Audley End is one of the most culturally important estates in the UK - once one of the grandest houses in England and set in one of the most beautiful valleys in the Essex countryside. The natural amphitheatre (to the rear of the house) is surrounded by stunning rolling hills, providing a perfect setting for Heritage Live’s summer concerts - nestling between the Concorde Temple at the top of the hill and the beautiful house and gardens below.
The site famously lies on mystic Ley Lines and was originally the home of a Benedictine Abbey, built in 1139. Walden Abbey was suppressed by Henry VIII during the Reformation and in 1538 granted to Sir Thomas Audley, Lord Chancellor and former Speaker of the House of Commons.
Upon Audley’s death, ownership of the Estate fell to the Howards and in 1614, Thomas Howard (1st Earl of Suffolk and Lord Treasurer to King James I), rebuilt the house created by his grandfather on the scale of a Royal Palace. It was so grand that 50 years later, King Charles II, bought it as a ready-made Palace - its location making it perfect for his love of the Newmarket races. But the Howards bought Audley End back in 1701, and gradually reduced it to a more manageable size. The celebrity architect Robert Adam modernised the house in the 1760s for Field Marshall Sir John Griffin Griffin, whilst at the same time, Sir John commissioned ‘Capability’ Brown to sweep away the remains of the formal landscape, to instead create one of England’s finest and most famous flower gardens. The house and grounds are maintained and cared for by English Heritage.
Audley End Road, Saffron Walden, Essex CB11 4JF