Adventures around Harlowwith PlusBus

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The River Stort runs along one edge of Harlow and walking along its leafy banks, it's sometimes hard to believe that a huge town like Harlow is just the other side of the trees. The bus is perfect for one-way walks along the river. Besides the great waterside and woodland walks nearby, Harlow also has sculptures to spot, museums to visit and the unique and varied gardens of its visionary architect Frederick Gibberd. You can get to all these and more by bus. Regular trains arrive at Harlow Town from London, Cambridge and Stansted Airport. Just ask for a PlusBus ticket when you buy your train ticket and explore all day.

  • County: with PlusBus
  • Great for: architecture | art | family | flowers and gardens | food and drink | museums | riverside walks |
  • Refreshments: lots of pubs, cafes and restaurants
  • Please note: researched/updated in December 2023. If anything’s changed or you have more tips to share, do get in touch: features@goodjourney.org.uk
  1. 3. The Gibberd Garden

    Twentieth-century town planner and architect Frederick Gibberd worked on all kinds of buildings from mosques and cathedrals to power stations and airport terminals. In 1946 he became master-planner for Harlow New Town. He bought a house near Harlow in 1957, gradually filled the steam-side garden with sculptures, and was living there when he died in 1984. Nowadays, from April to September, the Gibberd Garden opens to the public on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons.

    • How to get to the Gibberd Garden by bus: From Harlow bus station or museum (see 2 above), catch hourly bus 59 to the bus stop called Gilden Way near Mayfield Farm. See Good Journey’s directions.
    • Walk back along the road and turn right into Marsh Lane, where you see a brown sign pointing to the Gibberd Garden. Simply follow this rural lane, keeping all the houses on your left and following as it winds left, right and left again, for half a mile. You will then see the Gibberd Garden on your right.
    • Gibberd described his garden design as “a series of rooms, each with its own character” and it’s this sense of wildly varied spaces that makes the garden so much more than the sum of its nine acres. One minute you’re in an intimate glade with old stone fonts salvaged from deconsecrated churches; next minute you wander past stainless steel mobiles or craggy concrete statues, surrounded by flowering trees and ornamental ponds.
    • When the gardens are open, you can have some tea and cake in the barn café before or after you explore. When you’ve finished, walk back to Gilden Way, cross the road and catch bus 59 to Harlow bus station. If you need to wait, check out the shop and bakery at nearby Mayfield Farm. From the bus station, several regular buses run back to Harlow Town railway station, including bus 10 every twenty minutes.
  1. Discover more offers and days out in Essex with Good Journey. For more money-saving tips see our handy guides to trains and buses.