Here’s our top reasons to hop on a bike and explore Essex’s lush countryside.

1. Experience Essex cycling conditions

The difference between city and country cycling is immediately apparent.

For starters, there are fewer cycling lanes here, so you feel less entitlement to the road.

On the other hand the motorists out here seem almost respectful towards you and there are no black cabs trying to rub you out.

There’s also more roadkill – squashed bunnies, squirrels and foxes decorating the road with their innards.

2.Visit Saffron Walden

Explore the stunning medieval town of Saffron Walden, once a major English centre for the production of the saffron crocus and the site of some of England’s finest turf mazes.

3. Have pub lunch in Thaxted

This historic town dates back to the Doomsday Book and is worth a quick tour of its pretty almshouses and the 19th century windmill.

Its most famous landmark is the 15th century timber-framed Guildhall, which is wonky with age but is miraculously still standing.

Local pub The Swan,which does a good lunch, is steeped in history as the one-time watering hole of 18th century highwayman Dick Turpin.

4. Explore Jamie Oliver country

Stop for lunch at The Cricketers in Clavering, the inn owned by Jamie Oliver’s parents.

The town has charming cricketing and bowling greens and the food at The Cricketers is sensational. What’s more, it will easily see you back to the train station at Audley End.


What you need to know about cycling in Essex

When to go: Spring through to autumn is the best time to cycle.

Getting there: Trains from Liverpool Street to Audley End take approximately one hour.

Getting around: Two wheels is the best way to enjoy the countryside.

Accommodation: There is a Youth Hostel in Saffron Walden. Contact for more information. Essex has plenty of B&Bs that will suit all budgets. Rooms start at around £25 per person per night. Or splash out and stay at the eco-minded Great Hallingbury Manor


» Alison Grinter travelled with National Express Trains. See for bike hire. Details of cycling routes can be found at