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8 Ways to Welcome Autumn

As we leave the warm, hazy days of summer, thoughts turn to chunky knits, country walks, roaring fires and falling leaves.

Embrace the cooler weather and check out these 8 ways to see the seasons change in Bury St Edmunds & Beyond...

1. Get lost in the maze at Nowton Park

Nowton Park is home to a fantastic maze in the shape of a stylised oak tree (in commemoration of the Oakes family who were the former estate owners). The maze is open from May to October every year and is south of the park. 

It is made up of 2,500 hornbeam trees which create over two miles of hedging which are maintained at a height of around two metres. If you find it, the centre of the maze is marked by a fastigiate oak (with upright branches), so it's the perfect place to spend a few hours collecting acorns and leaves and looking for conkers. Once you've made it out, head to the Grounds Cafe for hot chocolates and cake!

2. Take a stroll around Clare Castle

A visit to the Wool Town of Clare would not be complete without seeing Clare Castle Country Park. Your first stop should be the Castle ruins - the 13th century stone keep castle is set upon a 70ft high moat overlooking the town, where panoramic views of the surrounding countryside await you. 

Afterwards, follow the footpaths through the trees and along the banks of the River Stour and along the old railway line to see trees and plant life plus birds and wildlife found along the waters edge.

Once you've worked up an appetite, grab a bite to eat in the park's cafe or head into the town or to a country pub nearby.

3. Go for a morning jog through the Abbey Gardens

What better way to start your day than with a bracing run, taking in the dewy autumn air than with a job through the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds. In autumn, leaves will crunch your feet as you run; starting at the Great Gate and travelling past the Appleby Rose Garden, the Pilgrims Herb Garden and past the Abbey Ruins. 

After your run, take a rest in the Sensory Garden or head to The Garden Cafe to warm up with a cup of tea or coffee. 

4. Enjoy a stay in a glamping pod at West Stow

Embrace the autumn and spend a night under the stars with a stay in a megapod at West Stow Pods. Listed by The Guardian as one of the best glamping sites in the UK, here you can sit amongst the trees and watch a leaves fall, set off on a bike ride around the next door West Stow Country Park, or simply soak up the peace and tranquillity with a glass of wine.

As the nights turn colder, you can stay warm and cosy inside as the pods are heated, and make the most of the outside BBQ and toast marshmallows over the fire. 

5. Get muddy with Explore 4x4

At Explore 4 x 4, the muddier it is, the better! Autumn is the perfect time to explore Elveden Forest; here you can try 4x4 off road driving, clay pigeon shooting, archery, crossbows and even weekend survival and team challenges. 

The 4 x 4 team are experienced ex-military so be prepared to be put through your paces with extreme challenges being conducted in all weather conditions! 

6. Follow the Autumn Trail at National Trust Ickworth 

Pick up an activity sheet from the Porter's Lodge and walk along Geraldine's Walk to discover more about the bats who call National Trust Ickworth their home. 

Alternatively, the Ickworth Garden Tree Walk will take you on stroll around the Italianate garden to the rear of the property. Look out for the various trees and shrubs that have stood here for hundreds of years in particular the Cedar of Lebanon, the Lucombe oak and the Banana tree.

Afterwards, if the weather is dry, find a spot to enjoy a picnic or pay a visit to one of the eateries including the Squash Court Cafe and Porter Lodge Cafe; both serving a selection hot food, snacks and hot drinks.

7. Spooky happenings at Kentwell Hall

The largest and best-known scare attraction in East Anglia, Kentwell Hall's 'Scarevesville' runs from 3rd - 31st October, and what better way to welcome in the autumn than with a visit to The Haunted Village.

The award-winning scare event lasts around an hour an hour and takes you through dark rooms, across open grounds and water and through haunted forests and gardens. There are no safe zones, so those of a mild disposition may not make it to the end! 

Children and families may prefer a slightly less adrenaline-inducing experience though, so pop along to Kentwell's School of Sorcery and Magic, where new students (and grown up ones!) can learn magical things in the Magic Class, the Potion Class, the Fairy Identification Class (and hunt!) and the Illusion Class. 

There are plenty of opportunities to get crafty too; make your own wand, and learn how to use it, and collect stamps to add to your report card for when you visit the Headmaster!

You can also join in with Halloween inspired challenges including the Dragon Woods, Fear Alley, Tunnel of Light, Assault Course and the Broomstick Challenge.

These are very popular events so booking early is advised!

8. Take in the views!

Where better to see the changing of the seasons with your own eyes than from way up high. There are two places that offer panoramic views of the surrounding Suffolk countryside; St Edmundsbury Cathedral and the Greene King Brewery.

Tours of the Cathedral Tower take place from May to October and can be booked at the Cathedral Tourist Information Point within the Cathedral Shop. The tour takes you up the 160ft tower (don't worry there are various stopping points!). Along the way you can look out over the South Transept roof and over the Gallery onto the Quire. Finally you will make you way to the area above the vaulted ceiling before visiting the roof with its awe-inspiring views.

If you would prefer a slightly less taxing ascent and one that is scented with hops, then join one of the daily public tours of the Greene King Brewery. 

The guided tour lasts approximately 1 hour 40 minutes and takes you around the historic working brew house where you can see where many of the nation’s favourite ales are brewed, including Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale. 

The tour includes a trip up to the roof where you are greeted with fabulous panoramic views of the historic town, followed by a tutored beer tasting in the Greene King Beer Café.