Hertford is an attractive historic town of Saxon origin; the first church synod was held in here in 673. Following the Norman Conquest a fortification was built then the site was further expanded to provide a castle serving as a royal palace and hunting lodge during the Plantagenet era.


The town lies at the confluence of four small rivers at the northern navigable limit of the Lee Navigation. The centre retains its medieval street pattern but the rest of the road layout is constrained by the green fingers of land (mainly flood plains) penetrating the townscape. There are two railway stations with separate links to London and the major A414 east-west route passes close to its centre. 


It is the county town of Hertfordshire lying within the Hertford and Stortford parliamentary constituency, and within East Herts District; the county and district council offices are located within its boundaries.


It no longer has any significant manufacturing industry and has been subjected to little of the major retail and commercial development that other similarly sized towns have experienced. 

There is a significant night time economy of restaurants, bars, clubs, pubs, and cafes not found in such numbers in surrounding towns.


Hertford has 3 Grade I Listed Buildings, and over 140 Grade II Listed Buildings.


It is home to some 27,000 residents and the average property price in June 2017 was £413,000 (London £582,000, Cambridgeshire £287,000).


It is surrounded by new towns at Harlow, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, and Stevenage and central London is only 25 miles to the south. Development around the edges is limited by the Green Belt.