St Albans isn’t necessarily seen as one of the architectural sites of interest in the UK and it’s mainly known for having a grandiose cathedral and not much else, but there is, in fact, some striking sites that residents and tourists alike may enjoy. They showcase architectural styles from Norman to Modernist, which is an eclectic mixture for any, historic city.
Here at TML Decorators Ltd, we are painters and decorators based in St Albans, so we have a special appreciation for the architecture in the area. Continue reading to view some of our favourite examples.
St Albans Cathedral
It would be rude not to include such a historic building, perhaps the most memorable example of architecture in St Albans – the Cathedral (or ‘the Abbey’ as it has become known).
The building is believed to date back as far as the 8th century and features generally Norman architecture. There are also features of Romanesque, Gothic, and 19th-century styles that make Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban a diverse marvel.
It actually ceased to be an abbey in the 16th century and became a cathedral in 1877, and also features the longest nave in England at 84 metres or 276 feet.
A Georgian country house believed to have been built in the 18th century by master mason Edward Strong, Sopwell House is now a luxury hotel with 128 bedrooms and all of the amenities you might expect from a countryside hotel with 12 acres of grounds.
The Bejerano family developed the country house into a hotel in 1986, and it has been a family-run business ever since. It has become popular among elite sports stars, making itself the gathering place for the English national football team before international events.
The collection of rooms is a broad range of different styles with some veering more toward a traditional hotel, some harking back to the Georgian style of the facade, and some taking a more contemporary approach.
Hatfield House is another country house based in the area, this time instead built in a Jacobean architectural style and built in 1611 by Robert Cecil – the first Earl of Salisbury. The Cecil family has owned the country house ever since, including the surrounding grounds that feature 42 acres of gardens and remnants of the palace that used to occupy the land.
The Royal Palace of Hatfield, which almost completely demolished by Robert Cecil, was the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I – it’s even said that Elizabeth learnt of her succession to the throne while sitting under a tree in the Park in 1558.
In more recent history, the grounds were used as a testing facility for British tanks in WWI, among other things such as a replica of no man’s land. Hatfield House is now a popular tourist attraction, and renowned British sculptor – Anna Conner – was commissioned for a water sculpture in 2015 titled ‘Renaissance’.
One of the most prominent and striking examples of Modernist architecture in St Albans, Oaklands II is a redevelopment of a former student campus of Oaklands College in St Albans. It is Grade II listed and was recently transformed into 15 residential apartment blocks.
The nature of the site lends perfectly to secluded and exclusive apartments with it being set in a rural area with over 200 trees dotted around the structures. The newer buildings added to the original blocks are laid out in a rectilinear pattern, creating a total of 329 flats and uses materials such as aluminium, pre-weathered zinc, and grey terracotta tiles, and plenty of glass that allows for a subtle integration into the surroundings, almost camouflaging into the environment.
Just the Start
This is just the start of the interesting, striking, and impressive architecture St Albans has to offer. The city is steeped in history, with plenty to learn and see – such as the fact that St Albans was one of the first Roman settlements in Britain.
Contact TML Decorators
If you have a property in St Albans that needs decorating, look no further than TML Decorators. We understand the importance of appearance in this picturesque city, so we can help create a brilliant building for yourself and others to enjoy – whether that is your home or the premises of your business.
To discuss your project with us, please contact us by calling 01727 613 044 or filling out our simple contact form.