Blog

5 Reasons to Choose Bury St Edmunds and Beyond for a shopping weekend

If you love to shop, there’s few places more inviting or charming than historic Bury St Edmunds. Big brands and high street names can be found alongside independent boutiques and stores, and the surrounding villages and market towns are great places to source arts and crafts. For shopaholics, it’s a recipe for a perfect weekend. 

1.Combine heritage with the contemporary

Love fashion and modern design? Love history, Georgian architecture and natural beauty too? In Bury St Edmunds, you don’t have to choose between the two. Shoppers can find all their favourite brands and the latest fashions in this uniquely special town.

Bury St Edmunds is a vibrant, friendly and exceptionally pleasurable place to shop. The town centre is dotted with historically important buildings, some of which date back to the Middle Ages. 

Abbeygate Street, the Buttermarket and the Traverse form the historical centre. Here, Marks & Spencer, Laura Ashley, White Stuff, Sea Salt and EAST nestle among independent retailers selling a range of clothes, shoes, jewellery, gifts, toys, food and homewares.    

You’ll also find a mix of large and small retailers catering to eclectic tastes on St John's Street and the roads leading off from Abbeygate Street including Hatter Street and Whiting Street. 

2. The arc shopping centre

The £60 million arc development, built on the site of the former cattle market, adds a modern dimension to Bury St Edmunds. Here you’ll find Debenhams located in a striking futuristic building: sand-cast aluminium panels have been used to create a free-flowing curved surface with a shiny metallic finish comprising thousands of diamonds.

The arc is also home to many other fashion favourites, including Next, Fat Face, Joules, Animal, Monsoon, Accessorize, River Island, Clarks, H & M and New Look.

After you’ve stocked up on new season trends or sale bargains, spoil yourself or someone special at Pandora, Swarovski, Smiggle, Paperchase, Waterstones, The Perfume Shop or L’Occitane.

3. Bury St Edmunds’ historic market

The street market, held on Cornhill and the Buttermarket, on Wednesdays and Saturdays has been a feature in Bury St Edmunds since the 11th century and is still considered one of the best provision markets in East Anglia.

Livestock and corn may no longer be sold but you can still find fresh fruit and vegetables in abundance every Wednesday and Saturday, as well as fish, meat, eggs, coffee, locally baked bread, flowers, jewellery, cards, homewares, clothes, fabric, hardware, pet food and many other speciality items.

You can also grab lunch or a quick bite from the hot food vendors if you want to maximise your shopping time! 

4. Relax and recharge

If you’ve shopped till you’ve dropped, revive in a fantastic range of cafés and eateries that includes award-winning restaurants, independent bistros, historic pubs and revitalising cafés and tea rooms.

There’s something for every taste and budget in Bury St Edmunds. Treat yourself to an exceptional lunch at 1921, Maison Bleue, Pea Porridge or the Angel Hotel or recharge with a cup of coffee or tea and a tasty meal or snack in a cosy café. 

Bury St Edmund’s many pubs are also popular spots for satisfying meals and a restorative post-shopping drink. Well-known restaurants, including Prezzo, Café Rouge and Pizza Express, as well as a variety of vibrant bars, offer even more choice for flagging shoppers. 

5. Beyond Bury St Edmunds

In Suffolk’s historic ‘wool towns’, you’ll discover true craftsmanship as well as traditional and contemporary art, gifts, toys, individual homewares, antiques and clothes.

In Lavenham, don’t miss the Angel Gallery and the Wildlife Gallery. At Bridge Farm Barns in nearby Monks Eleigh, there’s lots more to see in four independent shops. The largest, Corn Craft, sells gifts, jewellery, local prints and ceramics as well as Suffolk corn dollies.

In the beautiful village of Kersey, pick up a unique pot from the Kersey Pottery Studio and Shop. At the glass and craft painting café in Kersey Mill, adults and children can have fun designing their own creations.


In Long Melford, the Hunter Gallery offers contemporary paintings, sculpture and furniture. The tree-lined High Street is home an array of independent stores selling antiques, rugs, gifts and clothes among other items.

The ancient market town of Sudbury is also home to a range of independent shops: visit on a fine Thursday or Saturday to discover the historic market in all its glory.

Suffolk's smallest town, Clare, is also well worth a visit including small boutiques, antiques shops and art galleries. For maritime art, visit Sea Pictures Gallery in the heart of the town.