The Ultimate Guide to Living and Working in Watford
A small market town situated in Hertfordshire, measuring just eight miles squared, Watford is a popular hotspot for shopping, nightlife and wildlife. As home to one of the UK’s top 10 parks, locally known as Cassiobury, Watford is a place perfect for everyone. Whether you’re looking to relocate, looking for a weekend away or looking for a night on the town, Watford is the place to be.
A little known fact about Watford is that one of this town’s claims to fame is that it is actually the birthplace of Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, Vinnie Jones and England International manager Gareth Southgate.
Watford has an estimated population of 96,800 but the population within all of the postcodes under Watford is estimated at 287,000. The average age of the Watford population is 39.2 years, which is slightly lower than the UK average age of 40.1 years but slightly older than the neighbouring London who’s average age is an estimated 35.3 years.
Living in Watford
Watford is a well-established urban town, with the charm of rural English countryside with all the modern comforts you can ask for. Surprisingly close to rural areas such as Chiltern Hills and the Colne Valley Regional Park but only a stone throws away from London, Watford is a great place to re-locate, raise a family or even retire.
How much does a house cost in Watford?
The average house price in Watford is currently £439,683, which is a 4% increase in value compared to the last comparable period.
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How much does it cost to rent in Watford?
On average it costs £1,287 pcm to rent a property in Watford.
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Where are the Best Neighbourhoods in Watford to Live In?
The most sought after neighbourhoods in Watford are Hempstead Road, Cassiobury and Nascot Wood, with many residents paying a premium to purchase or rent properties in these neighbourhood.
A perfect place for young professionals, Nascot Wood offers a large range of different property types whilst being central to good transport links for commuting and close enough to the town centre to enjoy all of the Watford local amenities. But with a range of larger family style homes, a selection of highly rated schools and parks, Nascot Wood is also the perfect place for families with both older and younger children.
With more affordable housing but still offering the same benefits as Nascot Wood, Abbots Langley offers young professionals and couples more reasonably priced housing for which to get on the property ladder. With both the M1 and M25 within easy reach and good transport links from the Langley rail station, this neighbourhood offers easy commuting links to London and larger surrounding cities.
Watford Crime Rates
Within the Watford postcodes, there is an average of 27.2 crimes reported per 1000 people per year, which gives Watford a crime rate of 27.2. This is particularly low considering the national average for England and Wales in 2019/2020 was 102.8.
Schools in Watford
There are 6 schools that cater for the children of Watford that received an Outstanding mark from Ofstead one of which is located in one of the most sought after neighbourhoods in Watford, Nascot Wood Junior School.
Find a list all Watford Primary School here: https://www.locrating.com/the-best-Primary-schools-in-Watford_Hertfordshire_England.aspx
There are a fair few upper schools for children aged 11-18 that offer secondary education, most of which have received a good rating from Ofstead.
There are two grammar schools in Watford, Watford Grammar School for Girls and Watford Grammar School from Boys. Both schools received an outstanding rating from Ofstead and offer a higher level of education for children aged 11-18. To gain admission to either of these grammar schools, you child will have to undertake the admissions test or apply for a specialist place on merit.
Based 20 minutes away in neighbouring Hatfield, the University of Hertfordshire ranks 41st amongst the UK’s universities and is ranked 84th out of the worlds top 100 universities. Situated across two campuses, College Lane and de Havilland, the university is home to over 25,130 students with more than 5000 of them international students who represent over 100 countries.
Getting Around Watford
Surrounded by the M1 and M25, with direct links to London and other larger cities, Watford is conveniently placed for only a short car journey to some of England’s hottest tourist spots.
The Metropolitan line of the underground services Watford meaning that London is only a 20 minute ride away, with tub trains running to Baker Street and Liverpool Street every 10 minutes.
Most of Watford’s biggest attractions are within walking distance from each other so you won’t find lots of buses running through Watford. However, all buses in Hertfordshire offer and Explorer Ticket (2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children) for £7 which gives the holder unlimited travel to all locations within the area.
Nightlife in Watford
If you are looking for a Watford bar crawl, look no further! We suggest starting at 1920s style speakeasy Bodega at the top of High Street and then staggering next door to 143 Bar Watford where not only will you find the best music in town (a mixture of funk, disco, modern day house and even a little bit of garage) but also a vast selection of cocktails which are sure to end your night well.
Watford is also home to national favourites such as a Weatherspoons (The Columbia Press) and Faborje bar and Grill.
Another national favourite can be found here, the popular nightclub Pryzm is the hotspot for the most up to date music and features a Saturday Night Fever dance floor where all of the local students tend to frequent to bust out some dance moves.
If you are more old school and are looking for the ultimate tunes of the 80s and 90s and want to sing along to all of your guilt favourites, Reflex may be the place for you. A retro favourite to the locals, Reflex is the place to be if you love all the 90s girl and boy bands.
If the club scene isn’t really your thing but you still want to have a good time, The Twisted Money is the alternative for you. With bar games, ping pong tables, hipster craft beer and a live DJ that is more than happy to take requests, dance the night away at this cooler, more relaxed experience.
Entertainment in Watford
Watford Palace Theatre
A stunning 600 seat Edwardian theatre which is the heart and soul of Watford, offering a range of plays, musicals, dances, and open air festivals in which to encourage community spirit. Standing since 1908, the theatre has evolved from a simple music hall into a nationally recognised producing house of the arts.
Standing since 1881, Watford FC found fame in when then manager Graham Taylor raised the team to victory gaining second place in the First Division, competing in the FA Cup Final and entering the UEFA Cup. An interesting fact is that the hornets, as they are affectionately known by local fans, had Sir Elton John as their club chairman in the 70s.
A modern 11-screen cinema complex showing all the latest Hollywood films, home to Hollywood Bowl and a soft play centre, at the Watford Vue there is something to entertain the entire family.
Shopping in Watford
Watford is ranked within the top 20 of CACI’s national retail rankings and offers a wide range of shopping outlets for all of the family to enjoy. The Intu Shopping Centre has recently seen a £180 million extension to boost the retail experience in Watford, where you can now find leisure activities such as the cinema and dining to create an immersive experience.
Leisure in Watford
There are 2 leisure centres within Watford, Watford Central Leisure Centre and Woodside Leisure Centre.
Watford Central Leisure Centre
With gym facilities, fitness studios, a swimming pool, sauna and steam room, this leisure centre holds a vast number of activities and classes for all age ranges to enjoy. From Pilates to cross fit to swimming lessons, all fitness and wellbeing can be satisfied here!
Woodside Leisure Centre
With a gym, group cycling studio, swimming pool and football pitch to hire, the Woodside Leisure Centre is a great place to work out, relax or even hold a birthday party. As a multi-functional community space, there is always something new to try or do.
Watford Must Sees
Harry Potter World
Whether you’re a fan of the films or of the books, Harry Potter World is a magical and unforgettable experience. Be transported into the wizarding world as you walk amongst the film sets of one of the most successful film franchises of all time. Walk through the great hall and find out what special effects made the candles float or take a stroll through the dark forest where you might encounter a mystical creature. The immersive experience is a must for the whole family and lasts about three hours, and although the tickets aren’t cheap it is well worth the muggle money.
If you are a football fanatic or a part of the Elton John Rocket Club, the Watford museum is home to everything from fine art to 70s memorabilia and is sure to be an entertaining day for the whole family.
Staying Overnight in Watford
A recipient of Travellers Choice 2021, Jurys Inn has over 2000 reviews on Trip Advisor and a 4 star rating. Newly refurbished with modern rooms and comfortable beds, the hotel is centrally located with the Watford train station only an 8 minute walk away. Find over 100 restaurants and 21 attractions within a 5 minute walk including the heart of Watford, the Watford Palace Theatre.
Holiday Inn London – Watford Junction
A popular and well known hotel chain offering a decent night’s sleep to both professional and leisure travellers alike, the Holiday Inn London offers easy access not only to the train station for easy trips to London Euston but also is only a short walk away from popular retail outlets and shopping. With 4.5 stars on Trip Advisor, the hotel is modestly priced and suitable for all ages.
Premier Inn Watford Central
Another well known hotel brand that is recognised for affordability and comfort, the Premier Inn is family oriented and is a perfect place to stay if you are looking for a little R&R. Central to the main high street in Watford, there are a multitude of amenities within easy walking distance.
Where are the best places to eat in Watford?
- Tarboush Lebanese & Mediterranean Cuisine
- Las Iguanas Watford
- Derwish Restaurant
- The Prince George
- Indian Sizzler
- St James Restaurant
- Zara Bushey
- The Authentic Thai Cuisine at The Nascot Arms Watford
Top 10 Things to do in Watford
- Cassiobury Park
- Bhakivedanta Manor
- Cheslyn House & Garden
- Vicarage Road Stadium
- Watford Palace Theatre
- The Forties Experience
- Watford Colosseum
- Oxhey Woods
- The Gallery, Watford Football Club
- Intu Watford
What is the closest airport to Watford?
At only 40 minutes by train away the closest airport to Watford is London Luton, however due to the restrictions on flight availability and destinations the preferred airport is London Heathrow which is only another 19 minutes further than London Luton and can be reached by via London Paddington, Paddington Station and Queen’s Park Station.
Where is the hospital in Watford?
Watford General Hospital is located on Vicarage Road in Watford and is operated by West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.