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Hitchin is an ancient market town set mid-way between London and Cambridge. As well as the town’s many historical sites such as the 14th century Priory, and its famous antiques and bookshops, Hitchin puts Hertfordshire’s many must-see ancient attractions within easy reach.
Begin in Tilehouse Street to admire Hitchin Priory, one of the town’s most historic buildings - dating back to 1317 when it was originally a Carmelite Monastery. Next to the Priory is the former 16th century home of poet and playwright George Chapman. North and into the pedestrianised High Street, many of the banks and shops are situated in prime examples of 19th century architecture in the Italianate style.
Hitchin has an open market on Tuesdays and Saturdays and an antique Flea Market on Fridays. While browsing the town’s wide range of well-known and more interesting curiosity shops, stop for lunch in the old Corn Exchange building in Market Place which now houses a pub and restaurant. While in Market Place, be sure to stop by Gatwards, a jewellery store which has remained in the family, and in this building, since the doors were first opened in 1760.
Twenty minutes drive south of Hitchin on the A1(M) motorway lie two of Hertfordshire’s must-see attractions. The Roman stronghold of Verulamium, known today as St. Albans, is a beautiful Cathedral city with timber framed houses. Its Verulamium Museum houses one of the country’s most interesting and interactive exhibitions depicting life in Roman Britain. A short distance east of St. Albans is Hatfield House, childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I, who in November 1558, following the death of her sister Queen Mary Tudor, held her first Council of State in the Great Hall.
Hitchin is only 10 miles from Luton Airport, with Heathrow and Stansted both less than 40 minutes away, providing a wide range of flight options from European and international destinations.