Welwyn Garden City was founded by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the 1920s following his previous experiment in Letchworth Garden City. Howard had called for the creation of planned towns that were to combine the benefits of the city and the countryside and to avoid the disadvantages of both. .
The town is laid out along tree-lined boulevards with a neo-Georgian town centre. It has its own environmental protection legislation, the Scheme of Management for Welwyn Garden City.
Every road has a wide grass verge. The spine of the town is Parkway, a central mall or scenic parkway, almost a mile long. The view along Parkway to the south was once described as one of the world's finest urban vistas.
The original planners intended that all the residents of the garden city would shop in one shop and created the Welwyn Stores, taken over in 1984 by the John Lewis Partnership. A shopping mall, the Howard Centre, was built in the 1980s, incorporating the original railway station.
In addition there is a sports centre, The Gosling Sports Centre, with a dry ski slope, golf driving range, indoor and outdoor tennis, squash, football pitches, an athletics track, a gym and bowls. There is an airfield at Panshanger, currently used by the North London Flying School.
The King George V playing field, on the boundary of the old Hatfield Hyde village, was once used by the England football team for training. There are three golf courses: Panshanger, owned and operated by the borough council, Mill Green Golf Course located in Gypsy Lane and the Welwyn Garden City Golf Club, of which Nick Faldo was once a member.
The Stanborough Park and lakes was the venue for a free annual Water Carnival and firework display and a November 5 fireworks display, both of which attracted large crowds from great distances.
Roman Baths are preserved in a steel vault underneath junction 6 of the A1(M) and are open to visitors.
There is a minor accident emergency centre based at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital.