A doggy day out in… Saffron Walden
- Credit: Archant
Join Ernie, the county’s most famous Westie, as he steps back in time on a trip to this medieval market town
Each month, Jenny Green creates a dog-friendly day out in the county following her adventures with Ernie, her delightful Westie. This month, it’s the medieval market town of Saffron Walden
WHAT TO SEE
Start by exploring The Common, in the heart of Saffron Walden. This vast open space is great for dog walking and is also home to the world’s largest publicly-owned turf maze. It may not look like much but the twisting labyrinth, enclosed by a bank and ditch, is actually almost a mile long. There are three other mazes in Saffron and just off The Common, you will also find the remains of ancient Walden Castle. Many people visit Saffron Walden for Audley End, just outside the town. This grand Jacobean mansion, built in the 17th century, was one of England’s greatest country houses but fluctuating fortunes mean it is now just a third of its original size. Dogs aren’t allowed inside but they can explore the beautiful landscaped grounds, which were designed by Capability Brown. Adult tickets cost £16.80 but English Heritage members can explore for free. Just across the road, you’ll find the Audley End Miniature Railway. Here you can enjoy a 1.5-mile steam train ride through the estate’s private woodland – and your dog can join you for the journey, too. There’s also an Enchanted Fairy and Elf Walk that younger guests will enjoy. Ticket prices vary depending on the time of year, but you will save money if you book online.
WHERE TO EAT
- 1 10 of the best restaurants for al fresco dining in Norfolk
- 2 35 great Surrey pubs with beer gardens and terraces
- 3 Win a holiday for two on the Isles of Scilly
- 4 12 outdoor dining experiences in Surrey
- 5 16 of the best spots for al fresco dining in Essex
- 6 Sussex pubs with beer gardens to visit this summer
- 7 19 great places to eat outdoors in Cheshire after lockdown
- 8 12 of the best places to eat al fresco in Yorkshire
- 9 16 of the best beer gardens in Essex
- 10 8 of the best places for a bluebell walk in Surrey
For a light bite, head to Kim’s Tea & Coffee House on Hill Street, where dogs are warmly welcomed with water and treats. Owners will also be spoilt with a great selection of teas, cakes and sandwiches which can be enjoyed either inside or in a sunny spot by the garden. The Elizabethan Cross Keys Hotel, on the High Street, allows dogs in both the bar and cool courtyard garden. And at The Fighting Cocks, on London Road, around 90% of the menu is gluten-free. The Bell Inn, near Audley End in Wendens Ambo, is also a great place to enjoy a meal with your dog. And be sure to sample the delights of The Saffron Ice Cream Company on your trip to the town. It is stocked in many local outlets, including Kim’s and at the mini railway.
WHILE YOU’RE IN THE AREA
Head to Thaxted, around 15 minutes away by car. This historic village dates back to before the Domesday Book and is an Instagrammer’s dream. From here, you can pick up Turpin’s Trail, named after the infamous highwayman who is said to have been born in Thaxted. The trail runs from here to Hempstead and is split into three sections, which each take around three hours to walk.
And don’t miss, Life off the Leash, 16 pages dedicated to canine content, in the December issue of Essex Life