About Stevenage

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Developed initially to relieve overcrowding in post-war London, nowadays the town of Stevenage is so much more than just another link in the capital's commuter belt.

The first place in Britain to have a fully pedestrianised town centre, Stevenage is still an important retail area to this day: the high street offers the usual array of big name brands - as does the large out-of-town Westgate centre - alongside smaller, independent retailers.

Running through the heart of the town is the Fairlands Valley Park, an idyllic stretch of parkland featuring extensive woodland, several lakes, children's play areas, plenty of fishing spots and a wildfowl reserve. The park is open all year and lends the town centre a more rural feel than it would otherwise have.

Near to Stevenage station is the town's main leisure and sports complex which houses all sorts of activities from racket-sports to basketball - The Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre. Contained within the building, however, are some quite unexpected things - an acclaimed theatre and a contemporary art gallery.

The Boxfield Gallery, as it is known, exhibits the works of cutting-edge artists, photographers and sculptors from the local region and around the world. Also nearby is the Stevenage Leisure Park, with its multiplex cinema, bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

Although the town doesn't immediately appear to have much in the way of industry, there are a number of major players in Stevenage: BAe Systems - the aerospace manufacturer - has had a presence there for years and was the town's biggest employer, until the arrival of pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline.