Hitchin is a mediaeval market town which has managed to retain the majority of its buildings and avoid the worst the 20th century had to offer: it hasn't had its mediaeval layout savaged by dual carriageways, nor has its centre been obliterated by malls. Whilst it has representatives of some of the major chains, it has many specialist shops, some of which have been here since the 19th century and some even from the 18th.

Hitchin was recently described in the Sunday Times as in the top 10 best places to live in England.