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Travel guides are useful however they often neglect to mention all the Hidden Gems of that place. This travel aims to explore Hidden Gems from all around the world. This week we are exploring the Hidden Gems of Dover in the U.K. and it has been written by PortExplore. PortExplore is a great is a travel blog written by Cathy Rogers who has years of experience in travel. Writing about the Hidden Gems of Dover comes naturally to her as with years of travel experience, she can easily give the best recommendations of things to do in Dover and places to see in Dover.

Just south of Gatwick Airport, sits the small town of Crawley. Being a small town, it may not be popular amongst tourists, however sometimes it’s the lesser known places that have the most to discover. This week in the Hidden Gems travel series, the suzytheexplorer is sharing with everyone all the Hidden Gems of Crawley. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Crawley, or you are searching for the less explored sites of Crawley, then this post is perfect for you!

The Hidden Gems of a location are a list of activities/ places to see that are not high on the radar of that area but are still well worth a visit. Every week I have a guest blogger talk about all the Hidden Gems in their area. If you’re new to the series then you can catch up on it by reading the first two episodes: The Hidden Gems of Edinburgh and The Hidden Gems of Leicestershire. This week we are staying in the U.K. and the wonderful Katie will be writing all about the Hidden Gems of Saffron Walden. 

Firstly, I would like to thank Connie for allowing me to join her guest blog post series and I’m sure you will see a couple more of these kinds of posts as I travel around the world. In this post particularly I am going to be talking about Saffron Walden which is a hidden gem in itself. Saffron Walden is a small town in Essex which is well known for the country life and its amazing buildings, markets, restaurants and more.

https://www.facebook.com/curiousgoatcafe/?tn-str=k*F
The Curious Goat Logo

I am going to be starting with my favourite places to eat in Saffron Walden. I have 3 favourite places to eat here, one being a small restaurant called the Curious goat. This is a small restaurant just off of the road where all of the shops are down in Saffron Walden. I enjoy eating here due to the atmosphere and because their food is all home cooked and always tastes delicious! They are also really good with one of my family members that is gluten-free and it can be quite difficult for her to find food but the Curious Goat is always very accommodating and doesn’t see it as any trouble. The reason I enjoy the atmosphere so much is due to it being a smaller restaurant sometimes they will sit smaller tables with other smaller tables. You can be asked to be seated on another table but I enjoy this as I think it is a great way to mingle with other people and make new friends.

Another one of my favourite places to go for breakfast/ lunch is the Mocha. This is a traditional cafe that serves sandwiches/full-English/toasties and loads more. I like going here because the feel of the restaurant is always really cosy and it is nice to see somewhere that has kept the old fashioned cafe style. The food here is also amazing and it is one of the most popular places for people to go to eat in Saffron Walden.

Finally, on the more pricy side and probably my favourite place to go in Saffron Walden is the Cross Keys Hotel. This is one of the pubs on the high street of Saffron Walden and their food is to die for! I do not think I have ever had a bad meal at this pub, everything is always done just right. They make things like sandwiches, burgers, ribs, fish and chips and loads more. This is a place that we always go for a birthday or an event because it is one of my favourite places to eat.

Next, I am going to be talking about the things that you can do in Saffron Walden, which there are loads of!

One Historical thing which is good to do in Saffron Walden is the Audley End House and Gardens.

This is one of the greatest houses of the early 17th-Century England and so there is a lot of history around the house and the gardens surrounding it. You can go and visit the house, get a walking tour of the house or go round yourself, there are also some fun games and activities on at certain times of the year that can be fun as an addition to the house so be sure to check them out here!

Bridge End Gardens - Image from their website
Bridge End Gardens – Image from their website

Another thing that you can do in Saffron Walden is visit Bridge end Gardens. These are a ground of beautiful linked ornamental gardens in Saffron Walden that you can go on a nice walk around and take in all of natures beauty.

One thing that is good for children to do is the Audley End Miniature Railway. This is a railway with lots of teddy bears and views of the Audley end forests that children always love so if you have children this would be a great thing to check out when in Saffron Walden.

Saffron Walden also has a cinema called the Saffron Screen where you can go and watch films that are on and all of the money goes towards the community rather than a big corporate brand which is always a bonus!

Seasonal events

Saffron Walden also does seasonal events around the year that all the family can enjoy. One thing that is always good to go and see is the bonfire and firework display in November. This display is on the common, which is the large park near the town center of Saffron Walden, and is completely free although people do take donations and there is a big firework display followed by the bonfire. I really enjoy this as all of my family go down to watch it every year and it is a nice activity to get the family together on this day.

Another event that Saffron Walden held last year was their spooky Halloween walk around Bridge end Gardens. This was performed by the drama students at the high school in Walden and was a really good evening of entertainment. The walk was beautiful while they had gone through a lot of effort to decorate the garden up and make it look spooky for the evening. The children at County high also did amazing at their acting and played their parts really well so if you are up for a scare this was a good event in Saffron Walden to go to.

In December there is a Fairy and Elf walk around Audley house. Last year was the first year that this took place and I went along to it with my mum and sister. It was a really fun event to go to and would be great to go to if you had younger children The whole gardens are lit up with pretty lights and there is a small play area for the children to enjoy after the fairy walk is over. It also was a really good price and not too expensive which is an added bonus to the event!

Picture from Saffron Walden Carnival Website
Picture from Saffron Walden Carnival Website

Finally, there is also a Saffron Walden carnival every 3 years. This event happens in the summer and is a great time for everyone to get together and enjoy the performances of the village. The carnival lasts for 8 days and is made up of lots of different things. There’s music, corporate dinners, family fun days and the parade. the parade is where different people, businesses, charities and more come together and make different kinds of floats. they then go around the village waving at everyone, taking donations, throwing sweets/chocolate/drinks and even water at the crowds to promote their business and be seen by all. This is a great way to get involved and has been going on for many years. The next carnival in Saffron Walden is going to be held next year so make sure you come along to it if you can!

Lastly, I am going to be talking about the shops in Saffron Walden.

One of the oldest shops in Saffron Walden and also one of my personal favourites is called The Golden Butterfly. The reason that this is one of the towns favorite shops is because it has been the same for years and doesn’t change. This shop is an old fashioned style sweet shop that has been running for many years. As well as sweets they sell things like chocolate, walking canes, ice-cream, and tobacco. This shop is loved by loads and it is worth going to if you like your traditional old school sweets shops!

Another shop that I love is called Talents. This is a small gift shop just in the main shopping part of Saffron Walden. Talents have loads of great presents for all ages, they sell cards, games, bath products, candles, jewelry the list goes on so if you are in Saffron Walden I would recommend popping into talents and see if there is anything that takes your fancy because their products are beautiful.

picture taken from Hill St website

Finally, a shop that always seemed to shock me every time I walk past is called Hill St. This shop is a chocolate shop and they are so amazing at what they do with the chocolate that they sell. I have received a couple of their chocolate gifts as well as given out a couple and they have never disappointed me! The team at Hill Street always manages to come up with new creations that chock everyone and their skills just keep expanding.

The last thing that I want to talk about is the Saffron Walden Market days. Saffron Walden host some beautiful market days on Tuesdays and Saturdays where there are fresh fish, fruit, and veg for sale. People come and sell coffee, watches, scarves, clothes and loads more! It is a great day to come along to because the stalls are all beautiful and you can get some really nice food for your weekly meals or even some great lunches to sit and eat on the common with!

I hope you guys enjoyed my slightly long blog about Saffron Walden. It is a town that I have always grown up loving so I thought it would be perfect as a hidden gem of Essex! Let Connie know if any of you want to get involved in the Hidden Gems blogs and write about what you think are hidden gems of your town or city and if you guys want to know more about Saffron Walden then please ask me questions in the comments and I would love to answer them. Bye for now!

kt xx

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