What to see in Saffron Walden: Discover this beautiful and picturesque town. Today we are going to do a bit of tourism, first because we love it and secondly because it’s one of the destinations of our one-week language trips. We are going to discover what to see in Saffron Walden and fall in love with this charming medieval town. The best way to learn English is by travelling to England and here at Nathalie Language Experiences, we make it very easy for you. Do you want to discover one of the most beautiful places to visit? Keep reading.
Saffron Walden is a town in northwest Essex, just 15 miles south of Cambridge. Discover a town with roots all the way back to Roman times, which retains all its rural charm and whose name means saffron in English. It has a rich heritage of old buildings, an emblematic market, an interesting museum and a beautiful Victorian garden among other attractions.
1.Audely End House
We’re starting this journey on what to see in Saffron Walden with this impressive historic mansion located on the outskirts of town. It’s one of the best Jacobean places in England, and without a doubt, a must see if you’re in Essex.
We can think of nothing better than spending a day exploring Audley House and Gardens, in the enclosure you will find an orchard, stables, service rooms and discover the beauty and intricate detailed decorations of an early 17th century house.
Travel back in time and experience what life was like in a Victorian mansion. Now’s your chance.
2.Saffron Walden Museum
It’s a museum of special interest in Saffron Walden. A small but exciting space that was opened in 1835 and that treasures within its walls the history of North West Essex, from ancient times to the present, although it also preserves exhibits from the rest of the world.
The exhibited collections are varied, they range from mammoth tusks to mummies to antique furniture.
One of the most attractive exhibits is a rare Tudor-era floor cabinet with relief portraits of its owners, a four poster-bed, and a series of carved lion heads. It’s a very peculiar museum that also seems like a natural history gallery.
On the outside of the museum are the remains of the keep, which dates back to the 12th century.
3.Bridge End Garden
If you’re still wondering what to see in Saffron Walden, you can’t miss this garden. It’s a real gem and a place which brings a lot of charm to the north of the town. It’s a group of seven interconnected gardens, very close to the Fry Art Gallery.
Through careful restoration, typical Victorian-era gardening techniques and designs have been replicated, resulting in a beautiful setting. This garden also contains a hedge maze, a great attraction for children, and a beautiful vegetable garden.
Your tour of Saffron Walden must include the ruins of this 12th century castle. It was built at the beginning of the civil war known as Anarchy by Geoffrey Mandeville, between 1141 and 1143. It was built to reinforce Mandeville’s power throughout the region, and stood at a key natural point in the town.
Geoffrey Mandeville was arrested by King Stephen in 1143 and ordered to hand over his property, including his castle. Shortly thereafter, once Geoffrey was released, he went against this agreement and began a military campaign against the king’s strongholds in Cambridgeshire in a failed attempt to free the route South to Saffron Walden. Geoffrey died during a siege later that year, without having claimed Walden.
The streets of Saffron Walden are shaped by the outline of Castle Bailey. Only the ruined core of the castle remains, and sadly most of the stones have been stolen over the centuries.
We recommend that you visit here and reminisce about the English medieval era. Only the vestiges and fortresses remain, but it’s still somewhere worth visiting. In addition, the landscape that make up its ruins are really beautiful.
5.Saffron Walden Market
One of the important parts of this town is its well-known market. In the centre of Saffron Walden, characterised by its medieval architecture and busy square, its traditional market has been celebrated since 1141.
If you’re passing through, stop by on Tuesday and Saturday and enjoy a very special day. Saffron Walden comes to life when street performers, farmers and townspeople flock to the market for their weekly shopping. Taste the local products, have a coffee and observe the peculiar activity of each of its shops.
6.The Turf Maze
If you’re still wondering what to see is Saffron Walden, you have to make a stop here, at this extraordinary maze of grass that is almost 8 centuries old. It’s actually the largest in the world. Although numerous renovations have been carried out, the route drawn by the labyrinth has remained the same since its creation.
People have a great time touring The Turf Maze, following the path through the lawn, which winds about a mile within a 100-foot diameter circle.
Children will love this town. This labyrinth and others that are hidden like the one found inside Bridge End Garden, are beautiful. Enjoy the visit, and don’t get lost!
7.Audley End Miniature Railway
Do you want to have a fun afternoon? This plan is perfect for children. This miniature railway is located opposite Audley End House.
It was first opened in 1964 and today, this 10 ¼ inch train runs on a 1.5-mile course that takes an enchanting trip through the forest.
All the children enjoy watching this tiny train and finding the stuffed animals hidden in the garden. For adults, this visit is nostalgic, you have the chance to remember your childhood.
8.St Mary’s Church
Now, it’s time to learn about this wonderful parish Church, which is the largest in the county of Essex. It’s 183 feet long and the spire is193 feet high.
This site was home to a Norman wooden church from 1130, however St Mary’s Church as we know it today was built between 1250 and 1258. Its perpendicular shape was due to another work that began in 1450 and was supervised by Johan Watsell, the same teacher responsible for the construction of King’s College Chapel, near Cambridge.
9.Fry Art Gallery
It was built in 1856 by Francis Gibson to house his personal art collection and was later inherited by his daughter Elizabeth Fry. Since its opening in 1987, it has housed works by artists who settled in Essex in the 1930’s.
There is an impressive and extensive number of prints, illustrations, painting, murals and decorative designs by artists of the 20th century and today, with local connections and who have made a significant contribution to their field.
Particular emphasis is placed on those artists who settled in Great Bardfield between the early years of the last century and death of John Aldridge, who lived in Saffron Walden for fifty years, in 1983.
John Aldridge was a leading oil painter, draftsman, mural designer, and renowned art professor in the UK, turned royal scholar in 1963.
It’s a very special museum run entirely by volunteers. It’s one of the best ways to meet local talent.
So here is our short tour of what to see in Saffron Walden. If you are interested in learning about other places that you can stay in on one of our language trips, read this post about Whitstable, Canterbury and Oxford.