2 Saffron Walden Hotels and Guest Houses
Single from: £60.00
Double from: £75.00
per room per night
The county of Essex is one of the largest and most populous counties in all of England. Surprisingly, this large and busy area somehow manages to retain its natural beauty and the county is just as charming as it must have been in its early days of inhabitation. Though it would be hard to single out the most beautiful part of Essex, the city of Saffron Walden is definitely one of the top contenders.
What makes Saffron Walden so desirable is the fact that, despite its proximity to behemoths like London (a mere thirty five miles away) and Cambridge (only fifteen miles away), Saffron Walden maintains a gorgeously rural and classic appearance. This isn't to say that Saffron Walden is run down by any means; on the contrary, the city has managed to pull off what many would consider impossible: A stately, antiquated beauty that is neither musty nor archaic. Many of the buildings in Saffron Walden date further back than Medieval Times and this is a large part of why the city is just so fascinatingly endearing.
The origin of Saffron Walden's name is questionable and not certain but the Walden part of the name no doubt is derived from the stunning Walden Abbey. This Abbey was believed to have been built around the 900s and it quickly became an imposing castle. Sadly, we can't enjoy the beautiful appearance of the castle anymore because it has since been destroyed as a result of various factors. All that remains of the castle is the basement and, though it is fascinating, it isn't exactly what you would call beautiful. One also might have a bit of an etymological beef with the fact that the basement sits above ground now.
One thing that is still standing is the famed St. Mary the Virgin. This parish church is the largest one in the county of Essex and anybody who has visited Essex knows that the county has no shortage of towering churches. St. Mary the Virgin is believed to date back to the late 1400s and any visit to Saffron Walden would be wasted without getting a snapshot of this work of art. While you're there, be sure that you visit the Maze. The Maze is exactly what it sounds like: A giant maze made out of topiary. At over one hundred feet in diameter, this is the largest turf maze in the entire country and it is definitely wonderfully frustrating. The Maze is also very old, dating back to the 1600s, and many believe that it served as the inspiration for the hedge maze in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. If this detracts you from visiting it just remember that you should be perfectly fine so long as it isn't snowing and an axe-wielding maniac isn't chasing you. On the other hand, Saffron Walden is so beautiful and awe-inspiring that you may not wish to spend a large part of your vacation trapped in a maze. If that is the case, avoid the maze and simply look in any direction you want to. You'll be sure to find something phenomenal.
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