From exploring the multiple museums and walking around some of the amazing green spaces in and around the city, there are many fantastic things to do in St Albans which don’t need to cost a penny.
This beautiful city in Hertfordshire is the perfect location for a day out or a weekend away, being a short train ride up from London and located close to major roads like the M25 and M1, but you don’t need to spend much.
While some of the city’s most popular and unique activities might cost money, like having a night out at the spectacular Odyssey cinema, you can also visit on a budget by trying out some of these best free things to do in St Albans.
1. St Albans Museum and Gallery
In the centre of St Albans, standing out at the end of the main high street which becomes a hive of activity on market day, you’ll easily be able to spot the white facade and pillars of the former town hall.
This beautiful building is now the St Albans Museum and Gallery, which hosts exhibits that showcase over 2,000 years of local history, from the Romans to more contemporary displays.
It’s remarkable that the museum is free to enter, and its location makes it a perfect place to drop by to spend an hour or get out of the rain if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Plus, you can get some delicious food from the cafe inside and sit in the old courtroom – one of the most unique places to eat in St Albans!
2. St Albans Cathedral
One of the standout landmarks in St Albans is the cathedral which can be seen for miles and looks out over the nearby Verulamium Park.
With a history dating back 1,700 years, and being the longest site of continuous Christian worship, St Albans Cathedral has lots to discover within its wall.
Entry is free, although donations are always welcome, and even if you’re not so interested in the history it’s still worth a visit to admire the beautiful architecture from inside.
3. Verulamium Park
One of the largest and most popular parks in St Albans is Verulamium, which always offers a great way to spend a few hours without having to pay a penny.
On a sunny day, there are many great spots to enjoy a picnic, and the lake offers a lovely backdrop for a relaxing stroll.
You can feed the ducks, have fun at the boating lake, or get refreshments from the cafe in the park.
With lots of open space, you can also bring your own games and enjoy yourselves for hours on end!
4. Roman walls and mosaic
Verulamium Park itself is located on the site of a Roman town, and remains of this past civilisation can still be seen for free when you’re in the park.
Firstly, there are two sections of Roman wall which are still remarkably intact, one by the lake and the other on the path down to King Harry Lane.
The other remarkable piece of history is the hypocaust and mosaic located in a building on a hill in the park. You can go inside for free and see the beautiful mosaic patterns and the remains of a Roman underfloor heating system.
5. Heartwood Forest
Just north of St Albans is the spectacular Heartwood Forest, a large area of new forest that contains over half a million trees, including sections of spectacular ancient woodland.
Heartwood Forest is a popular spot for dog walkers and anyone looking to stretch their legs, being home to some of the best walks near St Albans.
Along with the many different meadows, fields, and areas of woodland to explore, the display of bluebells that appears in spring in the wonderful Langley Woods is a popular sight to see, and you don’t even have to pay for parking!
6. St Albans South Signal Box
One of the lesser-known free things to do in St Albans is to pay a visit to the South Signal Box.
Built by the Midland Railway in 1892, this is the largest such signal box in preservation and is a must-see attraction for train enthusiasts and anyone interested in local history.
While located near the current train station in St Albans, the signal box has been restored and appears very much as it would have looked in the 19th century.
You can even have a go with the lever frame to experience how the signal system worked first-hand.
7. Walk along the Alban Way
One of the best free things to do in St Albans is to simply explore the city on foot, and there’s no better route to follow than by heading along the Alban Way.
This disused railway is now a popular path for both pedestrians and cyclists, as it provides a straight route that bisects the city and avoids traffic.
The Alban Way goes all the way to Hatfield, so it’s possible to walk or cycle there and visit local attractions like Hatfield House, one of the best things to do in Hertfordshire for couples. Or, you can walk part of the way and then circle back to see other things to do in St Albans.