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Watford is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England, situated 17 miles (27 km) northwest of central London and inside the circumference of the M25 motorway. Now a fine public park, Cassiobury Park, was once the manor estate of the Earls of Essex. Watford Football Club play in the Football League Championship which is the second-highest level of football in Great Britain.
 

The town developed from an Anglo-Saxon settlement between a ford of the River Colne and the crossroads of two ancient tracks. St Albans Abbey claimed rights to the manor of Cashio, which included Watford. The parish church of St Mary the Virgin was built in 1230 on the same site as an earlier Saxon church, along with stalls for a weekly market.[4] The town grew modestly - assisted by travellers passing through to Berkhamsted Castle and the royal palace at Kings Langley, with the main developments being the 17th-century houses of Cassiobury and The Grove. The coming of the Grand Junction Canal in 1798 and the London and Birmingham Railway in 1837 allowed the town to grow faster, with paper-making mills, such as John Dickinson and Co. at Croxley, influencing the development of printing in the town which continues today. Two industrial scale brewers Benskins and Sedgwicks flourished in the town until their closure in the late 20th century. Today, Watford is a major regional centre for the northern home counties. Hertfordshire County Council designates Watford, along with Stevenage, to be its major sub-regional centre. The town contains the head offices of a number of national companies such as J D Wetherspoon; Camelot Group, operator of the National Lottery; construction firm Taylor Woodrow; and Mothercare; and is also the UK base of various multi-nationals including Total Oil, TK Maxx, and Costco. International golf tournaments such as the 2006 World Golf Championship have taken place at the Grove hotel.

Watford was created as an urban district under the Local Government Act 1894, and became a municipal borough by grant of a charter in 1922. The borough had 90,301 inhabitants at the time of the 2011 census. The borough is separated from Greater London to the south by the urbanised parish of Watford Rural in the Three Rivers District. The Watford subdivision of the Greater London Urban Area, which includes much of the neighbouring districts, had a total population of 120,960 in the 2001 census. Watford Borough Council is the local authority, with a directly elected mayor as head. The Mayor of Watford is one of only 17 directly elected mayors in England; Dorothy Thornhill has been the mayor since the directly elected system was set up in May 2002, and is both the first Liberal Democrat and first female directly elected mayor in the United Kingdom. Watford elects one Member of Parliament (MP) for the Watford constituency. Prior to the establishment of this constituency in 1885 the area was part of the three seat constituency of Hertfordshire.

Road
Watford is close to strategic roads – the M25 motorway that rings London and the M1 motorway that connects London to the Midlands and northern England.

Bus
Watford is served by buses which link it to the wider surrounding area. These are operated by a number of different companies, including Arriva Shires & Essex, Arriva London, Uno, Red Rose Travel, Carousel, Mullany's Buses, Redline Buses and Tiger Line. Although the town is in close proximity to London, the majority of buses do not accept TFL's Oyster Card as a valid method of payment; however PlusBus, Intalink Explorer and Hertfordshire SaverCard is accepted on all but the London Bus routes.

Rail
 

Central Watford is served by 3 railway stations and a Tube station. One of the principal National Rail north-south rail routes, the West Coast Main Line, passes through Watford. Trains on this line run from London Euston to the English Midlands, North-West England and Scotland, and some long-distance trains on this route serve Watford Junction. The station is mainly served by frequent suburban and regional trains operated by London Midland which run to Tring and Milton Keynes and the cross-London Southern service to Clapham Junction via Shepherd's Bush. Two all-stations services terminate at Watford Junction: the suburban metro service operated by London Overground which runs to Euston; and the London Midland shuttle train via the Abbey Line to St Albans Abbey.

 

The London Overground service from Watford Junction runs south via a suburban loop and stops at the closest station to Watford town centre, Watford High Street, before continuing via Bushey via the Watford DC Line to London Euston. Watford North railway station is the first stop on the northbound Abbey Line, serving the suburban area of North Watford.

 

In the west of the town, Watford Met is currently the terminus of the Watford branch of London Underground's Metropolitan Line at the outer north-western boundary of the Tube system. The station is located outside the centre of Watford, close to Cassiobury Park.