Visit historic Saffron Walden and its unique maze heritage

Saffron Walden is a delightful medieval market town located in north-west Essex and just 15 miles to the south of Cambridge. It has a rich heritage of old buildings, including the magnificent Jacobian mansion Audley End House and Gardens and St Mary’s Church, the largest and one of the most beautiful parish churches in Essex. On the north side of town is Bridge End Garden, a restored Victorian garden of great charm, which contains a wonderful yew hedge maze and sunken Dutch Garden.
A market has been held here since 1141, and market days are now Tuesdays and Saturdays with shoppers enjoying browsing and buying goods from a variety of market stalls. Beyond the market place, there are many independent shops and eating places to choose from. 

Saffron Walden is a delightful medieval market town located in north-west Essex. It has a rich heritage of old buildings, including St Mary’s Church, the largest and one of the most beautiful parish churches in Essex. A market has been held here since 1141, and market days are now Tuesdays and Saturdays. Beyond the market place, there are many independent shops and eating places to choose from.

Discover Saffron Walden

Image of the Saffron Walden logo whic is a logo.
Visit the Saffron Walden website

Saffron Walden has many interesting historic buildings. At the heart lies St Mary’s Church, the largest parish church in Essex. Fine examples of elaborate moulded plasterwork (pargetting), can be seen on the Old Sun Inn and the houses in Castle Street & Bridge Street. Saffron Walden Museum is of particular interest. The collections are housed in one of the oldest purpose built museum buildings in the country, completed in 1835. It has everything from mammoth tusks to mummies, from an early Tudor bed to a natural history museum gallery. In the grounds of the museum are the ruins of the Castle keep which dates back to the 1130s or 40s.

Bridge End Garden is a real jewel and an environment of great charm on the north side of Saffron Walden. Careful restoration has replicated gardening techniques and designs typical of the Victorian era and brought the garden back to its full splendour. The hedge maze is of particular appeal to children. The path into the garden passes the Fry Art Gallery which houses a collection of works by a Great Bardfield group of artists who settled in the Essex countryside in the 1930s.

Saffron Walden has many interesting historic buildings. At the heart lies St Mary’s Church, the largest parish church in Essex. Saffron Walden Museum is of particular interest. The collections are housed in one of the oldest purpose built museum buildings in the country, completed in 1835. Bridge End Garden is a real jewel and an environment of great charm on the north side of Saffron Walden. Careful restoration has replicated gardening techniques and designs typical of the Victorian era and brought the garden back to its full splendour. The path into the garden passes the Fry Art Gallery which houses a collection of works by a Great Bardfield group of artists who settled in the Essex countryside in the 1930s.

Highlights of the area

Image of the front of Audey End House with the river and the green in the foreground.

Experience a real life period drama as you explore life above and below stairs at this decadent mansion. The authentic Victorian Service Wing, glorious gardens, Jacobean stable block and intricate interiors are all waiting to be discovered.

Image of the landscaped and hedged area of the garden.

Tucked away in the back streets of pretty Saffron Walden, this lovingly restored Grade II gem consists of seven interlinked gardens laid out in the nineteenth century, and features a formal knot garden, kitchen garden and a popular hedge maze.

Image of the outside of the building

Saffron Hall is an award-winning, 730-seat performance space within the grounds of Saffron Walden County High School. Saffron Hall hosts an annual season of concerts and events featuring local, national and international artists.

More highlights

PIcture of a miniature railway with people on.

A delightful 1.5-mile ride on Lord Braybrooke’s private 10.25” gauge track through the estate woodland. The children all enjoy looking out for the teddies that live in the woods, while the adults are reminded of a nostalgic era.

Exhibit of a mamouth in the background and its task in the foreground.

This award-winning, “friendly, family-size museum” opened in 1835. With wide-ranging collections covering the history of north-west Essex, from ancient times to the present day, and many other wonderful objects from the wider world.

Image of the interior of the gallery with people looking at the exhibitis.

Unique collection of work by 20th century artists who have lived in and around Great Bardfield and Saffron Walden including Edward Bawden, Michael Rothenstein, Eric Ravilious and others. Significant contemporary works demonstrating the area’s continuing artistic tradition.

More information

The Saffron Walden TIC staff are well known for helping visitors and residents alike with any questions they might have. They have won two years in a row the coveted award of being the best Tourist Information Centre in Essex. So if you need help or advice on where to go and what do do in the area, pop in and say hello.
Front of the Jacobean style building in an orange glow from the sunset.

Built by Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk to entertain King James I, Audley End is one of England's most magnificent stately homes. Enjoy over 30 lavishly decorated rooms interiors by Robert Adam and a wonderful collection of paintings and furnishings. Guide Richard Jessop takes you through the house and talks about its history.

Picture of a row of white timber-framed houses with pargetting.
During the Middle Ages the growth of the East Anglian cloth industry had an impact on the town. It became the major English centre for the production of the saffron crocus which was used to produce dye for the cloth trade, food colouring and medicine. Carolyn Wingfield, curator of Saffron Walden museum is talking about the town and the museum.

Explore our county

Picture of the iconic Firstsite building at night.
Discover Essex’s creative spaces. They come in all shapes and sizes and are crammed with artistic treasures, from international names to emerging local artists.
Picture of a sunset over the The Naze waters with some rocks protruding from the water.

Explore our 350 miles of coastline, the longest shoreline of any county in England, a place of surprising wild beauty, rich in wildlife and sprinkled with history and hidden cultural gems.

Essex’s history has been shaped by a wide variety of cultures. Romans, Saxons, Vikings, Normans – all left their mark. Echoes of their influence can still be seen today.
Picture of a cow at the edge of the River Stour and drinking water.
A scenic patchwork of rich farmland speckled with pastelwashed villages of thatch and timber, the views interrupted by mighty oaks and ashes presided over by the hurrying skies.