3. Saffron Walden
High in the northwest of the county and far from London’s urban sprawl, Saffron Walden is a cute medieval market town within striking distance of Cambridge.
There has been a market here since the 12th century, which sets up on Tuesdays and Saturdays on the square next to the beautiful Guildhall, which is made of wattle and daub over stone arcades.
Myddlyton Place and Castle street, lined with colourful half-timbered buildings, are exceedingly pretty too, and the 15th-century St. Mary’s is Essex’s largest parish church.
You can also step in to a BBC period drama at the majestic 17th-century Audley End House, which has been in the Baybrooke family since the 1700s.