- Audley End House and Gardens has reopened and is following UK government advice regarding COVID-19.
- Explore the stunning Victoria country house and enjoy the glorious gardens.
- Unearth what life was like living as a Victorian servant in the 1880s Service Wing and Coal Gallery.
- Meet the friendly resident horses in the stable yard and check out the riding displays at work and play.
- Run, jump and climb in the brilliant play area, which is inspired by the property. There is a mansion to climb and wooden horses to ride.
Head out to the magnificent Audley End House and Gardens in the unspoilt Essex countryside and enjoy a fantastically fun family day out. Now under supervision of English Heritage, Audley End House is a spectacular 17th-century country mansion located outside Saffron Walden in Essex. Walk into one of the most grandiose gardens of Jacobean times, which has been designed by the famous Capability Brown and restored over the years.
Although the decadent Jacobean mansion is now uninhibited, it has a long history and fascinating history. Originally the site of Walden Abbey, the Benedictine monastery was granted to Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas Audley, in 1538 and was one of the largest houses in England. His grandson, Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk, rebuilt the house in the scale of a royal palace in 1605-1614.
You may recognise the house and ground from a variety of popular television shows, including the Antiques Roadshow, Danny Boyle’s Trust and The Crown. Now you can experience a real-life period drama and gain a unique insight of what life was like below the stairs during the late 19th century in the Victorian service wing. Engross yourselves in the sights, sounds and smells of a Victorian servant’s daily routine – you can even see costumed actors bring the mansion to life on special weekends between May until September. Afterwards, visit the 1830s-nursery wing and explore the indoor family play area and have a wonderful time with toys from the Victorian era. Wander over the stable block and meet the resident horses. You can see exactly what they spend their day doing on the Stable Yard timetable, including grooming, warm up and exercising sessions. Make time to explore the exquisite gardens and enjoy beautiful views over the serpentine lake. There is even a working organic kitchen garden. It is one of the best gardens to visit in Essex! Kidadler Claire says, "Audley End near Bishop Stratford is lovely and we went for the first time at the end of last summer. Will definitely go again!"
There are loads of great places to visit in Essex with your family. Whilst you are exploring Audley End House and Gardens, it’s highly recommended that you visit Audley End Miniature Railway. A picturesque model railway, you’ll go on a wonderful ride through an enchanted forest and spot beautiful wooden toys within the woods. A favourite with Kiddadlers, Rochelle says: "Check out Audley End Miniature Railway. There's lots to do, including an enchanted fairy and elf walk." And Nessandmick says, “One of the best places I have been with the grandchildren and they loved it.”
What to know before you go
- In response to government advice, Audley End House and Gardens is reopening with new COVID-safety measures in place. You will need to book tickets in advance, even if you are a member. The gardens, service wing and café (for takeaways) is open. Currently, the house and playground are closed. Face coverings must be worn in the shop and other indoor spaces, a strict cleaning regime is taking place and there are new social distancing barriers at the admission area and toilets.
- The gift shop sells books, jams, jewellery and regional produce from the organic garden.
- The toilets and baby-changing facilities can be found by the Tearoom and the Cart Yard café.
- You are able to bring your dog to the grounds for walks.
- You will find two cafés at Audley End where kids’ lunch boxes and highchairs are available. You can get delicious fresh soups made from the vegetables grown in the organic kitchen, a light lunch, snacks and hot and cold drinks at the Tearoom. There's a selection of sandwiches and hot and cold drinks at the Cart Yard café next to the playground. There are also great picnic spots to be found. Staff will be happy to warm bottles for you.
- There is disabled access to Audley End. It is not possible to access the first floor in the house. You can also bring a companion or helper for free. Select an essential companion ticket when you book.
- Accessible toilets are available on site.
- Buggies are unfortunately not allowed into the house due to conservation reasons. You can leave your buggy in Bucket Hall.
- A sling and hip seat can be provided if needed.
- If you are interested in visiting more English Heritage sites, check out Stonehenge. Or for more monumental country houses, visit Blenheim Palace in Woodtsock, Oxfordshire.
- There are a variety of brilliant Audley End events throughout the year. Check online to see what is coming up.
- Audley End House and Gardens is located off London Road, Saffron Walden, Essex CB11 4JF.
- The Audley end postcode for your Satnav is CB11 4JF.
- By train, Audley End is one and a quarter miles away. The footpath to the house is beside a very busy main road, so it’s better to get a taxi.
- Trains from Audley end to London Liverpool Street take approximately one hour. You can also get a direct train from Audley End to Cambridge in 20 minutes.
- By bus, the 6, 59, 313, 101, 132, 301, 34, 59 and 590 all pass within a quarter of a mile of the entrance.
- Please follow the latest guidelines if travelling by public transport.
- If you are driving, the Audley End is one mile west of Saffron Walden on the B1383, and off the M11 at exit 8 or 10.
- There is ample on-site free parking. If you are visiting the miniature railway, you need to park in their car park that is across the road.
Image © Audley End House and Gardens