As a former resident of North Hertfordshire (Letchworth and Hitchin), I’m legally entitled to make fun of the area, but also to defend Stevenage if I want to.
Stevenage is still a better pub town than the two Garden City monstrosities, who feature extensively in this classic picture;
Mrs RM does her mystical “computer stuff” in the centre of Welwyn Garden City, and the merits of WGC remain one of the few areas of marital disagreement. The proximity of the giant John Lewis to her office does not count as a merit in my book.
It’s dreary, it really is*. Spick and span, maybe, but with no buildings or art of note. The main tourist attraction was the smell from the Weetabix factory, but that closed in 2008. There must be a plaque commemorating Nick Faldo in the shopping centre but I’ll let you find that.
You won’t find much independent business, but the town now has the holy trinity of Cote, Zizzi and Pizza Express.
The centre has three pubs, the scariest of which is attached to Mrs RM’s office.
In October 2011 I had a 3 hour meeting about strategy (No. 765) with NHS folk in a meeting in the office in the top right corner. A room built for 12 had 28 squeezed into it. I nearly jumped.
Underneath that office, the Parkway Bar looks worse inside than out, and bizarrely Mrs RM has still to visit it. I urge North Herts CAMRA to overlook the lack of cask and vote it into the next GBG so Simon and I have to visit. Perhaps I could leave a bottle of White Shield in there to make it eligible ?
Round the corner is the Welwyn wine bar, now called Two Willows as Hawkins & Co didn’t seem hipster enough. A look past the posing tables revealed a craft line-up of Atlantic, UBU and Hobgoblin. This one is very proud of its starring role in The World’s End.
In case you wondered, their craft list includes Blue Moon, Budvar and Erdinger.
Which leaves just the usual Greene King eatery. Open at 10am for folk who really want a Wetherspoons (“yes we serve beer at 10am“) and with a welcome for dogs (top), it was actually better than OK, a minor miracle for WGC. In the Doctor’s Orders you’ll find this enticing line-up;
Welwyn GC hasn’t had a Beer Guide entry in my 25 years of doing the GBG, but the IPA Reserve was very fine indeed as a breakfast beer (NBSS 3.5). Perhaps Greene King’s finest beer too.
In the suburbs there’s a newish Marstons, a Beefeater and an Ember. Just my luck if someone votes the Ember into the Guide.
*I’ve toned this down under sufferance.