First stop for the stage coaches heading north from London – the wide High Street retains a high density of pubs and restaurants.
The Great North Road ran through the High Street until the town was bypassed by the A1(M) in 1962.
The Cromwell is just one of a series of coaching Inns along the High Street. It was once a farm house and home to John Thurloe secretary to Oliver Cromwell.
The Saxon and medieval origins of Stevenage lie a mile to the west of the current “old town”. Take time out to walk up the Avenue to the early 12th century church of St Nicholas’ Church (start at the Great North Road sign opposite Alleyne’s School gates).
Alongside the Church is the house where novelist EM Forster lived – and nearby is the setting for Howards End.
Find the Six Hills – burial mounds of uncertain antiquity. These were right by the Great North Road until 1962.
Motor cyclists will want to pay respect to the legacy of Vincent – once the cult bike of the day producing legendary models such as the Black Shadow.
Visitors (other than students of Town Planning History) are unlikely to be tempted to explore the New Town which now dominates.
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