I head down to George Street, an historic road built on a hill in the very heart of St Albans leading to the Cathedral and St Michaels. The sixteenth century Tudor buildings, crooked and overhanging, have survived the centuries and are well maintained, painted white with their original beams exposed.

 The small shops are perfectly proportioned and welcoming, and you feel as if you want to take your time and pop into every single one. There are several jewellers with sparkling shop windows displaying unique designs, and pretty fashion boutiques if you’re looking for something unique. I stop to look at the beautifully dressed mannequin in the bridal shop, modelling a striking ivory silk wedding gown, perfectly finished with beading and lace.

 Other small independent boutiques fill the street, from luxury home furnishings, to a gentleman’s grooming shop to a nail bar; but my favourite of all is L. A James, a little shop in the middle of the street that has been selling antiques for over 60 years, and still in its original state. The colourful window displays are jam-packed with fossils, unusually shaped crystals, framed Victorian mirrors, art deco table lamps and silver ornaments.

 The Victorian bell above the door chimes as soon as I cross the threshold. I feel as if I’ve stepped into a bygone era and am immediately drawn towards a glass cabinet filled with miniature figurines. The interior feels abundant with curiosities that make me want to explore. On the left wall are some unusual soft toys including a flamingo and a chihuahua, and along the right is a mahogany console table with an arrangement of curiosities like colourful glass vases, framed 19th century etchings and china tea sets.

 I leave the shop feeling satisfied, and as if I know all about antiques, then again, maybe not! As I head home back up the hill, the Cathedral bells are ringing. I need no further reminder that I am no longer living a big city life and smile to myself.