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7 Reasons to Visit Magical St Albans

7 Reasons to Visit Magical St Albans this Winter 

St Albans Cathedral is magical in winter ©Stephanie Belton


There may be a chill in the air but a visit to the vibrant and cultural Cathedral city of St Albans, in Hertfordshire, promises to warm you to the core this winter.

A top place for city breaks, St Albans boasts a rich history and is a must-visit destination for independent shopping, heritage attractions, beautiful architecture, stunning outside space, and top-quality eating and drinking venues. Not forgetting magical Christmas events!

There's always something for all ages to see, do and enjoy- here're 7 magical reasons to make sure you pay a visit this winter... 


  1. Christmas Markets

The festive season begins with the hugely anticipated Christmas Cracker event when the city's Christmas lights are officially switched on! Kickstart your Christmas shopping and enjoy fun for all the family at this spectacular Christmas Street Festival with Santa's Grotto, family entertainment, live music, delicious street food, rides, festive market stalls and more. And with special dates added throughout December, theCharter Market at Christmasensures that you can shop for everything you could want and find presents for everyone on your gift list.

Christmas Cracker Sunday 20 November 2022 12 noon - 6pm Central St Albans. Organised by SADC and sponsored by St Albans BID

Charter Market at Christmas 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 18, 22, 23 December


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St Albans Christmas Cracker is organised by SADC & sponsored by St Albans BID ©KL Creative Photography


  1. Festive Events

TheEnjoy St AlbansfamousNutcracker Christmas Trailis a magical event that's fantastic fun for all the family.Find all the nutcrackers hidden around the beautiful city and be in with a chance of winning a £20 St Albans Gift Card. Free trail maps are available from the town centre.

Monday 19 December - Thursday 22 DecemberCentral St Albans. Sponsored by St Albans BID

The Enjoy St Albans famous Nutcracker Christmas Trail is fun for all the family

Make memories when Santa's ‘official' and busyNorth Pole Post Officecomes to town. The space is beautifully decorated to get everyone in the Christmas spirit and children can meet the elves before writing a letter to Santa and posting it in the magical, talking post box and watch it as it is sent to the North Pole. All children receive a delicious chocolate coin and parents a letter from Father Christmas for their little ones. Don't forget to photo capture the wonderful memories at Santa's Sleigh!

3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 22, 23 December, Christopher Place. Sponsored by St Albans 

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Santa's North Pole Post Office, Christopher Place


  1. Carols & Nativity

A visit to stunning St Albans Cathedral is simply a must at Christmas. Experience the true meaning of the festive season at the Cathedral's wonderfulCarols on the Hourand family-funLive Nativity Trailon Saturday 17 December. Warm up in the café with delicious homemade mince pies and a hot chocolate and browse the shop full of nativities and seasonal gifts- a wonderful place to find that perfect present.

17 December, St Albans


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Carols on the Hour and Live Nativity Trail at St Albans Cathedral 17 December ©Emma Collins Photography


  1. Family Pantomime


TheAlban Arenais a wonderful venue in the city centre providing a schedule packed with concerts, dance, comedy, films, exhibitions, music and lots more. This year's Christmas panto is the spectacular Jack & The Beanstalk- with a top-class cast, lavish sets and hilarious jokes it promises to be FE-FI-FO fun for the whole family - OH YES IT WILL!

9 December to 2 January. Book tickets


Jack & The Beanstalk is this year's Christmas panto at Alban Arena


9       Art & Culture

A world-class centre for arts and culture and set over three floorsSt Albans Museum + Galleryshowcases a number of inspiring and intriguing exhibitions and events this winter including;Henry Moore: Drawing in the Dark- the largest exhibition of coalmining drawings by the celebrated artist ever to be shown, eighty years since they were completed for the War Artists' Advisory Committee (WAAC). Visitors are invited to journey from quick pencil sketches, through developmental drawings, finished pieces and finally to later works inspired by Moore's coalmining experience.

16 December 2022 to 16 April 2023 St Albans Museum +


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Pit Boys at Pit Head 1942 Wakefield Permanent Art Collection Image Courtesy of The Hepworth Wakefield

University of Hertfordshire Arts + Culture hosts an exciting programme of cultural events open to the public and this winter,thede Havilland Philharmonic Orchestrawill be teaming up again with the award-winning children's illustrator and author James Mayhew to presentJames Mayhew Christmas Family Concert, Fairytales and Pantomimesfor a Christmas treat. As the orchestra plays the much-loved seasonal favourites by Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Nielsen and Humperdinck, Mayhew paints his illustrations live on stage, in perfect synchronicity with the music - his paintings projected onto a big screen for all to enjoy. On this Advent Sunday, experience the musical tales that inspired the traditional festive Panto.

27 November 2022, 2pm and 4pm at Weston Auditorium, University of Hertfordshire.BookHEREfor 2pm concert & BookHEREfor 4pm concert.

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de Havilland Philharmonic Orchestra ©JonnyBack


  1. Top Food & Drink Destination


The beautiful old streets and courtyards of St Albans are jam-packed with award-winning places to eat and drink and with over 100 cafes and restaurants, its legendary Charter Market and visiting Farmers Markets and more pubs per square mile than anywhere else in the country, it's simply foodie heaven at Christmas.From fine dining celebrations for large parties to cosy intimate get-togethers around the pub fire, the eateries, markets and pubs in town provide the most memorable Christmas fare.

Discover where to Eat & Drink


  1. Independent Shopping

St Albans is a spectacular shopping destination all year round but at Christmas, the quaint streets and medieval buildings housing independent shops really come alive. From charming boutiques and quirky interior shops to artisan jewellers and health and beauty independents, all lit up with beautiful Christmas lights, you'll enjoy spending hours browsing. And there's plenty of well-known retailers too for those on your list who like well-known brands. TheSt Albans Gift Cardmakes the perfect gift for friends, family and colleagues who love to shop and helps to support the local high street too.

Discover St Albans Shopping


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St Albans is brimming with independent shops and charming boutiques ©KL Creative Photography


Just 20 miles and 20 minutes by train from London, St Albans is just waiting to be explored. Whether you're visiting for a day or longer, come and soak up the magic of Christmas in this wonderful city.


Download the officialVisitor Guideand discover more




For images or more information please contactkathy@pr4.comor call 07788 272 009


About St Albans:

  • St Albans is a top place for city breaks. A historic gem of an English Cathedral City just 20 miles and 20 minutes by train from London is easily accessible by road with links to the M25, M1 and A1(M)
  • The city's colourful history and heritage can be seen in the Roman remains and the beautiful medieval architecture and picturesque buildings that look spectacular all year round
  • A fabulous shopping destination, St Albans is home to an array of innovative independent retailers and well-known chains
  • The city is famous for its café and pub culture with a fantastic range of award-winning eating and drinking establishments, including Britain's oldest pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks
  • Enjoy lots of green, open spaces and parks - making St Albans a family friendly destination
  • Discover more