England travel guide: Audley End, Essex
My visit with Olga to the country house of Audley End was an interesting one, a place full of history with beautiful huge gardens surrounding it. The house near Saffron Walden in Essex (located south of Cambridge) was built in the 17th century and is classed as one of the finest Jacobean houses in the country. As we are members of the English Heritage (which owns or runs properties, sites and listed buildings in England and Wales) we decided to check out the stately home which is the family seat of Lord Braybrooke.
We started off by taking a walk around the parkland which includes lots of mock-classical monuments. The park is divided by the River Cam which visitors can cross by taking one of several ornate bridges and the main road which follows a former Roman road.
One of the interesting parts of the grounds we came across is the Organic Kitchen Garden which is surrounded by brick walls and grows plenty of vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs. There are also two huge greenhouses located here where visitors can snoop around and check out the beautiful herbs and flowers being grown.
After a nice cup of tea and a scone in the tea rooms it was time to go inside the house. The house used to be three times the size it is now when first built. The first room we came across is an outstanding main entrance hall with plenty of paintings of noble men and Royal members of the family. In fact every room in the house has plenty of paintings on offer.
There are plenty of bedrooms, state rooms, drawing rooms on offer but the main attraction is the nursery located on the top floor for the eight children which used to live here. Visitors children can try out hats whilst tour guides dress up in Victorian dresses and suits and have lots of useful information on the children who lived here.
Outside the house there is a pretty garden with lots of different coloured tulips and a water fountain. Right at the back of the park is a temple built in Roman times and is a great place to take a view of the house and park.
The house has plenty on offer and is well worth a visit. Just outside the grounds is a small steam railway named after the house. We actually did make a return trip just for the railway at Christmas time to take our daughter to see Santa Claus. Booking in advance online, we boarded the train at a specially built station which consists of toilets, cafe and a shop. The train ride took us through woodland where we got to see many reindeers, Christmas trees and other Christmas decorations en route to Santa’s grotto. Here the train stopped on a platform but all the passengers had to stay on the train as Santa and his elves came down to each child, had a little chat, took a photo and received a gift. Then the train pulls away and returns to the station. Afterwards we went to visit Winter Wonderland where there is an activity area where children can write a letter to the big jolly man and send it at the festive post office. There is also storytelling, dance area, craft making and face painting to be had.
The house and grounds are located south of Cambridge and makes an ideal day trip away. If using public transport, there is a train to Audley End on the train line from London Liverpool Street and Cambridge and then is about 25-30 minute walk along the main road (turn left out of the station). Full information about Audley End House can be found here.
Please note that while I was not working with Audley End House, my review and experiences written about in this post are 100% genuine. I value my readers too much to lie to you. My blog would be nothing without you and your continued support!