Why live in Hitchin? A guide to Hertfordshire’s popular market town
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
A picture-perfect market town with a population of around 33,000, Hitchin is one of the most sought-after towns in Hertfordshire.
Locals rave about the strong sense of community they enjoy in the town, with summer street parties and events such as the annual Duck Race bringing residents together.
Hermitage Road, with pretty Windmill Hill at one end, offers a mix of local businesses, including gift shops, cafés and restaurants.
The cobbled Market Place provides more of the same in an even more picturesque setting, while the nearby markets provide a whole other shopping experience. There’s a general market every Tuesday and Saturday, a car boot sale each Sunday, the regular market mixed with antiques and collectables on a Friday plus a craft and farmers market on the last Saturday of the month.
Hitchin also has its fair share of celeb connections: England and Arsenal star Jack Wilshere, singer James Bay and TV journalist Jennie Bond are all from the town. TV viewers might also recognise it as the setting for popular BBC drama Doctor Foster.
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Attractions include the British Schools Museum and the Hitchin Festival, which has been running for more than two decades.
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The majestic St Mary’s Church – the largest parish church in Hertfordshire – is arguably the town’s most recognisable building, set in a commanding location at the heart of the town. While the majority of the building was constructed during the 14th and 15th centuries, the very first building on the site – a minster – dates back more than 1,000 years and scored a mention in the Domesday Book.
Hitchin Lavender is a huge draw in the summer months, with visitors flocking to enjoy the 25 miles of lavender fields and the fabulous photo opportunities they present. Owned and operated by a local family, there’s a restaurant, gift shop and play area, making for an ideal day trip.
Along with big name high street chains such as Waitrose and M&S, Hitchin has several eclectic independent shops, restaurants and cafés.
Hitchin schooling is fantastic with several primary and secondary schools, most of which are rated as outstanding or good in recent Ofsted inspections.
Hitchin Boys’ School – where James Bay went – and Hitchin Girls’ School, are among the best in the county. Both are rated outstanding by Ofsted and competition for a place can be great.
Food and drink
Places to eat are plentiful, offering food from a variety of cultures. Large chains such as Zizzi and Café Rouge sit alongside independent eateries such as Los Reyes tapas restaurant, Bar Azita Mediterranean grill and Sukawatee, a Thai and Malaysian eaterie.
Hermitage Rd, which sits on the street of the same name, is a popular restaurant/theatre hybrid inside a former ballroom. Private dining and live music are also on offer. Chilli B’s on pretty Bucklersbury is a great place for breakfast or lunch, while The Victoria is a live music pub with a buzzing beer garden.
Hitchin has its own train station, with King’s Cross in London and Cambridge just 30 minutes away. Direct connections to Stevenage and Peterborough are also on offer.
The town is three miles from the A1(M) and 10 miles from the M1, and Luton Airport is just a 15-minute drive away
Sport and leisure
There is a wide choice of gyms, leisure centres and parks in Hitchin. Windmill Hill is popular for picnics, and if you’re into fitness, there are a selection of running clubs with early morning jogging for the brave and keen.
Bancroft Recreation Ground includes tennis courts, a bowling green and a children’s play area.
Hitchin Swimming Centre has two indoor pools and an outdoor option which is open during the summer months.
The town also has its own football club, nicknamed The Canaries, which is said to be one of the oldest clubs in the south.
According to Zoopla, the average price paid for a property in Hitchin over the last 12 months was £417,092.
Detached properties sold with an average price of £637,980. Semi-detached properties sold at an average of £437,257 and terraced properties averaged £341,646. According to the Zoopla Zed Index, the current average value of a property available in Hitchin is £445,165.
If you are thinking of selling or letting your property visit country-properties.co.uk/about-us/branches/hitchin. Alternatively, call Country Properties’ lettings team on 01462 441234 or their sales team on 01462 452951.