The hotel is conveniently located a short drive from the historic Roman city of St Albans, close…
“Professional but relaxed pub with understated style”
HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, HERTFORDSHIRE
With a flower-filled garden overlooking the green in the untouched hamlet of Frithsden, this pretty Victorian pub is surrounded by National Trust woodland and has historic Ashridge Park on its doorstep. Cross the threshold and you’ll immediately pick up on the warm and lively atmosphere, derived from the buzz of conversation, some soft jazz in the background, and from the rich colours and eclectic mix of old furniture and antique pictures in the dining room and bar from Tring’s well known salerooms. Also from Tring is real ale called Side Pocket for a Toad, which shares bar space with Sharp’s Doom Bar and Chiltern Brewery’s Beechwood Bitter. The seasonal menus and daily specials are a balance of modern British with more traditional dishes, all prepared from fresh local produce whenever possible. There’s a great choice of light dishes or ‘small plates’, from salmon and spring onion fishcake with wasabi avocado, to glazed honey and balsamic black figs. Equally imaginative ‘big plates’ include chicken ballotine with leg hash, hispi cabbage and truffle cream sauce; pan-fried polenta gnocchi with chilli roast butternut squash, watercress and pumpkin seed pesto.
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About the area
As Hertfordshire is so close to London, many of its towns have become commuter havens. St Albans, less than 19 miles (30km) from the capital, has retained its distinctive character, along with many historic remains. The Roman city of Verulamium is situated in a nearby park, and excavations have revealed an amphitheatre, a temple, parts of the city walls and some house foundations. There are also some amazing mosaic pavements.
The abbey church at St Albans is thought to have been built on the same site where St Alban met his martyrdom in the 3rd century. The abbey was founded in 793 by King Offa of Mercia, and contains the saint’s shrine, made of Purbeck marble. Lost for years, it was discovered in the 19th century, in pieces, and restored by the designer of the red telephone box, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. The abbey also contains some wonderful medieval wall paintings. Nicholas Breakspear was born in St Albans, the son of an abbey tenant. In 1154 he took the name Adrian IV, and became the first, and so far only, English pope. Another famous son of Hertfordshire was Sir Francis Bacon, Elizabethan scholar and Lord High Chancellor, born in Hemel Hempstead in 1561.
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