Guidebook: Seeing St. Albans

Getting there: Nonstop from LAX to London, which is about 20 miles from St. Albans, is available on British Airways, American, United, Virgin and Air New Zealand; direct service is available on Continental; and connecting service (change of planes) is offered on Northwest. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $984.

St. Albans is easy to reach by road or rail. It is close to the M1 and M25 motorways, and there are bus services from Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick airports. There is also a direct train from Gatwick. For day-trippers from London, trains run from King's Cross Thameslink to St. Albans throughout the day.

Telephones: To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 44 (country code for England), 1727 (area code) and the local number.

Where to stay: St. Albans has a range of accommodations. Rooms are available in some pubs, including the 19th century Black Lion Inn, 36 Fishpool St.; 851-786, fax 859-243,, where rates for two start at about $92 a night.

Comfort Inn St. Albans, Ryder House, Holywell Hill, 848-849, fax 812-210,, provides midrange lodgings, with rooms for two starting at about $106.

Sopwell House Hotel, Country Club & Spa, Cottonmill Lane, Sopwell, St. Albans; 864-477, fax 845-636,, is a four-star hotel where rooms for two start at $222.

Where to eat: Visitors would find it hard to go hungry in St. Albans, which is home to dozens of fast-food outlets, midpriced eateries and restaurants. The Café at the Abbey, in the abbey's chapter-house refectory, 860-780, serves refreshments, snacks and light lunches for less than $7.50 from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 2:30-5 p.m. Sunday.

The Garibaldi pub, 61 Albert St., 855-046, serves Sunday lunches for less than $10 and caters to vegetarians.

A gourmet English meal can be enjoyed at Upstairs Downstairs, across from the clock tower at 1 Waxhouse Gate, 854-843. A three-course meal here, including hare casserole and steamed treacle pudding, starts at less than $30.

Pubs: Black Lion Inn (see above); Blue Anchor, 145 Fishpool St., 855-038; Fleur de Lys, 1 French Row, 851-439; Rose & Crown, 10 St. Michaels St., 851-903; Six Bells, 16-18 St. Michaels St., 856-945; Tudor Tavern, 28 George St., 853-233; White Hart, 23-25 Holywell Hill, 853-624; Ye Old Fighting Cocks, 16 Abbey Mill Lane, 869-152.

For more information: Visitors should start their trip at the Tourist & Information Centre in the old town hall building, Market Place, 864-511, fax 863-533, for the latest information on events and attractions. You also can visit for an introduction to the town.

For general information, British Tourist Authority, 551 Fifth Ave., Suite 701, New York, NY 10176; (800) GO-2-BRITAIN (462-2748),

John Lee