In January 2020, I became a columnist for Essex Life magazine, writing about doggy days out in and around the county. Here is my article about Harlow…
What to see
Art lovers will be in their element in Harlow, which became the world’s first Sculpture Town in 2010. There are more than 100 public sculptures dotted around this 1950s ‘New Town’ – look out for the works by Auguste Rodin and Henry Moore. We were also quite taken with Willi Soukop’s cute little Donkey, which has previously been voted Harlow’s favourite sculpture.
There are five different sculpture trails to follow, ranging from a quick spin around the town centre to a 10.5-mile trek. Check out the maps online or head to the Gibberd Gallery next to the Civic Centre, which offers a number of guided walking or bus tours.
Another great place to see the sculptures is along the River Stort Navigation – the canalised section of the River Stort. Once upon a time, it was a popular route for barges carrying grain to Bishop’s Stortford but today it is a great place to enjoy a walk. Park in Burnt Mill Lane then follow the towpath to Moorhen Marina or towards Parndon Mill Lock.
Harlow Town Park is also well worth a visit – and the name is very deceptive! It is actually one of the largest urban parks in the country, spanning more than 160 acres. In fact, the whole of Harlow is a lot greener than you would expect. The park was designed by Dame Sylvia Crowe and has everything from paddling pools to walled gardens, a skate park and a bandstand. There is even has a little petting zoo, although this is not dog-friendly.
Where to eat
Dogs are very welcome both inside and out at The Greyhound, in School Lane. This lovely weatherboarded pub, in the heart of Harlow Town Park, serves up a range of traditional pub classics and also has a resident dog. Spurriers House Café is also located in the park and is renowned for its pizzas. Pets aren’t allowed inside but there is a large outdoor terrace. It’s also a great place to grab a takeaway tea or coffee mid-walk.
The Cock Inn, in Paycock Road, and The Shark, in Hobtoe Road, both have pet-friendly bar areas, while the two pubs along the River Stort Navigation – The Moorhen and The Dusty Miller – allow dogs in their beer gardens.
While you’re in the area
Check out Old Harlow – the historic part of this New Town. Head for Harlow Museum and explore the beautiful Walled Gardens next-door, where dogs on leads are welcome. The museum is housed in the stable block of the former Mark Hall Manor House, which once hosted Queen Elizabeth I. Mark Hall Park is also a great place to take a stroll with your four-legged friend.