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“Lovely House and gardens-dirty cafe”

Audley End House and Gardens
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Built by the first Earl of Suffolk, Lord Treasurer to James I, this Jacobean-style house is one of the most magnificent of its type in England.
Cheshunt, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
381 reviews
186 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 442 helpful votes
“Lovely House and gardens-dirty cafe”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2012

Enjoyed a wonderful afternoon in the grounds and on a tour of the house. I visited the stables, gift shop and outbuildings. I was not expecting a filthy tea room. Nine tables piled high with uneaten food debris, plates stacked up and tables which were filthy. Food is limited, no soft drinks i.e cola but plenty of odd flavoured drinks, sandwiches were limited and serving worktops filthy. I watched a customer poke her finger into the cake on display take a chunk and eat before selecting another cake instead. Hygiene and cleaning are not priority here although there are ample staff milling around. Take a packed lunch and avoid this hell hole.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Denise S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
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  • Polish first
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  • Any
English first
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
884 reviews
427 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 383 helpful votes
“Amazing place, allow plenty of time!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 September 2012

Visited here with my wife whilst working in the area. Absolutely amazing place and totally unexpected - we are used to EH being the custodian of ruins but this building puts many NT properties to shame. We were there 3.5 hours and didn't even have time to go in to the house or cafe. The gardens and grounds are extensive with a mix of formal gardens, kitchen gardens and landscaping. Everything was well laid out and signposted (although we weren't sure about whether we had the right entrance until we saw the ticket booth!). The garden staff we chatted to were friendly and knowledgable. We will certainly come back here again.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank MarcusHurley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bishop's Stortford
Level Contributor
73 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Lovely house and gardens. Event days always superb”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 September 2012

This is one of the jewels in the crown of English Heritage's portfolio and always worth a visit. The house is impressive, but the gardens are the biggest draw for me. The Victorian kitchen garden is particularly worth looking around. There are many event days throughout the year and it is worth checking out their website before you visit. In the past couple of years we have seen jousting, falconry, horse displays and most impressively re-enactments of when the house was used as a training camp in WWII for the Polish resistance. Our kids love these.

Free for English Heritage members.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank Badger-of-Essex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“expected better service”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 September 2012

We had a 2 year old with us who did not want to see the house. We gave him a lollipop and he kept quiet. Going around the house, some jobsworth member of staff ordered that we take the lollipop from him and radioed through to her colleagues about the "problem". I explained that it kept him quiet whilst we could view the house. She said we could leave, and I told her that we had paid the entrance fee. Incidentally, it was very expensive and we only spent 20 minutes there. The manager was also defensive rather than apologetic. So very poor customer service. At the cafe, it was also pricey and we were given dirty cups. Staff at the house and cafe were in a great hurry to close up much before closing time. Not worth the money, and the house is not child friendly.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Gin L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Felixstowe
Level Contributor
155 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“Magnificent - mostly”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 August 2012

Stunning house (allow an hour to go round it) and wonderful grounds and gardens set in a delightful landscape. Found it tricky to find from Saffron Walden - the sign posting was poor. Also, when you leave you're taken down a twisting track, through a neighbour's farm, and end up on a minor road with no clues as to whether to turn left or right. Fortunately, our hunch, to turn left for Saffron Walden, was right. The servants' wing - kitchen, laundrey, dairy, etc was fascinating. It's also where the cafe is. This was grossly overpriced, it was cramped and crowded, with little available seating. It's was quite inadequate for the number of visitors on the day we were there. There's also hardly any seating outdoors in the grounds, which is a bit annoying when you want to sit down for a rest. We visited on the August Bank Holiday Monday, there was a WW2 re-enactment which was brilliant, so I guess it was busier than usual. The guide book at £3.50 is great value for money, and worth reading when you get hiome about the house, its people and its history, which is quite complicated. I think a family ticket (2 adults and up to 4 kids I think) would have been about £37, but entry is free for English Heritage members, which we are. Don't miss it if you can, but maybe take a picnic (we spent £35 three of us on lunch and refreshments).

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank Chris S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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