What to see and do
While the heritage railway and buses provide an interesting and atmospheric experience, EOR prides itself as being a family day out. Our heritage transport network links together a number of local attractions. Below are just a few suggestions of attractions that can complement any visit to the area.
This page gives a selection of suggested itineraries for a great day out together with other local attractions to help you make the most of your visit. Please note that EOR cannot be responsible for third party sites. Details of opening hours and admission prices are on each attraction's own website.
You can find details of facilities available at our stations, and a description of a journey along our line, here.
With lots of trains operating throughout each of our operational days, there are many options to suit all itineraries and visit times, from a short stop-off to a whole day adventure – Epping Ongar Railway can offer it all. To spark your imagination we have several suggested itineraries, which you can download (pdf files), below:
"Trains and Planes" - With options for a half or full day, including optional visit to the nearby airfield museum.
"Walks and Whistles" - Including a number of suggested walks; the railway is surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside and forest, including historic high streets full of independent shops for unique shopping opportunities.
"Steam and Spires" - Including a walk to the nearby oldest wooden church in the world, steeped in history from the Tolpuddle Martyrs going right back to Anglo-Saxon tales.
Why not spend some time in Ongar itself? This pleasant little country town was once the administrative centre of the Saxon hundred. It's name derives from two old English words meaning "market" and "grazing land". In 1162, Richard de Lucy, Chief Justice of England, built a great Motte and Bailey castle here in the 11th century. It was demolished in the 16th century, but the impressive motte remains. Listed buildings line the High Street, whilst the church incorporates Roman bricks.
The Ongar Millenium History Society have produced a leaflet detailing a short walk around the town, which gives you the chance to see some of the remaining castle earthworks and other interesting buildings within the town. Details of the walk can be downloaded here.(Hi resolution pdf - 17MB). The walk starts at the Budworth Hall, a short five minute stroll away from Ongar station (walk up the station approach road and turn right along the high street; alternatively ask the heritage bus conductor for the library stop in Ongar).
The Ongar United Reformed Church, located a short walk from Ongar station on the High Street, have an exhibition space which displays artefacts from the history of the church and local history in assocation with the Ongar Millenium History Society.
Website. Location: Greensted Road, Ongar
The oldest wooden church in the world, dating from the 11th century. A beautiful little church with Tudor chancel and crusaders grave. Tolpuddle Martyrs settled here after their pardon. The church is about 30 minutes walk from Ongar Station. See our "Steam and Spires" suggested itinerary.
Other local attractions
Go to the Visit Epping Forest website to discover more information about history and heritage, events and attractions, fine food and drink and places to explore, stay and relax.
Also you can view the Visit Essex website for more inspriation and attractions in Essex.
The following local attractions make an ideal add-on to your visit to the Epping Ongar Railway.
Location: A128 Chipping Ongar to Brentwood road at Kelvedon Hatch.
(Opening Hours and Prices on website)
The biggest and deepest cold war bunker open to the public in southeast England! Witness the three lives of the bunker starting with its role as an RAF ROTOR Station, then a brief period as a civil defence centre through to its most recent life as a Regional Government HQ. Designed for up to 600 military and civilian personnel - possibly even the Prime Minister - with their collective task being to organise the survival of the population in the awful aftermath of a nuclear war.
The bunker site has recently expanded to include Rope Runners, the first high-wire adventure in Essex, offering an adrenaline packed for all the family. They also offer paintballing, water zorbing, air rifle shooting and archery.
Our 339 bus to Shenfield passes nearby.
North Weald Airfield was established in 1916, was in front line service during the Battle of Britain and is still very active, not only being used for aviation, but also a wide range of other sporting and leisure activities. It also hosts the UK's largest open air market, every Saturday. North Weald Airfield boasts some of the best aviation facilities in Eastern England, with it's long tarmac runways, engineering services for all types of both historic and contemporary aircraft and its excellent volunteer fire service.
The Airfield museum is housed in the former RAF North Weald Station Office. It is adjacent to what was the main entrance to this former Battle of Britain Fighter Station. The museum sets out to tell the story of a famous airfield that has protected London during two world wars. The story is told in displays, with photographs, artefacts and personal memories.
Our 339 bus between North Weald and Epping passes the entrance. Ask the conductor for the correct stop.
The Essex Way
Open all year, FREE admission.
The Essex Way is a long-distance path stretching right across the County of Essex from Epping Tube station in the south-west to the port of Harwich in the north-east, covering a distance of 81 miles. The path leads you through ancient woodlands, open farmland, tree-lined river valleys and leafy green lanes, unveiling historic towns and villages along the way. The path runs parallel to the railway between Epping, North Weald and Ongar, and offers an ideal way to stretch your legs exploring our beautiful countryside between stations, and perhaps also snap some pictures of the trains passing.
Ashlyns Farm Shop, Restaurant & Experience, North Weald
Ashlyns offers a wide range of local farm produce, where you can get a taste of this part of Essex. The accompanying restaurant services a wide range of dishes, many of which have ingredients sourced from the local area, cutting down "food miles".
Other sites for inspiration
Visit England - The official site for English tourism, for general information on family days out
Day Out With The Kids - An easy to use website for finding places to visit with your family all over the UK. Searchable by age of kids, county, town, postcode and indoor or outdoor attraction.
Essex Tourist Guide - A guide to Essex hotels, accommodation, restaurants, Essex wedding venues, tourist attractions, places to visit and things to do in the county of Essex.
North Weald Village Life - has information about what's on in the North Weald Community.
Epping Forest Woodland Burial Park - is located alongside part of the line, and is open to the public to walk through and enjoy. The park offers an ideal place to see the woodland being managed, and you may even glimpse the trains passing.
Mountnessing Windmill - This is a medium sized post windmill from 1807 and still in working order and occasionally making flour. The mill makes for an ideal exploration in the agricultural past of the farming heritage of Essex.
Stock Windmill - This is slightly later, Grade II* listed and built in 1816. It has a brick tower, and is also still in working order and visitors can explore over the 5 floors. There is also the nearby Stock Heritage Centre.
Ingatestone Hall - The Hall was built during the reign of Henry VIII and retains many of its original features. It stands in open countryside, one mile from the village of Ingatestone and substantially retains its original Tudor form and appearance with its mullioned windows, high chimneys, crow-step gables and oak-panelled rooms and is surrounded by ten acres of enclosed gardens comprising extensive lawns, walled garden and stew pond. Please check their website for opening details.
Hyde Hall Gardens - This Royal Horticultural Society property comprises of 360 acres of gardens, offering something to see in any season. The gardens are in a low rainfall area and the poor soil conditions makes it a challenging area for gardening and demonstrates how it is possible to create a garden of beauty by working with the prevailing conditions. In addition nearby to the railway, Blake Hall gardens are occasionally open through the National Garden Scheme.
Long journey? Staying overnight? Need accommodation near the railway?
Search for accommodation in Ongar by checking HotelsCombined.
Please visit the accommodation pages on the Visit Epping Forest website which can search local accommodation providers. There are peer reviewed list of accommodation on the popular Trip Advisor website.
General Sites for Rail Enthusiasts
The heritage railway association has a guide to member heritage railways in the UK and Ireland, including details of special events and operating days. This site includes a map showing all heritage railways.
London Transport Museum explores the story of London and its transport system over the last 200 years, highlighting the powerful link between transport and the growth of modern London, culture and society since 1800.