This quaint market town is famous for its namesake church, which is said to be the final resting place of King Harold II.
Set amid rolling green hill, Waltham Abbey is a traditional market town in Essex that is best known for its 12th-century church and gardens. See the beautiful church, browse local markets and explore modest museums and parks.
The town’s history is connected to King Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon King of England before the Norman invasion. He founded a monastic house on the site that would later hold Waltham Abbey Church. The current church building dates back to the 12th century. Visit it to see where the monarch was allegedly buried following his death in 1066.
This abbey is at the heart of the community and has been serving this town for more than eight centuries. Learn about its history, marvel at its Romanesque architecture and stroll through its pleasant gardens, where you will encounter pretty streams and forested pockets.
Waltham Abbey Market takes place every Tuesday and Saturday and is the ideal place to get a flavor for the local culture. Browse fruit, vegetables, toys and handicrafts in this traditional market, which has been held for more than 700 years. Note the well-preserved old houses surrounding the stalls; many of these date back several centuries.
Take a daytrip to Epping Forest just north of the town. This vast area of scenic woodland was once a designated royal forest, but was declared a Public Open Space in the late 19th century. Meander through the trees and discover more than 100 lakes and ponds. There are also opportunities for mountain biking and horse riding in the forest.
If you’re seeking adventure, stop by the Lee Valley White Water Centre. This activity center has artificial rapids for surfing, canoeing and kayaking. Take the kids to the Lee Valley Park Farms, where they can pet animals and play on small slides.
Elsewhere in the town, you’ll find the Royal Gunpowder Mills. The defunct mills are now open to the public and feature an interactive museum, an armory and gun test ranges. Find out how to make rockets and watch fascinating science shows devoted to explosives.
Waltham Abbey is situated in southwest Essex, 28 miles (45 kilometers) from London. Travel to the town using regional train and bus services.