Stevenage in Hertfordshire is perhaps best known as the first New Town to be developed as part of the country's recovery after WW2. In many ways a pioneering piece of town planning, it has a high proportion of green spaces, great transport links and a cycle network that rivals those in European towns. There are ambitious regeneration plans underway to bring the town, and the centre especially, back to the forefront of urban design.
Stevenage is easy to get around, with much more consideration for pedestrians and cyclists than you get in many other town centres. From the station, a footbridge connects you directly to a complex that's home to the Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre and the Gordon Craig Theatre.
Beyond this, you'll find most of the shops, including the Westgate and Forum shopping centres. North of the main town centre you'll find the Old Town, with the long High Street home to a range of smaller shops, pubs and restaurants. If you're looking for some rest and relaxation, or some space to get active, head for Fairlands Valley Park, a mile or so to the east of the town centre. It's 120 acres of park and woodland set around four lakes, with a sailing centre, playgrounds and cafe.
To get your fix of historical grandeur, take a trip to Knebworth House and Country Park, just two miles south of the town. Since the 1970s it has famous for hosting huge rock concerts, but it actually dates back to the 15th century - although most of what you see today is from the Victorian era in the Tudor Gothic style. In the grounds, there's an adventure playground and dinosaur trail to keep little visitors happy.