Widely known as a commuter town for workers in London and the surrounding area, Hemel Hempstead is also renowned as a regional destination for shopping and leisure. Although it has existed as a settlement since the 8th century, it only really developed after World War Two, when it was designated as a New Town. In the past few decades, Hemel Hempstead has grown significantly, rivalling neighbouring Watford and St Albans as a retail and business centre. It has also gained a growing number of visitors due to its proximity to many historical sites, some of which dating back to Roman times. In the town centre, there are also many public artworks for shoppers to enjoy.
Petrol in and around the town can be expensive, so for that reason, a small, economical supermini or city car would be the best thing to drive in Hemel Hempstead.
Driving in Hemel Hempstead
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
An area known as ‘Magic Roundabout’, which is to the south of The Marlowes, attracts a lot of traffic. Be patient when approaching it.
The town happens to be close to the M1, which goes north towards Luton and south towards London.
Traffic is likely to be heavy going to London on a morning and from the capital on an evening. Be sure to plan around those times.
Highlights & Hotspots
The Old Town, along the northern part of the High Street, has plenty of examples of pre-war architecture. The Old Town Hall is perhaps the best of the lot, used sparingly these days. It also offers a welcome change of pace from the newer part of town.
If shopping is your bag, then a trip to The Marlowes, the main shopping centre, is a must. With over 100 shops, it comprises of an open-air shopping street and an indoor mall, mostly containing chain stores with a handful of local retailers.
For those of you who love a walk, the best route in town is along the Grand Union Canal. It passes through the western part of town and, along the way, goes to The Three Horseshoes, one of the oldest pubs in Hertfordshire.
Adrenaline junkies who might find a trip to The Alps beyond their means might fancy a trip to The Snow Centre. As the UK’s largest indoor ski slope, it’s a good place to hone your skiing skills, especially if you’re tired of the sunny weather outside!
The nearest major airport is London Luton, which is nine miles north of Hemel Hempstead. One of the busiest airports in the UK, it has one large terminal with 60 stands, serving destinations all over the world, but mainly in Europe.
The airport is linked to the M1 by the A1081, which goes west onto the motorway. By driving down for a few miles then taking the A414 westbound, you‚Äôll be in Hemel Hempstead.