftain, Cole Green Ln, AL7 3JF, +44 1707 332 193. McMullens Pub  

For something a bit more relaxed, go to The Sun or The Long Arm And Short Arm which are next to each other in Lemsford. A 5-minute taxi ride or 30-minute walk from town.

Or further up the B197 to:

Sleep edit

  • 1 Premier Travel Inn, Stanborough Rd, AL8 6DQ, +44 1707 393789. Stanborough Road. Standard budget business hotel.    
  • Best Western Homestead Court Hotel Homestead Lane
  • 2 Tewin Bury Farm Hotel, Hertford Rd, Tewin, +44 1438 717793, . 4-star hotel alongside the River Mimram. All bedrooms are individually designed, en suite doubles, some converted from the original 17th-century farm buildings. Williams' Bar & Restaurant is open to residents and non-residents, offering modern British dishes. The working farm remains and the Williams brothers can often be seen managing the grounds, or driving their tractor.

Go next edit

  • Welwyn is a couple of miles to the north of Welwyn Garden City. It was settled by the Romans. Many Roman artifacts have been found, and the remains of a Roman bath house, which lie under the A1 motorway, may be visited. The bath house remains are a scheduled ancient monument, ingeniously preserved in a steel vault. Once part of a fine villa, the layout of the cold, warm and hot rooms and the heating system are remarkably well preserved. The bath house is open on weekends and Bank Holidays between 2PM and 5PM. Also open during school holidays in the afternoon. £1.50
The railway viaduct at Digswell
  • Digswell is to the southeast of Welwyn and northeast of Welwyn Garden City. It is an attractive village with several thatched cottages but the main reason most people visit is to look at the Digswell railway viaduct (also known as the Welwyn Viaduct). The viaduct is around 1,560 ft (480 m) long and comprises forty arches of 30 ft (9 m) span, and is 100 ft (30 m) high. It is built of brick and took two years to build. It was opened by Queen Victoria on 6 August 1850, but she was so frightened of its height that she refused to travel across it.
  • The city of St Albans 8 mi (13 km) to the South West.
Routes through Welwyn Garden City
PeterboroughStevenage  N   S  HatfieldLondon

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