Hassrale Trips: Waltham Cross/Waltham Abbey

Date: Saturday 13th August 1994

After a break of several years, we once again descend on the peaceful Herts/Essex borderlands for a two location trip - though the last time we only saw the outskirts of Waltham Cross.

Waltham Cross is a quiet modern town , but with two significant claims to historical fame. Dead (no pun intended) in the centre of town is Eleanor's Cross, marking the site one of the places where the body of Queen Eleanor, wife of Edward I, rested during its journey from Lincoln to Westminster in 1291 (I think that I can just remember the celebrations). The plinth of the Cross dates from the 13th Century but the upper parts have been rebuilt. A few miles north-west of the town is the current location of the Temple Bar, the former official western gateway to the City of London which stood at the junction of Fleet St and the Strand. Even to this day the Monarch pauses at the original site to receive the Lord Mayor's sword before entering the City. It was moved in the last century as it had become a hindrance to traffic, and it now stands forlorn in Theobalds Park surrounded by wire fencing and is only accessible on foot.

History over, now for the trip:-

Travel: Trains from Liverpool Street BR to Theobalds Grove station depart @ 17 & 47 minutes past the hour. Journey time is approximately 31 minutes. On route the train stops at Stamford Hill and Seven Sisters.


The first pub is only a few steps walk from Theobalds Grove station towards Waltham Cross. Times of leaving pubs are in [].

1. Wheatsheaf [12:00]

Beers: McMullens Original AK, Country

The pub is basic, but friendly, with one longish bar split into three drinking areas.

The next pub is a little further down on the opposite side of the road. As traffic tends to be heavy, we advise you to retrace your steps and use the crossing by the railway bridge.

2. Temple Bar [12:30]

Beers: Boddingtons, Whitbread Pompey Royal

Two bar pub with conservatory and garden at rear. Comfortable pub with pleasant atmosphere and has plenty of seating, including armchairs in the Lounge bar. Those already peckish may note the seafood stall outside the pub.

Now recross the road (best of luck) to pub No 3. Don't be deceived, although the original and smaller hostelry on the main road is now closed, its replacement is to be found behind it by using the driveway to the side.

3. The Vine [13:15]

Beers: McMullens Original AK, Country plus guest (on trial this was Wadworths Farmer's Glory)

New (in the last 10 years), large two-bar pub. Originally located in the much smaller building you passed down the side of from the main road. Tasteful style, which has become a McMullen's trademark for renovated/new pubs. Bare brick walls, with dining area and large gardens - look out for climbing animals. Food available lunchtimes. Pub, however, closes between 4 and 7pm.

Back to the main road and then turn off bypass into pedestrianised High Street. Proceed right to end and almost to the other end of the bypass and you can become a contented piglet.

4. The Happy Pig [14:00]

Beers: Courage Directors, Young's Special, Marston's Pedigree and Flower's Oroginal

Large pub set out in the usual Wetherspoon's style, ie dankish & modern. Expensive, especially the food which is served all day. Small terracing and garden at rear. Numerous TV screens - on the trial all were showing the same rugby match!

Return to the centre of town and pass to the right of Eleanor's Cross (stop to take photos, if you insist), where we catch a bus to Waltham Abbey and the next pub. Bus fare is 80 pence. If you are feeling energetic you could walk but it will take you about 30 minutes. Alight from the bus at the far end of Waltham Abbey (after it turns into Farm Hill Road) and retrace slightly into Sun street.


5. The Angel [16:00]

Beers: McMullens Original AK & Country, Wadworths Farmers Glory

Another typical McMullen's pub - bare brick, etc - with a single bar. Food is available all day.

Continue down the road a little way to:

6. The Sun [16:45]

Beers: Ind Coope Burton, Tetley Bitter plus guest (on trial this was Courage Directors)

Traditional Olde Worlde, low beamed pub with one main bar plus function room at the back. Numerous interesting pictures, mainly on an air force theme. Those who have found upright drinking too stressful can lie down and look at the ones on the ceiling. Has garden and childrens playground - we managed to persuade one of the trialists not to take this over from the 3 or 4 children already there.

Walk on to the Market Street and you will find opposite:

7. The Green Dragon [17:30]

Beers: Courage Directors, Tetleys Bitter

Spacious two-bar pub, though one does not seem to open except on special occasions (our attendance won't count). Impressive open hearth fire with bass relief to the side.

On leaving, turn left and stagger the 30 yards to:

8. The Welsh Harp [18:15]

Beers: McMullens Original AK, Country plus guest (on trial this was Wadworths Farmers Glory)

Old 15th Century pub next to Waltham Abbey. Don't worry, you're not drunk, it's just that the pub is the remains of an establishment over 1000 years old. Has plenty of seats, and overlooks the bustling market square - well sometimes it bustles.

Now stroll through the Abbey grounds - avoiding any tourists - and weave out of town to the west. After a quarter of a mile you reach the river Lee or Lea and the:

9. Old English Gentleman [19:00]

Beers: McMullens Original AK, Country

Pleasant two-bar pub which is comfortably furnished. Interior is of a mock-tudor style, with numerous items of paraphernalia hanging from the ceiling. Being on the river there is an outdoor drinking area and of course a tow path for those that like to walk.

To reach the last pub, turn left out of the OEG, cross the main road and continue on towards Waltham Cross. Before you reach the BR station you will find:

10. The Brittania [whenever]

Beers: Tetley Bitter, Ansells Mild (possibly a guest beer)

Two bars, with the saloon the larger and the public dominated by the pool table. Friendly (even if just popping in to ask where the person one was supposed to meet has got to) with plenty of seating.

Trains back to Liverpool Street leave Waltham Cross station at 20.15 & 20.41. These also stop only at Tottenham Hale.

Trialled by Paul Tiffany, John Carter and John Wright on a glorious sunny day in June (hopefully not an ill omen?)

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