Bishop’s Stortford: a traditional delight.

The town has grown up around the ford over the river, now known as the Stort.

According to Bishop’s Stortford Town Council ( from c. 1060 the town and its castle were sold by Edith the Fair to the Saxon Bishop of London, it became known as Bishop's Esterteferd.

In 1086 in the Domesday Book the area is written as ‘Storteford’ and in the early 13th century it became embroiled in the disputes between King John and Pope Innocent II.

The King took the town from the Bishop and ordered the destruction of the Norman castle in 1211 and then, in 1214, had to pay for it to be rebuilt.

With a population of 2,300 by 1801, Bishop's Stortford was a small but thriving market town throughout the Middle Ages.

St Michael’s Church was rebuilt after the Black Death in the 14th Century and the weekly market was a sign of the area’s increasing prosperity.

The opening of the Stort Navigation to London in 1769 gave the town's trade and wealth a boost.

It was connected to the railway in 1842 and meant Bishop's Stortford's was an important market town.

Bishop’s Stortford has emerged as a thriving cosmopolitan town with lots of shops and restaurant to choose from.

It has great travel links, with Stanstead Airport under 20-minute drive away and the fastest train to London is just 38 minutes.

There is also the gem of a National Trust forest, the ancient Hatfield Forest can be found at Bush End Road, Takeley, Bishop's Stortford.

With a mix of modern and period properties, homes near the train station are particularly in demand.

The average house price according to Rightmove was an overall average price of £514,233 over the last year.

The majority of sales in Bishop's Stortford during the last year were detached properties, selling for an average price of £782,395. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £501,995, with terraced properties fetching £410,510.

Residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to a great selection of bars and restaurants and shops to choose from.

This, combine with excellent local schools, makes it an attractive choice for potential buyers.

Great British Life: Southern Country Park CREDIT East Herts District CouncilSouthern Country Park CREDIT East Herts District Council

Exploring the town

Castle Park is a picturesque green space in the heart of the town centre, currently undergoing a £3.5m transformation to improve connectivity and enhance the park. It is home to the Waytemore Castle mound, ruins of a 10th century castle and a Grade I listed structure. There is a large children’s play area, splash park and new skate park which opened spring this year.

Slightly further afield, the town’s other flagship park is Southern Country. An annual summer event is held there each year for Love Parks Week. It’s a lovely place for a stroll in nature with a large lake in the centre.

For culture seekers, South Mill Arts offers a creative programme of cinema, live performance and community events (

There are family friendly events throughout the year at Cammas Hall Farm to enjoy from pumpkin picking to fruit picking in the summer and for thrill-seekers there is the Bishop’s Stortford Escape Rooms.

A plethora of tourists visit the town each year to enjoy the beautiful Audley End and to enjoy all the wonderful events it has to offer.

Enjoy a round of golf or two at the Bishop’s Stortford Golf Club, an attractive 18-hole parkland and the par 71 offers a challenging course for all abilities.

Great British Life: Host Terrace, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOOHost Terrace, Bishop's Stortford. Picture: DANNY LOO

Eating and drinking

Food wise, the town has Eat 17, a grocery store meets street food market and plenty of al-fresco options for the summer, including Cote and the rooftop bar of Host which is situated on the rather grand Corn Exchange building.

For a special meal to remember head to Pircio. With more than 30 years of the staff know just how to make you feel special.

The main restaurant is beautifully laid out and there are several private hire areas.

The Belgian Brewer has wide selection of Belgian Style Beers, brewed with traditional methods, and using natural products to enjoy.

Drink in style at Drinks Boutique an elegant location where staff have amazing wine knowledge and a fabulous collection of wines and some spirits to boot.

Located in the 17th century Hawkes Brewery, Water Lane Lounge and Cellar Bar is the place to go. Savour cocktails, drinks, bar snacks and live music across two floors.


In the town centre there’s a great mix of national chains, including a big H&M and Next.

There are quirky independents and boutiques, especially around North Street and Florence Walk.

Located on North Street, Friends Dress Agency has been open for around 22 years. They strive to put preloved clothes on the map, with high-end labels such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Vivienne Westwood, as well as high-end high street labels such as Jigsaw, Whistles, Hobbs and more.

Muse Boutique offer brands A Postcard from Brighton relaxed leisure , Vila jeans for fitted denim and Robell Trousers smart looks. Tozzi and Ravel for footwear.

Terracotta Senses sells sustainable wellbeing and holistic homewares, gifts & accessories and for all your gift needs head to Sunshine Gifts and Crafts.

Step into the veritable Aladdin’s Cave that is Coopers of Stortford. The traditional home and garden store specialising in horticulture, gardening equipment and garden furniture, cookshop, ironmongery and DIY, pet shop, motoring, fitness, health, clothing and more.

Great British Life: CASE STUDY Grace Crossley CREDIT East Herts District CouncilCASE STUDY Grace Crossley CREDIT East Herts District Council

Case study

Grace Crossley lives in Bishop’s Stortford and runs the business Grace Makes Dough. Here she details why she loves the community spirit in the town.

Grace said: “Bishops Stortford is an exciting place to be a young, small business owner and the support in the community is incredible. There are so many great independent cafes, restaurants, markets and bars, like Le Peche, Peach and Beer Shop. Having so many small businesses makes Bishops Stortford a thriving and exciting place to be growing Grace Makes Dough.

“Grace Makes Dough began as a hobby in lockdown, when I used to bake sourdough loaves for family and friends as little pick me ups. This led to word-of-mouth advertising for the business, and we began supplying sourdough bread and focaccia to local cafes, shops and restaurants.

“Our first big supporter was The Toaster, which is the most delicious, Instagram-able brunch spot in Bishops Stortford runn by Colin and Charlotte. As well as sourdough loaves, Grace Makes Dough is available as a pop-up pizzeria and we do all sorts of events from weddings to school fêtes to pub quizzes. Regardless of the event, our focus is on high quality, fresh ingredients to ensure a delicious pizza.”