a day trip to saffron walden

Weekends and school holidays were pretty much the best things about being a kid. During every holiday from about the age of 6, my cousins and I were whisked away by my grandparents to all manner of castles, beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, old houses, pretty little villages, steam railways, botanical gardens and seemingly endless forests. I was never really sure where it was we were going until we got there, which just made it even more exciting.

I hadn't realised how much I missed going on Family Adventures until this weekend when we piled into a car and drove towards Cambridge, not really sure of where we would end up. After driving down narrow roads and passing yellow, red and green fields to the left and right of us, we arrived in the sleepy town of Saffron Walden.

Despite being only 50 miles from London, the town is located in an unspoilt rural area and is one of the finest examples of a preserved medieval market town in England. There has been a market in the town since 1141 and it was at one time at the centre of the saffron trade, hence the name.

Saffron Walden contains numerous historic buildings, many of which were built by Quakers. Within the town and in the surrounding area you can find examples of every style of architecture from the 12th to the 21st Century. As well as the beautiful timber-framed buildings and tiny picturesque streets, the town includes the remains of a small castle and the largest turf maze in England. There is also a "proper" hedge maze in Bridge End Gardens (also designed by Quakers), in which my grandparents and I had great fun getting lost. You're never too old to have fun in a maze!

The town also has a tiny art gallery, Fry Art Gallery, in which you can see paintings and prints by artists with connections to the town and the locality, such as Eric Ravilious, Michael Rothenstein and Edward Bawden who lived in the town during the 1970s and 1980s.

Finally, in an attempt to show how much Saffron Walden oozes English-ness and rural charm, take a look at this signpost from the centre of the town...

...even the car parks have charming names!

Where did you go on adventures in the school holidays as a child?

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