Hemel Hempstead lies to the west of the county, and is one of Hertfordshire's 'New Towns'. It now benefits from the close proximity of the M1 and M25.
Hemel Hempstead is one of the new towns built after World War II to relieve London's chronic housing problems and overcrowding. Hemel Hempstead currently has a population of over 81,000 people.
There are many leisure facilities in Hemel Hempstead including the Leisure World Complex which comprises of a cinema, an ice rink, an extreme sports centre, restaurants and an athletics track.
Hemel Hempstead has a few retail parks around the outskirts of the town, but its main shopping centre is the Riverside Shopping centre, an open air shopping mall which provides many employment opportunities in the retail sector, housing shops such as Monsoon, Next and TK Maxx. Hemel Hempstead also boasts Marlowes Shopping Centre and Jarman Park. Hemel Hempstead has one of Hertfordshire's largest industrial and commercial areas within the area and is the home to many businesses in the town from accounting firms to bookkeepers. Kodak has made Hemel Hempstead their European headquarters.
The remains of a Roman villa can be found in Gadebridge Park near Picotts End, to the north-west of the old town. In the 19th Century the town of Hemel Hempstead was well known for the manufacture of paper and brick-making, amongst other things. Today industry is centred mainly on engineering, I.T and telecommunications. Banking firm HSBC has its head offices in the town, whilst other key companies with a presence in Hemel Hempstead include ASOS, BT, BP and 3Com.
The town is famous for its 'Magic Roundabout'. Built in 1973 to cope with the increased congestion as Hemel Hempstead grew, the roundabout allows traffic to go around in both directions.