Lift a knight’s sword, explore a replica Norman castle and learn about a controversial figure from British history when you visit Bishop’s Stortford. This attractive town is nestled in the Hertfordshire countryside, a short drive from London.
To get a sense of Bishop’s Stortford’s rich history, visit the Bishop’s Stortford Museum. See clothes from the Victorian era and the medieval village stocks that were used to punish petty criminals. One of the highlights of the museum is the collection dedicated to Cecil Rhodes. In the late 19th century, the Bishop's Stortford-born businessmen, politician and colonist acquired territory now known as Zimbabwe for the British Empire. Examine artifacts, documents and photos that tell the story of his life.
The museum is part of the Rhodes Arts Complex that also includes a theater, cinema and the Thorleybourne Gallery. Exhibitions featuring local and nationally renowned artists regularly pass through here, so be sure to check out what is on when you visit.
A short drive outside of the town is Mountfitchet Castle. Explore this replica Norman castle and its village on the site where the originals stood more than 900 years ago. Find out if you have the strength to hold a knight’s sword and view life-size models of the giant siege weapons used during the Norman Conquest of 1066.
Located just minutes from the castle is the House on the Hill Toy Museum. Browse a staggering collection of more than 70,000 toys including wooden dolls from the Roman Empire and Victorian teddy bears. Exhibits include some of the first electronic games to ever hit the shelves.
When you are back in the town center, be sure to tour the farmers market on Thursdays. Purchase local produce such as meats, cheese and homemade jams.
Bishop’s Stortford is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from London and less than an hour’s drive from Cambridge. While you are here, take advantage of the town’s rural setting to explore the English countryside.