St Albans is such a beautiful Hertfordshire market town. Everywhere you look there are pretty buildings, beautiful backdrops and gorgeous parks. It’s no surprise that everyone has their favourite park that they are fiercely loyal to! Often, I head to the same locations to do family photos for my clients so today I wanted to put a hidden gem out there for your consideration; The Sopwell Nunnery
You know I’m a huge fan of the parks, don’t get me wrong. If you haven’t read my post about my favourite five St Albans parks, then you can do that too. But if you’ve not ever been down to the Nunnery then you’re missing a trick.
A little bit of St Albans history
They are known as the Sopwell Nunnery locally but actually they are the ruins of Lee Hall.
Did you know that an advisor to Henry VIII used to live there and in 1540 after the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII granted the land to Sir Richard Lee who was an engineer, soldier and member of his court? Or other reports say that Lee bought the land. It’s hard to know!
He, in turn, demolished the nunnery and built Lee Hall on its foundations. The ruins you can still see today are the remains of the house that he built.
Prior to it being Lee Hall, it was known as Sopwell Priory and they think it was built around 1140 as part of the Benedictine abbot of St Albans Abbey.
Why the St Albans Nunnery is a great location for family photos
My son absolutely loves playing around the ruins. It gets his imagination into overdrive with who might have lived here, what the rooms might have been and so on! It gives you natural smiles, squeals and excitement for days!
Naturally, it’s absolutely beautiful of course and very typically St Albans in look, plus has some gorgeous greenery as a backdrop.
Compared to the big parks like Verulamium Park and others, which are often heaving on the weekends, it’s often very quiet, even at the weekends.
It’s a great place to walk to down the River Ver – you can access it easily from the Alban Way which makes for great exploring. Who doesn’t love that?!
How to find the Sopwell Nunnery
What3words location: ///feed.books.doll
Parking: on road
Things to do there: Not much apart from enjoy nature, the views and time with your family but what more do you need?!
Disabled access? Not ideal, there aren’t paths and the ground is uneven in places
Want to come join me for some family photos?
What do you think? Up for your next adventure? Ready for your close up?!
Happy outdoor exploring either way! I hope I’ve managed to introduce you to another little St Albans gem today.