Five Things to do with your Elderly Parents in Saffron Walden, Essex

Saffron Walden’s Medieval buildings hint at its long history, dating back to the Neolithic period. Initially a wool trading town, saffron crocus was grown here from the 16th Century, giving it its name today. Surrounded by uninterrupted views of the Essex countryside, as well as being situated just 15 miles south of Cambridge, Saffron Walden is a beautiful area.

Outings with loved ones such as visiting places of historical interest or tranquil settings and catching up over a cuppa are meaningful ways to spend time together. Quality time can help bring a brighter outlook and improved wellbeing. We pick the top five things to do with your elderly parents in Saffron Walden.

Saffron Walden Museum

This small museum is next door to the ruins of a Norman castle and full of artefacts from a variety of classifications, including ancient cultures, costume and textiles, natural history, world cultures, ceramics, glass and geology. Favourite pieces include a glove from Mary Queen of Scots, given away the night before her execution, and Wallace, the lion from the poem “The Lion and Albert” by Marriott Edgar. One of the oldest museums in the UK, it has an impressive calendar of talks and workshops. There is good accessibility, as well as a chair lift and lift. Hearing loops and a wheelchair are available on request.

Fry Art Gallery

This contemporary gallery houses a collection of 20th Century local artistic tradition from North West Essex. Purpose-built in 1856, it focuses on the works of the Bardfield Group of painters such as Edward Bawden. This little gallery has a trio of popular annual exhibitions, as well as its exceptional collection of ceramics, books and prints.

In 2015 extensive research exploring the effect of the arts on conditions such as dementia, delivered fascinating findings. They discovered that those with early to mid-stage dementia regarded arts activities as engaging and stimulating. Group activities lessened isolation and increased social engagement. Arts activities including music encourage spontaneity and expression and re-engage curiosity with the world around them.

We all benefit from quality time away from the concerns of daily living. Whether your relative has live-in care, care at home, elderly care or dementia care, outings with their live-in carer can improve the quality of life of you and your loved one.


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Bridge End Garden

An oasis of foliage in the heart of Saffron Walden, Bridge End Garden is Grade II-registered and was created by Francis Gibson in 1840. The series of gardens were designed as ‘rooms’, each intended to have its own personality. The formal Rose Garden is the oldest part of the grounds and stocked with a beautiful selection of Victorian varieties. The tricky maze at its heart is a worthwhile adventure too. Those feeling less adventurous can photograph the entire maze at the Information Centre. Whether you decide to tackle the maze together or soak up the meditative atmosphere, Bridge End Garden is worth a visit.

Audley End House and Gardens

Audley End House is a Jacobean mansion, regarded as one of the most remarkable houses of the early 17th Century. The extensive grounds were also transformed into the exquisitely landscaped gardens you can see today by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.

We suggest exploring the 1880’s Service Wing and discover more about the army of servants keeping this unique mansion ticking along smoothly. You can meet the staff in period dress, including Mrs Crocombe who was the house cook in the 1880s. Page through her original recipe book for a glimpse of daily dining in Victorian England. Accessibility here is excellent. There is also food to order in the Servants Hall Tea Room, or pre-order a picnic to have in the grounds.

St Mary’s Church

You can see St Mary’s from anywhere in Saffron Walden. The impressive exterior seems to belong more to a cathedral than a local parish church. The interior boasts a magnificent vaulted ceiling and has stained glass windows. Situated in the heart of this lovely market town and dating back to the 15th Century, St Mary’s is a landmark. Measuring 183 feet long and with a combined tower and spire height of 193 feet, this is a lovely place to take a tranquil escape into another world.

It is a positive thing to spend time together exploring new places and learning new things. Taking time away from normal routines to create new memories is a wonderful way to share quality time.

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