Escape to the country, and while you’re at it, take a step back in time
Culture & Shopping
Okay, a move to Saffron Walden isn’t exactly time travel, but this rural market town retains an appreciation and affection for its past that coalesces nicely with the inevitable concessions to modern life.
Several examples of architecture from a bygone era remain in buildings still a working part of the town, but the culture of the place extends beyond this.
Most notably there are the Audley End House and Gardens, an English Heritage site and one of Essex’s grandest stately homes.
There is much to explore throughout the grounds, while the recently restored, working stables are one of many side attractions that help to make the home a place to enjoy and be proud of.
St Mary the Virgin Parish Church overlooks Saffron Walden, and as well as being the biggest of its kind in the county, also ranks among its most beautiful and grandly designed.
More humble, but equally significant parts of the town’s cultural life exist in the form of the Saffron Walden Museum, Fry Art Gallery and Saffron Screen cinema.
As has been the case for so long, the market remains a fundamental part of shopping in the town, with a variety of stalls selling everything you would hope and expect them too.
Sitting alongside established, nation-wide names such as Boots and Waitrose are several independent shops and boutiques ensuring that virtually all your needs are catered for while still providing a shopping experience different to your average high street.
Where to Eat
Perhaps a little unsurprisingly, Saffron Walden is home to a few traditional dining and drinking establishments you might expect of a rural town.
You have a 19th century, character rich pub like The Old English Gentleman as well as a quiet, elegant tea room like Kim's Tea and Coffee House, places in keeping with the general feel of the area.
There are more of this ilk that are suitable for a drink, a nice lunch or an evening out, but Saffron Walden does not stick solely to any stereotypes and provides variation to please of differing tastes.
The Gate is an atmospheric venue and the place to go for fine Italian food, while the Bangkok Thai restaurant naturally specialises in traditional dishes that are sure to prove favourable for those who enjoy their cuisine a tad more exotic.
Where to Live
The beautiful older buildings, houses and cottages so synonymous with Saffron Walden are naturally focused more in the town’s centre, and will cost a pretty penny located right at the town’s heart. Beyond that there are still options for those looking for a more traditional home, as well as more affordable suburban estate options.
Saffron Walden County High School is the town’s main secondary and sixth form establishment and has a growing reputation as the school goes from strength to strength. There is little to separate the area’s very well regarded primary schools, with RA Butler Junior, Katherine Semar Junior and St Thomas More Catholic Primary among the pick of some good options for children under the age of 11.
National Express East Anglia Trains can be picked up at Audley End station, just a little way out the of Saffron Walden, from where London Liverpool Street is around an hour and Cambridge 20-25 minutes away. Both can be reached by road via the M11 while Stansted Airport is linked to the town by bus and rail.