According to the Office of National Statistics, Watford has previously been ranked as the happiest place to live in East England. With a buzzing centre, plenty of surrounding green spaces, a wide variety of entertainment and eateries, plus excellent travel connections, it’s easy to see why Watford puts a smile on its residents’ faces. If you’re considering joining the happy brigade by moving to Watford, read on to learn about this Hertfordshire town.
A brief history of Watford
The emergence of the Grand Junction Canal and the London and Birmingham Railway in the late 18th and early 19th centuries saw Watford’s population grow considerably. With more businesses opening and rapid expansion, Watford became an urban district under the Local Government Act 1894 and a municipal borough by grant of a charter in 1922.
Where is Watford
Watford is a town and borough in Hertfordshire. It sits on the River Clone and is just 15 miles northwest of central London. Easy access to the M1 means it offers direct access to towards the north, including Milton Keynes, Derby, Nottingham, Leeds and Sheffield.
Moving to Watford
Many people move to Watford because of its proximity to London. The town has more affordable houses than the capital, with popular areas including Nascot Wood, Abbots Langley and Leavesden.
Buying in Watford
The average sold price in Watford is £455,504, which is considerably higher than the UK national average of £329,547. Expect to pay an average of £830,133 for a detached home, £406,486 for a terraced house and £268,437 for an apartment.
There’s a varied selection of estate and letting agents in Watford, with chain and independent options available to help you find a home.
Renting in Watford
One-bedroom homes rent for an average of £1,100 per month in Watford, with two-bedroom properties fetching in the region of £1,550 per month. For larger homes, expect to pay an average of £2,000 per month.
Cost of living
If you’re moving to Watford, you can expect to pay similar prices to the UK national average for everyday living. A meal for one person is around £15, while a cappuccino and a pint of milk cost about £2.75 and 90p respectively.
Utility bills are higher than the national average (UK average £155) in Watford, at around £173 per month for electricity, heating, cooling, water and waste disposal. Expect to pay around £30 per month for broadband.
Living in Watford
There is no shortage of parks in Watford. Garston Park is a half park, half local nature reserve, while Cassiobury Park offers 90 acres of space and has a Green Flag award. Watford is also surrounded by the Hertfordshire countryside and is on the edge of The Chilterns, meaning you’re never far away from getting back to nature.
Watford boasts excellent travel links, with services into London and Birmingham, as well as other areas. It sits in Zone 7 of the London Fare Zone and has three local rail stations, two overground lines and a tube stop on the Metropolitan Line.
You will find plenty of shops in Watford, from high-street retailers to independent businesses. Atria Watford is a shopping centre located in the middle and has a popular Lego shop, while the high street also has a mix of stores, including independents and known brands.
Grab a bite in one of the many restaurants, whether you’re after flame-grilled Latin American dishes or spending some time enjoying pizza and pasta. There are also many coffee shops, where you can also stop by for brunch.
Watford is well known for its lively nightlife, and you won’t be short of finding pubs, bars and clubs to enjoy the evening. Many clubbers coming from out of town for the high-tech sounds and regular themed dance events. Some bars are known for its funky artwork, industrial settings and cocktail list.
Art & culture
Head to Watford Museum, which is housed in a Grade-II listed building and offers a deep dive into the town’s local history. Watford Palace Theatre is also worth a visit for its varied performances in comedy, drama and music. The Watford Colosseum is a popular spot for performances and gigs, although it’s currently closed for refurbishment until 2023
Things to do
The Warner Bros Studio Tour is a must for any Harry Potter fan wanting to indulge in all things Hogwarts. While sports enthusiasts should go and watch Watford play at Vicarage Road: the team currently plays in the second tier of English football and often appears in the Premier League.
What’s not to like?
Watford might be outside of London, but it very much feels like a neighbourhood in the city. For anyone looking for the rural life, Watford might be a tad too busy.
Who lives there?
Watford has a population of more than 96,000 and a median age of 36.
Typical broadband speeds
The average broadband speed is 133mbps in Watford, which is much higher than the UK national average of 67mbps.
The overall crime rate in Watford averages around 56 crimes per 1,000 people.
Moving to Watford
Move iQ’s property report provides an in-depth analysis of specific properties as well as details about the local area of Watford. If you’re thinking of moving, make sure you get one first!
Last Updated: July 18th, 2022