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Things to do in Royston

Home > Hertfordshire > Architecture | Day Trips | Escape the City
by David Dingwall (subscribe)
A civil servant by day who has a passion for exploring what Great Britain has to offer in my spare time.
Published October 11th 2014
Discovering an often overlooked market town in Hertfordshire
Royston is a town which has an unfortunate tendency to be neglected by scores of people hurrying their way between London and Cambridge. And yet Royston offers plenty of interest to the visitor or passer-by if one is prepared to stop and explore!

The town is easily accessible either by road or by train with regular services operating between London and Cambridge by Great Northern.

Royston High Street
Royston High Street late on a Sunday afternoon

A row of just some of the historic buildings in Royston

Royston was a favourite place of King James I for hunting, a sport he spent a lot of time indulging in! The King acquired a number of buildings in the town and many of them still survive.

King James' Palace (left) and the Buttery for the palace of King James I (right) on Kneesworth Street

Royston has a fine museum which is housed in a former congregational church schoolroom. The museum holds many artefacts connected with the towns' history as far back as the Ice Age and the Roman period.

A visit to Royston would not be complete without a visit to perhaps its most outstanding attraction. For that, you have to go underground. For nestled beneath the busy Melbourn Road is the Royston Cave. This is a man-made cave believed to date from 14th century and is notable for the wall carvings representing the Crucifixion, The Holy Family and several saints. This is the only cave of its kind known in Europe. Visitors can join guided tours of the cave on open days which last around 30-40 minutes. Please consult the website for details of opening times as these are limited to the spring and summer seasons. Photography is only permitted for personal use in the caves. For the benefit of Weekend Notes, on top of a barn above ground near to the entrance to the caves is an effigy of St. Catherine made in plaster which is a tribute to the carving of her in the caves.

St. Catherine

Royston is served with a wide variety of shops including some independent businesses. Additionally there is the market in Royston which takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you're looking for something to eat, there are a wide variety of restaurants. If you're looking for the traditional setting, then you might want to try The Old Bull Inn Hotel on the High Street. Palazzo on Kneesworth Street caters for Italian and Mediterranean cuisine and on Baldock Street you'll find Ashiana Spice. This is just a small selection of what to choose from.

Royston also benefits from an annual arts festival held during the last week of September and also supports the Royston Town Band which in 2014 celebrates its 150th anniversary.

You might want to spend some time relaxing or taking a stroll in the fine Priory Memorial Gardens. Situated beside the church of St. John the Baptist, this is a popular place for families and anyone of all ages to enjoy this well laid out space.

Royston's Priory Memorial Gardens

So next time you're in the area, I hope you'll be tempted to break your journey and stop for a while in Royston. You won't be disappointed.
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