Although it’s close to the busier cities of Cambridge and London, the quaint market town of Saffron Walden has managed to maintain all of its rural charm. The historic village with roots in the Roman era is situated in the heart of Essex County. Saffron Walden’s compact village center is characterized by medieval architecture and a lively square that is the site of the popular Saffron Walden market.
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries Saffron Walden was home to many British nobles and today their homes and gardens have become some of the region’s most popular attractions. Spend a day exploring Audley End House and Gardens where you can meet the resident horses, see the operating kitchen garden and admire the intricate details used to decorate the manor’s interior. Take the kids to the nearby Audley End Miniature Railway for an afternoon of fun. Stop by Bridge End Garden where there are seven ornamental gardens and a hedge maze. You can enjoy outdoor activities year-round in Saffron Walden as the town is located in one of the driest regions of Britain.
Visit Walden Castle for some fascinating medieval history. Although only ruins of the castle remain, this is still a site worth visiting if you want to learn about one of the oldest buildings in the region and photograph the interesting scenes created by the ruins.
The beautiful Market Place hosts a market each Tuesday and Saturday and a visit to the town should be timed so you can attend at least one of the market days. Saffron Walden comes alive as buskers, local farmers and the townspeople mingle and buy their weekly produce. Sample local fruit and vegetables, or pull up a chair at one of the cafés and restaurants that line the square to watch the day unfold.
Saffron Walden can be reached from London in just over an hour by car or by train via the Audley End railway station. Most accommodation is located in the village center.