It’s been great exploring more of Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Essex since moving to Bishop’s Stortford in September. This post is all about fun things to do near Bishop’s Stortford within a 45 minute drive.
Things to do near Bishop’s Stortford
1. Visit historic town Saffron Walden
Saffron Walden is a gorgeous, colourful medieval market town located in North-West Essex around 25 minutes from Bishop’s Stortford. There are plenty of independent shops and cafes situated between the historic buildings and colourful houses.
You can park near Bridge End Gardens which is an expansive park space and under 5 minutes walk from the main town. If you visit one home shop, make sure you go to Angela Reed for all of your indoor and outdoor decorations. There was so much I wanted to buy in the shop!
As well as a wealth of shops, there are several local pubs to visit (when we can of course!). The Eight Bells is a beautiful 16th Century timber framed pub with modern interiors and friendly staff. Their fish and chips and sticky toffee pudding were rather delicious.
2. Walk through Birchanger Woods
Birchanger Woods is situated at the top of Stansted Road, north of Bishop’s Stortford and is separated into two parts by the A120. The 69 acres of woodland are maintained entirely by volunteers.
We have only visited in Autumn and Winter but can’t wait to see florals in Spring and Summer. The woods are very popular for dog walking and running (the first part is around 3km). If you visit the second part into Birchanger, you could always treat yourself to a stop off at The Three Willows pub.
3. Go fruit picking at Cammas Hall Farm
Cammas Hall Farm is situated around 20 minutes from Bishop’s Stortford in Hatfield Broad Oak. It is known for PYO (pick your own) fruit and vegetables, mainly from June to October. I visited for Halloween where they had TONS of pumpkins available for sale.
Other items available throughout the season include strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries, cherries, blackberries, onions and sweetcorn. Oh, and beautiful sunflowers!
4. Visit Hatfield Forest
One of the best things to do near Bishop’s Stortford is to visit Hatfield Forest, a beautiful National Trust destination located around 15 minutes drive from Bishop’s Stortford.
At the moment, you need to book your car parking space in advance of your arrival to Hatfield Forest. National Trust members can book for free and non-members will be charged £8. The website releases tickets every Friday with a variety of time slots. Once you are in the forest, you can stay all day.
We spent around 2.5 hours in Hatfield Forest exploring all the areas. The most beautiful part is the huge lake near the entrance and the café. There is a small section of the forest that has a canopy walkway and the rest is open air forest and park to wander through at your own pace.
5. Walk in Bishop’s Stortford Southern Country Park
Ok, so this park is actually in Bishop’s Stortford (rather than near) but is one of my favourites. There is only a small car park right near the park so you may have to wait for a space. However, we found an alternative car park down Church Lane, right by St Barnabas Centre which is much larger. It also gives you access to various public foothpaths which are less occupied than the park.
The Southern Country Park has a beautiful lake to walk around with a bridge and smaller platforms to feed the ducks (oats please, no bread!). The remainder is park ground with a number of different walkways. Just make sure you take walking boots or wellies when it has been raining.
6. Mountfitchet Castle
Mountfitchet Castle is described as an open-air museum experience where you can travel back in time over 900 years and witness life in a medieval Motte and Bailey castle. You can explore the castle, the Norman village hidden behind the castle walls and the old houses. Most excitingly, there are tame Fallow deer and other rescued animals that roam freely throughout the 10 acre site.
Entrance fee is £13.50 which includes Mountfitchet Castle, The House on the Hill Museum and the Dinosaur Encounters.
7. Visit Cambridge
Cambridge is home to more Nobel Prize winners than any other city and it is easy to see why! From history, culture and punting to food, drink and shopping, there is something for everyone. Of course, it is also home to Cambridge University which was founded by King Henry III in 1209. It is also the second oldest English-speaking university in the world.
For idea of things to do in Cambridge, you can read my article here.
8. Visit Hatfield House, Park and Gardens
Hatfield House is a hidden gem located moments from Hatfield station with over 400 years of history. The house was built by Robert Cecil in the grounds where Queen Elizabeth I spent much of her childhood. It is is open to visitors from 17 May 2021 and the garden, park & woodland walks are available now (£11 entry).
The house gardens date from the early 17th century and contain beautiful trees, flowers and, maze like paths, as well as a historical sundial. Surrounding Hatfield House is the historical woodland with three route options ranging from around 40 minutes to 90 minutes which can include a lakeside and forest walk.
9. Hitchin Lavender
Hitchin Lavender is situated 45 minutes from Bishop’s Stortford and usually opens between late June and late August each year. The lavender fields are quite extensive (compared to Mayfield Lavender anyway), there is plenty of parking and a cafe / food stand on site. Tickets start from £6 for adults and just £3 extra to pick a bag of lavender (bring your own scissors!).
East London Girl: Things to do near Bishop’s Stortford