Bury St Edmunds

People are enamoured with the United Kingdom because of its culture, its history and its many idiosyncrasies. Bury St. Edmunds is one of the many British market towns that is rather like a living monument and shows off all these qualities.


It was over 1,500 years that the town came into being. Back then it existed merely as a small settlement. You can get a real sense of what life was like in the sixth century at the West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village Historic Site. This is a remarkable imitation of how the community functioned all those centuries ago, with special events put on throughout the year. Within the 125-acre site there is also a display centre for archaeological finds, a nature trail, a children's play area, a cafe and a shop.

Perhaps the most famous attraction, however, is the ruined abbey, near the centre of town. This was built in the ninth century as a tribute to Edmund, the Saxon King of East Angles (and, if you haven't guessed, this is where the town gets it name from!). The remains of the abbey continue to be a popular destination among visitors, surrounded as they are by beautiful gardens. Also within the precincts of the abbey is St. Edmundsbury Cathedral. Admission is free (although you are welcome to make donations) and now is a particularly good time to visit as a new Gothic revival lantern has recently been completed. The abbey and cathedral also host the Bury St. Edmunds Festival, which takes place every May, offering a diverse programme of musical performances.

As well being rich in history, Bury St. Edmunds also has a very strong cultural identity. This is largely bound up in the Theatre Royal, an institution that can only be described properly as a national treasure. Situated on Westgate Street, it is one of the only Regency theatres left in the country. Performances are on throughout the whole year and restoration work has recently been undertaken to ensure this will continue for many more generations.

Another cultural landmark is one of the best art galleries in the region, located at Market Cross. There are eight exhibitions of art and craftwork throughout the year, featuring pieces from budding local talent, as well as more established work from around Britain and abroad. You may also wish to venture a little further out to visit the Haverhill Arts Centre.

Bury (as the locals call it) is also home to the Greene King Brewery, where the famous IPA India pale ale is produced. It is certainly worth a trip to the brewery museum, shop and off-licence. An entertaining tour is offered, where you can view the inner workings of a real brewhouse and, of course, sample some of the beers too. If this doesn't quench your thirst, you can also visit the Old Cannon Brewery, which is near to the railway station.

There are also various interesting places scattered around the periphery of Bury St. Edmunds. Three miles southwest of the town centre (on the A143) is Ickworth House. This is an astonishing eighteenth-century manor house that is notable for its enormous rotunda. Opening times for the house vary depending on the season, but the exquisite Capability Brown-designed gardens and parkland are open all year. For a more active experience, the 200-acre country estate, Nowton Park, offers picnic spaces, football pitches and a children?s play area.


Bury St. Edmunds offers a great mix of the old and the new when it comes to shopping. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the town buzzes when the market opens at Buttermarket and Cornhill. One of the best in East Anglia, you can buy everything from pet food to seafood. There is, however, also a full compliment of high street stores in the town. The Cattle Market development, which plans to expand the centre, will soon add a number of new shops.

For treats and presents, the Corn Exchange Craft Market and the Craft Shop (at the art gallery) are ideal. They both have good reputations for selling very good quality craft and design.

Some of the main advantages of going shopping in Bury are the many traffic-free zones and the good parking.

Nightlife and Eating Out

For something to eat, there are a number of good British, Italian, Indian, Chinese and Mexican restaurants to choose from. In particular, Peggotty's, which is on Guildhall Street, offers Sunday roasts, a salad bar and a vegetarian menu. Another is a restaurant called Somewhere Else, at Langton Place, offering English and Continental meals. It has also been recommended by the Sunday Times. Finally, the Abbeygate Restaurant at Angel Hotel was awarded two rosettes for its fine food and excellent service.

There are plenty of good traditional pubs around town, many of which serve food. These include the Queen's Head, the Spread Eagle and The Bushel. If you like an intimate environment, there is the Nutshell, just off the marketplace. This is famous for being Britain's smallest public house.

If you want to relax in front of a film, there is the Hollywood Film Theatre on Hatter Street, or the larger 8 screen Cineworld complex, which is located at The Parkway.

Tourist Information

6 Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds Suffolk IP33 1UZ

Tel.: +44 (0)1284 764667 or 757083Fax: +44 (0)1284 757084tic@stedsbc.gov.uk


Stansted Airport is situated near the Bishop's Stortford exit on the M11 and is about one hour away by car. As a growing international airport, there are also good bus services from here too.

Birmingham Airport is two hours (by road) to the west of Bury St. Edmunds. Luton and Southend are both within the same radius.

Cambridge Airport is to the West and around forty minutes by car or bus. There is a rail connection between Cambridge and Bury.

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