The thriving town has great commuter links, excellent schools and plenty of character, to make it a desirable place to live and spend time.

There has been evidence of human habitation in the area dating back to New Stone Age, Iron Age and Bronze Age.

According to, Hemel Hempstead first enters the written records in the eighth century when lands in the district of Hamele were granted by Offa, King of Essex, to the Bishop of London in A.D.705.

The name is first referred to in the Domesday Book as "Hamelamesede", but in later centuries it became Hamelhamsted.

Within the Domesday Book it states the area had 1,800 acres of woodland and belonged to Robert, Count of Mortain, (William the Conqueror’s half brother).

There is evidence of this rich history with St. Mary's church in Gadebridge park, which is regarded as one of the most complete Norman churches in Hertfordshire.

In 1539 King Henry VIII granted a charter to make Hemel a market town and in 1898 another charter was granted by Queen Victoria.

The charter of incorporation made Hemel Hempstead a municipal borough allowing the town to elect a mayor, bailiff and alderman.

In 1949, Hemel Hempstead became a New Town in order to house the overspill from the capital after the Second World War as part of the post war programme.

It saw huge scale development take place, including the construction of new residential areas, commercial centres, and amenities.

A walk down the high street reveals historic properties of the past still existing in Hemel Hempstead.

According to Rightmove, properties in Hemel Hempstead had an overall average price of £458,584 over the last year.

The majority of sales in Hemel Hempstead during the last year were terraced properties, selling for an average price of £417,137. Flats sold for an average of £250,998, with semi-detached properties fetching £538,798.

Overall, sold prices in Hemel Hempstead over the last year were 10 per cent up on the previous year and 14 per cent up on the 2020 peak of £402,014.

Now Hemel Hempstead is a thriving town of almost 96,000 people and among its famous landmarks is the "magic" roundabout, which is a series of small roundabouts around one big one.


Great British Life: Water Gardens, Dacorum Borough Council. Pic: Nick HarrisonWater Gardens, Dacorum Borough Council. Pic: Nick Harrison

There is lots of charming beauty to be found in Hemel Hempstead's Old Town.

The cobbled road and stone paved footpaths, period buildings, and a lovely village atmosphere make it a lovely place to spend time.

Gadebridge Park is a stunning green space where you can relax and enjoy the outdoors. The walled garden is a great place to take time out and admire the spectacular flower displays and cycle paths run along the main drive from Queensway to Piccotts End Road and through to the Leighton Buzzard Road underpass.

For the adventurous there is the Snow Centre where you can try out indoor skiing and snowboarding. Lessons and equipment rental are available for all skill levels.

Located in the Town Centre are The Water Gardens. Designed by the famous landscape architects Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, they feature orchards, watercress beds and ironworks.

It originally opened in 1962, and in 2017, the gardens reopened following a restoration project to return them to their former glory, funded by a £2.4 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund, topped up by an investment of more than £1 million of council funding.

The Water Gardens achieved a Civic Trust Award in 1965 and joined English Heritage's Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in 2010 as an important example of 20th century urban design.


Such lovely views of the Grand Union Canal at The Paper Mill. This gastropub has a relaxed atmosphere with lovely views which make the most of the canal.

On the menu are pub classic and a good choice of craft beers and ales. See

Olive Indian Restaurant on Lawn Lane offers authentic Indian cuisine. The team prides themselves on not using processed meats, bulking agents, preservatives, artificial colourings, or flavourings in their curries. See

Get your fill of exquisite artisan goods at the Hemel Hempstead Old Town Market which runs regularly throughout the year.

The Midland Hotel on Midland Road is a charming establishment that is known for its great Thai food as well as a comfortable and welcoming setting.

Old Tom's Bar Bistro on the high street is oh so cool but not at all pretentious.They have a gin and cocktail bar with more than 50 gins and a selection of craft cocktails.

For those preferring an alcohol free option, they have zero per cent spirits, beer, mocktails and soft drinks.

The Fishery Inn is a pub, bar, and restaurant with its own courtyard and waterside location. It offers a tasty selection of mains, light bites, sharing platters, and tempting desserts.


Great British Life: Hemel Old Town Market, Dacorum Borough Council. Pic: Harpenden Town CouncilHemel Old Town Market, Dacorum Borough Council. Pic: Harpenden Town Council

The Riverside Shopping Centre is a modern shopping complex with a variety of stores, including fashion boutiques, electronics shops, and stores like Pandora, Next and TK Maxx.

Marlowes Shopping Centre offers fashion shopping with a mix of retailers like JD and New Look and independent shops like sports shop Peter Spivey Ltd.

The Galleria Outlet Shopping is located just outside Hemel Hempstead, where you can find a selection of fashion brands.

Market Days in Hemel Hempstead are an excellent opportunity to discover gems. The town hosts regular market days, featuring clothing stalls and handmade items, and stylish accessories.

F and R Boutique has been in the high street for more than 10 years selling brands like Hot Tomato jewellery and accessories, Gisela Graham home and giftware and MEWS Collective and its sister company Peppermint Grove of diffuser and candle ranges and beauty products. Also on the high street is The House of Elliott which stocks lots of jewellery, candles and clothes.

For all your fabric needs there is Needlecraft at 142 Cotterells. The business started in 1969 when they opened a drapers shop in Warners End in the town. The shop was opened in 1980 and is one of the largest stockists around. Knowledgeable staff are always around to offer advice.


Great British Life: Fiona SmithFiona Smith

Fiona Smith has run her business, F and R Boutique, in the heart of the old town for 14 years.

She loves the diversity in the area and the draw of the picturesque old town for shoppers.

"I like Hemel Hempstead and there is a lot of loyalty here for independent businesses. I started F and R Boutique 14 years ago and I am happy to say it is now a top destination for people in the area. People seem to value it and there is a community spirit here. After lockdown suddenly people were making the most of the shops here and the lovely cafe culture we have.

"At one point the decision was taken to make the road a one way system. At the time I was quite anti the idea but now I can see the benefits. When people are driving one way they have more of a chance to look at what's around and it means there is more parking as well.

"Sometimes Hemel Hempstead gets knocked, but I am a firm believer in things only being as good as what you make of them, and there is plenty here! We are lucky to have beautiful spaces right in the town, which is not true for a lot of places."