Blog

7 Reasons to Visit Bury St Edmunds & Beyond This Summer

Discoveries, surprises and beauty in abundance awaits you in historic Bury St Edmunds, especially in summer!

Only 35 minutes from Cambridge, just under an hour from the Suffolk coast and just over 90 minutes from London, where else offers visitors so much in such a perfect location?

1. To uncover Bury St Edmunds' incredible history

With one of the most important medieval monasteries in Europe and a history linking Saint Edmund, the Magna Carta, Henry VI, Mary Tudor Queen of France, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, you’ll be amazed by Bury St Edmunds’ unique history. Remnants of this heritage are evident throughout the town. Take a stroll or guided walk around the ruins in the Abbey Gardens. Visit Suffolk’s only cathedral with its incredible millennial history. Stop by Moyses Hall Museum to learn about the local characters and stories of the past. And take time to discover St Mary’s Church, the Angel Hotel, the Athenaeum, the Suffolk Regiment Museum and the historical buildings dotted throughout town. 

Out of town, West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village delves even further into the area’s history, recreating Anglo-Saxon life. South-west of town, Ickworth House, Park and Gardens, owned by the National Trust, documents this spectacular estate’s tales and origins. 

2. To enjoy the town's green spaces and parks

You’ll find exceptional open spaces in and near Bury St Edmunds - the perfect places to soak up the sun on a warm summer’s day. The Abbey Gardens are a perennial favourite with locals and visitors, especially in summer when you can expect to see up to 20,000 flowers in bloom in the pristine flowerbeds.

Nowton Park, with its wild flower meadows, woodland and hornbeam maze is also well worth a visit, along with the wildlife haven of Lackford Lakes, the heath and woods of West Stow Country Park, and the grand neoclassical formal gardens and parkland of Ickworth House, Park and Gardens.

Suffolk’s patchwork fields and gentle countryside provide a wealth of choices for excursions, whether you’re picnicking or seeking Sunday lunch in a welcoming country pub.

3. For Family Fun

Bury St Edmunds is a great destination for all the family. As well as plenty of space to run around, the Abbey Gardens, Nowton Park, West Stow Country Park and Ickworth House and Gardens are all home to large well-equipped play areas.  

Opening in July, Bury St Edmunds Guildhall Opening on 14th July 2018, The Guildhall is the oldest surviving Civic Building in the UK!

The RAF’s WWII Royal Observer Corps Operations Centre Headquarters room will be fully interactive as will the Tudor Kitchen, the external courtyards and open gardens, brought to life with live re-enactors and volunteers to guide you around the building on a journey through time.

Entertainment is also readily available at the Abbeygate Cinema, Cineworld, the Theatre Royal and the Apex, and kids can burn off their energy at CurveMotion and Planet Laser.

Melford Hall, High Lodge in Thetford Forest and Family Fun Days at Newmarket Racecourse offer further opportunities for fantastic days out.

4. For unique places to stay

Want to stay in the same hotel room as Charles Dickens? Book Room 215 at the Angel Hotel, where Dickens stayed in 1859 and 1861. Angelina Jolie was also a guest at this Georgian coaching inn while filming Tomb Raider, and Pierce Brosnan spent his nights here while shooting parts of Tomorrow Never Dies at RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath.

Nearby, Ickworth Hotel is another inimitable choice. This stately home, now owned by the National Trust, was the residence of the Hervey family from 1702 to 1996 or why not book a stay at one of England’s finest Tudor houses, Kentwell Hall. The historic home, which is fully moated and reached by two original bridges offers a range of accommodation to suit all sizes of groups.

If you're looking for somewhere completely unique to stay, the West Stow Glamping Pods will definitely be for you! The glamping site is located within West Stow Country Park, with pods nestled amongst the woodland. There are 4 cosy megapods, a Woodland Lodge and the halfling inspired ‘Pod Hollow’ a subterranean dwelling built into the side of a grassy knoll.

5. For nights out and entertainment

With the only regency playhouse left in Britain, a visit to Bury St Edmunds provides an exclusive opportunity to enjoy a pre-Victorian theatre at the Theatre Royal. And if you love live music, the Apex is known for its exceptional acoustics. It’s also a great place to watch dance and performing arts performances and enjoy a good laugh at the monthly Fat Cat Comedy Club.

This summer, Euston Park plays host to a weekend of fantastic open air concerts with Tom Jones, Il Divo and Madness while Kentwell Hall has a programme of outdoor screenings on offer including The Greatest Showman, The Blues Brothers, The Jungle Book, La Boheme, The Barber of Seville and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (check out our Summer Gig Guide for festivals and concerts).

6. For the outstanding food & drink

Bury St Edmunds is a foodie’s haven. With locally grown high quality produce available on their doorsteps, the restaurants and eateries in town and the surrounding area are proud of their varied and delicious menus. Whether you’re looking for fine dining, contemporary food, hearty fare or international cuisine, you’re spoilt for choice.  Check out our Eating & Drinking Guide for inspiration!

Coffee lover? Tea drinker? Cocktail sipper? You’ll find your perfect tipple in the cafés, tea rooms and bars around town. With the Greene King Brewery, Old Cannon microbrewery and more than its fair share of pubs, Bury St Edmunds is also the perfect place for beer drinkers.

And when the weather is warm, what better way to cool down that with a delicious ice cream; check out Bury St Edmunds and Beyond’s top places to slurp an ice cream!

7. To relax and recharge

If you need a break from the high-speed pace of modern life, a stay in Bury St Edmunds to explore the town and surrounding areas is the ideal antidote. A town best discovered at walking pace, you can step back in time in historic surroundings or take a big breath of fresh air in the parks and surrounding countryside before pampering yourself or enjoying a leisurely afternoon tea. 

What are you waiting for?