Visit Saffron Walden and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Saffron Walden, Essex. Though it lies just to the east of the main A11 London to Cambridge and Newmarket roads, the town, which is one of the most delightful in the county, has a long history. There are remains of an Iron Age fort at Ring Hill, 1½ miles west of the town; evidence of Roman occupation and the remains of a 12th-century castle. Most impressive of all is the great Church of St Mary the Virgin, perhaps the only rival to that at Thaxted, 7 miles to the south Almost 200 ft long, the church has a spire which reaches to not far short of the same height. Its style reflects the traditions of neighbouring Cambridgeshire and Suffolk as well as those of its native Essex. Apart from a crypt and some of the arcades the church was rebuilt in the Perpendicular style between 1450 and 1550. The splendid stone spire was added in 1831. Windows, battlements and buttresses make the exterior full of interest and beauty. Inside the church are superb carvings and roofs magnificent in their variety and quality. The brasses date from the 15th to the 17th centuries and there is a black marble tomb-chest to Thomas, Lord Audley, the Lord Chancellor, d. 1544 (by Cornelius Harman).
Near the church are numerous buildings of merit. The former Sun Inn is famous for its pargeting, nowhere better to be seen than on the façade of this building. Close by is the Cross Keys and the Rose and Crown. While these buildings are 15th- and 16th-centuries, those nearer to the Market Place are from the 19th - the corn exchange and the altered Town Hall (originally 18th-century).
Like all the towns in this region, Saffron Walden derived its prosperity from the cloth trade, but as its name indicates its other great trade came from the growing of saffron, formerly used as a dye and as a medicine. The Youth Hostel in Bridge Street with its timbering and courtyard survives from this period. Even older in its origins is the maze which is on the common at the east of the town, one of the few surviving town mazes in the country. Close to the castle is the town museum, which is one of the most interesting in the county, especially for local material.
Much could be said of the surroundings of the town. Some 5 miles to the east, on the B1053, is Hempstead. Here was born the infamous Dick Turpin, a butcher's apprentice who became a robber and a murderer. The newly rebuilt tower of the church commemorates William Harvey (1578-1657), the discoverer of the circulation of the blood who lies buried here and whose image may be seen in the Church of St Andrew, a fine sculpture by Edward Marshall. Three miles to the north east on the Ashdon road is Hales Wood, now a nature reserve, and most important of all, 1 mile to the west is the great mansion of Audley End.
Nearby airports: London Stansted
Nearby cities: Cambridge
Nearby towns: Bishop's Stortford, Royston, Great Dunmow, Haverhill
Nearby villages: Arkesden, Ashdon, Bartlow, Clavering, Debden, Great Chesterford, Hadstock, Hinxton, Ickleton, Little Chesterford, Little Walden, Littlebury, Quendon, Radwinter, Sawston, Strethall, Thaxted, Wendens Ambo, Wicken Bonhunt, Widdington, Wimbish
Have you decided to visit Saffron Walden or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Saffron Walden bed and breakfast (a Saffron Walden B&B or Saffron Walden b and b)
- a Saffron Walden guesthouse
- a Saffron Walden hotel (or motel)
- a Saffron Walden self-catering establishment, or
- other Saffron Walden accommodation