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Ace of Lanes, Nando’s and the cricket club – three of my 10 (well, almost) favourite places in Bishop’s Stortford





On the first morning of her three-day work experience placement at the Indie, Herts and Essex High School A-level student Liv Stokely was tasked with writing an article about her 10 favourite places in Bishop’s Stortford as a teenage resident of the town

Unfortunately, this article was written under false pretences. As the headline suggests, it was supposed to be a feature on my top 10 places in Stortford.

However, I got to eight and I couldn’t think of any more. But who needs a 9 and a 10 when you have these…

Pasticceria di Leo – “the best spot for coffee in Stortford”
Pasticceria di Leo – “the best spot for coffee in Stortford”

Pasticceria di Leo

This hidden gem, located in the heart of Florence Walk, is in my opinion the best spot for coffee in Stortford.

The wholesome, family-run patisserie produces a variety of unique and authentic Italian pastries, cakes and biscuits, as well as crepes and gelato.

Their menu is affordable, the staff are amicable and the café itself is the definition of aesthetic.

Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe – nowadys Liv only goes in with her younger siblings… or her dad!
Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe – nowadys Liv only goes in with her younger siblings… or her dad!

Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe

I can’t say I venture in here as often as I did when I was younger, but Mr Simms will always be the ‘shoppe’ in town that is full of nostalgic and fond memories from the earlier years of my childhood.

Though now I only go in with my younger siblings (or occasionally when my dad wants to), it is certainly a place that I will always have a soft spot for.

The first XI square at Bishop's Stortford Cricket Club
The first XI square at Bishop's Stortford Cricket Club

Bishop’s Stortford Cricket Club

Although I have never played a game of cricket in my life and have absolutely no hand-eye co-ordination, the cricket club is definitely one of my favourite places to go when the sun comes out.

The fear of being knocked out by a stray ball is overshadowed by the amusing and sociable atmosphere there in the summer months. It is definitely a great spot for friends and family of all ages.

Nando’s

Bishops Stortford’s general appeal as a town increased by at least 15% after the opening of Nando’s on the high street.

The prayers of every secondary school student in a two-mile radius had finally been answered: a restaurant that wasn’t Italian and a place to go on a half school day.

The connotations of Nando’s to me are seeing my friends and having a catch-up. Although it’s not a picturesque landmark, it is still up there with my favoured places.

Pircio – “the longest rendition of Happy Birthday known to man”
Pircio – “the longest rendition of Happy Birthday known to man”

Pircio

Although I’ve mentioned one restaurant already, I couldn’t possibly leave out Bishop’s Stortford’s main tourist attraction: everyone’s favourite Turkish/Italian eatery, Pircio.

If you thoroughly enjoy watching friends or family look like they would rather be swallowed up by the ground than sit with a massive birthday hat on, being sung the longest rendition of Happy Birthday known to man, by every waiter and customer, then Pircio is the perfect restaurant for you.

It is without doubt one of the most humorous and fun spots in Stortford.

Host at the Corn Exchange
Host at the Corn Exchange

Host Bar & Terrace

Host is by far the most eye-catching building in Stortford, architecturally, with its four giant Ionic columns and the beautiful terrace that was originally, back in the 1890s, a glass dome roof.

The history of the Corn Exchange building is also noteworthy, as, shortly after the Napoleonic Wars, it was used for trading grain.

Although the building itself is both fine-looking and impressive, the back story really tops it off and gives it even more character.

Ace of Lanes – “probably the most hygienic bowling alley in England” – and Empire cinema
Ace of Lanes – “probably the most hygienic bowling alley in England” – and Empire cinema

Ace of Lanes and Empire Cinema

Stortford, undoubtedly, has limited activities for teenagers. However, the Anchor Street leisure complex by the railway station, containing both the cinema and probably the nicest, and most hygienic, bowling alley in England, is the rare exception.

Both these spots are exhaustively enjoyed by children and adults alike. Conveniently, they are next door to each other and go hand in hand in creating weekend activities for friends and families.

Starbucks in Jackson Square – “where teenage girls gossip over a £5 Frappuccino that won’t even be finished”
Starbucks in Jackson Square – “where teenage girls gossip over a £5 Frappuccino that won’t even be finished”

Starbucks

I sent out a plea to my friends, asking them for their favourite places in Stortford, and a large quantity of them responded with the Jackson Square branch of this global coffee house chain.

Although I am not surprised, I know other people will be. Starbucks is overpriced with mediocre coffee, you’re probably thinking, and I agree.

However, it is where teenage girls have been known to bond, gossiping over a £5 Frappuccino that won’t even be finished can actually be quite wholesome and heart-warming.

As this list clearly shows, Bishop’s Stortford is no central London when it comes to attractions, but nevertheless you can always find something to do. It’s the little things and the regular activities that make this town the place that most of us call home.

  • Liv Stokely, 17, is studying history, English literature, classical civilisation and GPR (global perspectives research)


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