Berkhamsted is a small, historic market town in the Chiltern Hills, which is located on the western edge of Hertfordshire, England. The town is 26 miles (40 km) northwest of London, and is in the Metropolitan Green Belt. Berkhamsted is a civil parish, with a Town Council in the borough of Dacorum. The small town of Tring and the large town of Hemel Hempstead are also in Dacorum.
Berkhamsted's most prominent time in national history was in early December 1066. After William the Conqueror defeated King Harold II of England's Anglo-Saxon army at the Battle of Hastings, the Anglo-Saxon leadership surrendered at Berkhamsted. The event was recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. From 1066 to 1495, Berkhamsted Castle was a favoured royal residence. It was occupied by English monarchs, queen consorts and other royals, including Edward, the Black Prince, royal favourites, and historical figures such as Thomas Becket and Geoffrey Chaucer. Colonel Daniel Axtell, born in Berkhamsted, was the captain of the Parliamentary Guard at the trial and execution of Charles I of England in 1649.
The oldest known existing urban jettied timber framed building in Great Britain, built between 1277–97, is among the Grade II buildings on the high street. Reviewing the town's high street, the Academy of Urbanism said in November 2014, "It would appear that, by any measure, Berkhamsted is a successful town." The town is also home to the British Film Institute's BFI National Archive at King's Hill, one of the largest film and television archives in the world, which was endowed by J. Paul Getty, Jr.