The Highgate Honeys (comprised of my lovely flatmate Emma and me) hit the road on Saturday for a little tour of nearby St. Albans, a historic and exceptional friendly town a short drive from London.
Upon arrival, we were stopped by 2 people offering unexpired parking passes for the public carpark. It was pretty obvious that we had stumbled upon a gem of a town.
Every good tourist excursion starts with coffee and cake. We stopped by the Pudding Stop to fulfill those primal needs. We then wandered to the cathedral, which was extraordinary!A massive, well-preserved, spectacular space featuring Roman, Medieval, and Victorian architecture smushed together to tremendous effect, reflecting its long history as the oldest site of Christian worship in Britain (first as a monastic Abbey and later as a Cathedral). Construction of the Abbey started in 1077 (you know, NBD, just 11 years after the Norman conquest of England). Amazingly, surviving buildings from the medieval Abbey are still part of this incredible site. Lots of important stuff happened here, including housing one of the earliest printing presses and various other impressively historic stuff, like the discussions leading to the Manga Carta in 1215.
You can also see the very interesting brick and stone work, featuring regional rocks.Inside, virtually every place you looked was a marvel of stone carvings, intricate wooden designs, or detailed patterns. I mean, check out these vaults! We were astonished at the details to be seen at every turn. These wall paintings were really amazing. They are the works of many artists, including a 13th century monk Walter of Colchester. In medieval times, there were paintings under each arch where pilgrims would visit before worshipping at the St. Alban’s shrine. [IT’S SO OLD, GUYS!]Check out the pipes on this lady!! Guess who is salivating at the idea of an organ concert.After we had our fill of spectacular architecture, we leisurely wandered the city centre, taking in the extensive market on St. Peter’s Street, popping in and out of various shops along the way, checking out the various curiosities to be found.On our way back to London, we stopped for dinner at the Horse & Chains, a 17th century pub with a warm and friendly atmosphere and delicious eats. Until next time, Highgate Honeys out! ❤