St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK

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St Albans is a Hertfordshire market town 20 miles north of London, quickly reached by one of the frequent trains that run through King's Cross Thameslink or by hitchhiking up the M1. Known to the locals as Snorbens, it's an historic place, which means that lots of exciting things happened there a long time ago. Londoners visit St Albans for a day to sample the fresh air and the town atmosphere and return home thankfully to choke on the infinitely more exciting ambience of the Great Wen.

St Albans used to have more shoe shops than pubs but all that has changed – CCTV and a public drinking ban have now had to be installed to curb the revellers who turned St Albans into Dodge City most Friday and Saturday nights. The restaurants are so varied in price and style of cuisine that that there is no reason not to go out for a meal, so everyone does (and if you've booked, you actually get to sit down and eat one). Surfing kitsch in the Wednesday or Saturday market will not be forgotten until the bruises fade and the eardrums heal. A visit to the park at Verulamium is a must – while ducks recycle your stale bread, you can gaze wistfully at the Roman ruins or brush up your foreign language skills with a summer visitor.

With all these delights, only churls will notice that St Albans does not have a cinema. Hence the popular catch-phrase: 'He goes to the cinema in St Albans,' to describe a person two bricks short of a wall.

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