Hemel Hempstead is one of the New Towns built after the Second World War to solve London's housing problems. Hemel Hempstead sits 25 miles north of the capital, not far from the junction of the M1 and M25 motorways. You can get there by train from London's Euston terminal, by narrow boat on the Grand Union Canal, or via the M1 and m25, amongst other routes.
Everyone passes through Hemel1 sooner or later, and in doing so they invariably come across the Magic Roundabout at the town's hub. Beloved of the locals (who are known as 'Hemeloids' by non-locals), the Magic Roundabout scares the hell out of visitors who are used to traffic being restricted to normal clockwise travel around ordinary roundabouts. Hemeloids will tell you that the Magic Roundabout is just a really big roundabout which goes both ways, served by half a dozen mini-roundabouts which only go clockwise, and it's really very simple. Everyone else will tell you to use the bypass, or better still to stay on the motorway you were on in the first place.
The other major feature in Hemel is the Leisure World complex at Jarman Park. Built on a landfill site, it comprises a cinema, bowling alley, swimming pool, ice rink, a couple of bars and two nightclubs next to a handy 24 hour supermarket and all the fast food you can afford. The car parks are decorated with tall metal poles each topped with a fan, which are intended to allow landfill gas to escape without causing an underground methane explosion.
Aside from Jarman Park and the town centre, Hemel comprises 14 neighbourhoods and most have some form of entertainment if you look hard enough, whether it's taking a curry in Boxmoor or protesting about the genetically modified oilseed rape crop in Piccotts End.
Leverstock Green, which sits on the outskirts of Hemel Hempstead, near the M1 turn-off, has a cricket village green with a couple of pubs by it. 'The Leather Bottle' is the nicest of the two. It's an old original tudor style pub, with lots of character. You can sit outside the front of the pub near the roadside in summer, opposite the green, but it doesn't have a garden.