Royston in the North of Herfordshire, close to the boundary with Cambridgeshire, grew from the crossing of two ancient routeways; the Icknield Way and Ermine Street. The town's name derives from Roisia's Cross, a cross placed by the intersection of the two roads. By the 14th century the town had become known as Roisia's Town and Roiston.
There's good news for shoppers visiting Royston – it's free to park after 3pm.
Royston also boasts a Green Flag award for its Priory Gardens and award-winning toilets at Fish Hill.
One of the town's main attractions is its unique and fascinating cave which lies beneath the bustling town centre. Visitors climb down to discover an amazing cavern, intricately carved with religious and pagan symbols which may or may not be linked to the Knights Templar. It was rediscovered after a workman stumbled on the opening in 1742 but its origin and purpose remains keenly disputed.
Recent interest in the Knights Templar and the success of the Da Vinci Code book and film has made the cave even more popular. If you would like to visit the cave, it is open weekend afternoons from 2.30pm – 5pm and some Wednesdays from Easter until the end of September. For details look on the website www.roystoncave.co.uk or phone 01763 245484.
Royston has much to attract the modern visitor including a range of popular shops and some stunning historical buildings. Royston has a long history and gained its prominence from its position on the crossroads of Ermine Street and the Icknield Way. It is now on the main railway line to Kings Cross and close to the A505 and Cambridge. For more information visit www.enjoyhertfordshire.com
Royston Museum is home to the Royston Tapestry a project begun in 1992 depicting scenes from the town's past. It is an embroidery in the manner of the Bayeux Tapestry and will be 27 metres long when complete. Thirteen scenes have so far been completed.
5 Lower King Street www.roystonmuseum.org.uk (01763 242587) As depicted in this scene, King James 1 was very fond of Royston and built a palace there to use as a base for hunting. There is even a theory that links the king, the Masons and Royston Cave together.
Therfield Heath is a stunning open space on the edge of Royston, is the last flourish of the Chiltern Hills and is a great place for a walk. On a clear day you can see Ely Cathedral over twenty miles away.
As the name might imply, Hogg's Traditional Tea and Coffee House is an unpretentious affair. Located as it is in the historical Royston Corn Exchange on Market Hill it is its laid back approach to life that encourages customers to linger and soak up the wonderful ambience just that bit longer.
The business, run by Jane Howes and Sam Hogg. has built its reputation, not only on the distinctive quality of its coffee and range of teas, but just as much on its great value for money approach. All of the hot beverages are considerably more realistically priced than their multiple chain equivalents.
Then there's the very tempting array of sumptuous cakes, the majority of which are made on the premises, including Jane's very special recipe, Carrot Cake! Add to this an exciting range of hot meals for those that prefer something more filling, which could include free range three egg omelettes, bacon rolls, jacket potatoes, poached eggs; a selection of Paninis, and an interesting choice of sandwiches. Ingredients are locally sourced as far as it is possible.
Many of the regulars have been calling at the establishment for the entirety of the six years that ?the couple have been running the business, sometimes twice daily!
On warm days the large Courtyard outside is a veritable sun trap, encouraging friends to meet up and happily spend prime time together. Inside local photographer, Clive Porter, has set up a small studio of some of his popular work, covering a diversity of subjects, which is available for purchase and this section merges into a gift shop, which sells the celebrated Maxwell Williams Kitchen Ware.