Positively palatial in its scale, style and the all-too-apparent ambition of its creator, the first Earl of Suffolk, the fabulous early-Jacobean Audley End House eventually did become a royal palace when it was bought by Charles II in 1668. Lavishly decorated rooms glitter with silverware, priceless furniture and paintings, making it one of England's grandest country homes. The fine landscaped park was designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. Audley End House is 1 mile west of Saffron Walden off the B1383.
Today's enormous building is actually only one-third of its original size. The sumptuous interior was remodelled in Gothic style by the third Baron Braybrooke in the 19th century; many of his creations remain today. You can also explore a service wing, restored to feature the sounds and smells of servant life in the 1880s, and a Victoria-era stable yard, complete with horses.
Audley End train station is 1¼ miles from the house. Taxis from the town marketplace cost around £6.