The Unaccompanied Children of Calais Sculpture

Arts and Culture in Saffron Walden

(Please click here for this information in Japanese)

Saffron Walden has become a major centre for the Arts over the last few years, beginning with the creation of the fabulous Saffron Screen in 2006 and culminating in the building of the £10 million Saffron Hall in 2013. 

For a town of just over 15,000 people, to have a hugely successful cinema, a state of the art concert hall, along with music, literary and maze festivals makes Saffron Walden unique in its cultural offer. 

There are also many arts based organisations in the town, such as Saffron Players, Saffron Walden Art Society, Saffron Walden Choral Society, Saffron Walden Musical Theatre Company, Saffron Dance Band, Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra, Saffron Walden Town Band, Blue Skies Big Band, The Walden Buskers, Hyperfusion Theatre Company and Pure Rhythm to name just a few. Full details of all our local groups can be seen here.

The image at the top of this page is called 'The Children of Calais' and is the work of local artist Ian Wolter. It is located in Dorset House Garden, adjacent to St Mary's Parish Church, and was unveiled on 8 June 2018 by Lord Alf Dubs

The Children of Calais portrays six British children as refugees caught in the present migration crisis. Their poses echo Auguste Rodin’s famous the Burghers of Calais, completed in 1895.

Rodin’s solemn composition commemorates an event during the siege of Calais in 1347. The English King offered to spare the lives of the people of the city on condition that six of its burghers would surrender themselves. Although they expected to be executed, the burghers’ lives were spared by the intervention of the English queen.

The Children of Calais evokes a parallel narrative: the desperate situation of the young refugees, and the potential for humanity to yet hold sway.

Saffron Screen

Saffron Walden's independent, not for profit cinema, open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with additional screenings in the school holidays. The cinema is located in the grounds of Saffron Walden County High School and shows a range of mainstream, independent, art-house and children's films, as well as a wide range of live special events.

Opened in 2006, it has a comfortable 200 seat auditorium with a wide screen and full surround sound, refreshments and free parking. Further details, location and prices can be seen on 

Saffron Hall

Saffron Hall is an award winning, 730 seat performance space within, like Saffron Screen, is in the grounds of Saffron Walden County High School. Saffron Hall hosts an annual season of concerts and events featuring local, national and international artists.

Opened in November 2013, the £10 million hall has a much-praised flexible accoustic and state-of-the-art facilities that surpass those of more established venues. More information can be seen on 

Fry Art Gallery

Opened in 1987, the Fry houses an impressive number of works by artists of the 20th century and the present day, in particular those who settled in Great Bardfieldfrom the 1930s onwards, such as Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious. Seasonal opening times, which can be seen on 

Fairycroft House Arts and Media Centre

Fairycroft House is a hub not only for the youth of the community but for adults of all ages to get involved with music, drama, dance and other creative endeavours.

Rooms are available to hire for a whole range of community activities, giving Fairycroft House a very significant role in the local area. 

The Saffron Walden Gallery

Situated at the top of the High Street opposite The Baptist Church, The Saffron Walden Gallery is a contemporary fine art gallery displaying a wide selection of original art, sculpture, ceramics, glassware and cards. We stock the ever popular Katharina Klug ceramics, plus many more inspiring gift ideas. We also offer a 'view at home' service and free delivery, see website for details.

The gallery exhibits internationally renowned, established artists, but also give wall space to the up-and-coming. With regular solo & group exhibitions there is always something new to see 

Church Street Gallery

Situated opposite the church, Church Street Gallery features work by East Anglian Printmakers James Dodds, Andrew Haslen, Louise Bird, Peter Polaine, Michael Papworth and many more.

The gallery also have a beautiful collection of contemporary paintings, ceramics, books, printmaker cards, hand printed homewares and many inspiring gift ideas 

Expressions Gallery

Expressions Gallery in Cross Street contains a fantastic range of art, jewellery and gifts - including Moorcroft pottery; genuine bronzes; exquisite glassware from Orrefors, Kosta Boda and Bob Crooks Firstglass and much more.

The gallery also stocks Coeur De Lion handmade jewellery, CARAT of London, stunning jewellery in white or yellow gold and have an extensive range of beautiful handmade sterling silver jewellery, such as, Georgini from Australia; Antica Murrina from Venice and Ronin 

Exchange Gallery

The Exchange Gallery is located on the first floor of Saffron Walden Library and is open during normal library hours. There is a rolling programme of varied exhibitions and the gallery is always glad to hear from artists who would like to exhibit. Annual selection panels are in the autumn. Telephone: 01799 523178.

Saffron Walden Arts Trust

Saffron Walden Arts Trust is an umbrella organisation which coordinates, encourages, and promotes artistic enterprises of all kinds in the Saffron Walden area. The trust provide practical support to local artists and performers to help them display their talents, with initiatives such as music festivals, open studio events, and craft fairs 

Saffron Walden Maze Festival

Saffron Walden is alone in the UK in having two historic mazes – the ancient turf labyrinth on the Common and the Victorian hedge maze in Bridge End Garden. To celebrate Saffron Walden’s unique maze culture and explore man’s fascination with mazes and labyrinths over the centuries, Saffron Walden Initiative organised the first Maze Festival in August 2011.

It was such a success that a second Maze Festival was held in 2013, with mazes and maze challenges all over the town. It was during the 2013 festival that a third permanent maze was created in the bandstand in Jubilee Gardens. A third Maze Festival was held in 2016, and a new "Saffron Walden Amazes" permanent maze was installed at the pedestrian approach to the Long Stay car park at Swan Meadow.

Past Maze Festival details can be seen at 

Music at St Mary's

Saint Mary's Music Association provides practical, administrative and financial support to the Director of Music in order to maintain a high standard and wide variety of musical events in the parish. Membership is open to all