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10 ways to spend a lazy Sunday in Bury St Edmunds and Beyond

Lazy Sundays are good for the soul – so make your way to Bury St Edmunds and the nearby villages to revitalise in idyllic surroundings.

Here’s our top ten ways to spend a leisurely Sunday and recharge your batteries.   

1. Park life

Watch the clouds drift by as you stretch out on a picnic blanket or take a seat in one of Bury St Edmunds’ first-rate parks and gardens. 

Enjoy forty winks among the Abbey ruins in the Abbey Gardens or behold the well-tended blooms from a quiet corner in the formal gardens. Visit Fullers Mill Garden (pictured) in West Stow, an enchanting and tranquil waterside and woodland garden, situated on the banks of the River Lark (2 April – 29 September 2017). 

Rest under the shade of a tree in Nowton Park or Hardwick Heath or find solace in the nearby country parks at West Stow, Long Melford, or Clare.

2. Country estates

Uniquely marvellous, Ickworth House is a very fine place to spend a Sunday, and just a short drive from Bury St Edmunds. This neoclassical mansion, with its famous central rotunda, is now owned by the National Trust and can be enjoyed at leisure, along with the Italianate garden and pleasure grounds. 

At Melford Hall, the Hyde Parker family are still in residence but visitors are cordially invited to enjoy this Elizabethan manor. Unwind on a sofa in the Grand Hall, where a painting by cousin Beatrix Potter hangs, or take a stroll in the beautiful gardens. 

Kentwell Hall is one of England’s finest Tudor houses, surrounded by the most extensive moat in the county and nearly 30 acres of formal gardens and grounds. The house offers the visitor a journey through time from the Great Tudor Kitchen, the Gothic centre block to the State bedroom that was created by Thomas Hopper in the 1820s for a visit from the then Duke of York. 

Home to the Dukes of Grafton for over 350 years, Euston Hall is an elegant red-brick Palladian house boasting a superb collection of Stuart art, as well as fine objets d' art and furniture. It has recently undergone an extensive restoration, which makes it a beautiful and historically fascinating destination to visit. Spend your Sunday enjoying the landscaped park and formal gardens, waterways, the charming Church of St Genevieve and the watermill. 

3. Café culture 

Hungry late risers are spoilt for choice in Bury St Edmunds. For a delicious Sunday brunch, head to one of the excellent independent cafés and delis in town, such as the Suffolk Carver, Baileys2 or the Bay Tree Café. Or why not spend a leisurely afternoon sipping coffee, reading the papers and watching the world go by? 

Take a look at our 'Coffee Lovers Guide to Independent Cafes' for more inspiration.

4. Sunday Spa-days 

Make your Sunday sublime by visiting one of the fabulous spas near Bury St Edmunds. Revive in the pool, sauna and steam room at the Bannatyne Spa and All Saints Hotel or recharge in the countryside at Weavers’ House Spa at The Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa. With the family? Head to The Ickworth Hotel for treatments and pampering while the kids splash about in the pool. 

5. Step back in time

With over 1000 years of history to discover, Bury St Edmunds has a fascinating past! You can find out more at one of the many museums and historic buildings located in the town.

Moyse's Hall Museum is a medieval museum housing rich and eclectic collections and changing exhibitions, and hosts events ranging from themed craft workshops for all the family to historical talks and lectures. Steeped in history, Moyse's Hall has looked out over Bury St Edmunds market place for almost 900 years.

Dating back to 1279, Bury St Edmunds Guildhall is the oldest continuously-used civic building in Britain and proudly boasts a World War Two Royal Observer Corps Control Centre – the only surviving room of its kind in the country. Spend your Sunday viewing the interactive displays and collections which take you on a journey through time and history. 

Open on the 1st Sunday of each month (and every Wednesday) Suffolk Regiment Museum tells the story of the regiment from its foundation in 1685 to amalgamation with the Royal Norfolk Regiment in 1959. The history covers the regular, militia, volunteer and war-time battalions as well as the experience of individual soldiers and is told through medals, uniforms, photographs, weapons, equipment and personal memorabilia. 

After wandering the cobbled streets of the picturesque town of Lavenham, visit the Lavenham Guildall and discover some wonderful stories, character connections and fascinating facts from the building's past. Take a journey of discovery over five centuries of history; seen through the eyes of the people who lived and worked here. After exploring the building, stop by the courtyard garden and Tudor tearoom for scones and tea. 

Plan a weekend discovering Bury St Edmunds fascinating past with this history-lovers weekend itinerary.

6. Pub lunches 

What could be better than Sunday lunch in a cosy pub? In Suffolk, you’ll find fresh local produce on the menu alongside locally brewed beer and cider. 

Popular choices in town include the Old Cannon Brewery, the One Bull and the Masons Arms while the Queen's Head in Hawkedon, the Cadogan in Ingham and the Crown in Hartest are among the many wonderful country pubs nearby. 

Check out our guide to Sunday Lunches in Bury St Edmunds & Beyond!

7. Afternoon tea 

Too late for lunch? Just worked off your brunch? Thank goodness for afternoon tea! You can eat fantastic food all day if you choose in Bury St Edmunds – and afternoon tea in the historic surroundings of the Angel Hotel, The Northgate or Harriet’s Tea Rooms is an absolute delight. 

 For something a bit different, Ben's Restaurant also offers a Gentleman's Afternoon Tea, whilst The Ickworth serves a delectable range of sandwiches, cakes and pastries in the historic Conservatory, Drawing Room, Library or Terrace.

If you enjoy a round of golf or two, then head to The Priory Hotel; after which you can tuck into pots of tea and scones, or head to the medieval wool towns of Lavenham and book a table at The Swan Hotel. 

8. Catch a flick 

The independently owned Abbeygate Cinema, which dates back to the 1920, is something of an institution in Bury St Edmunds. In this charming movie theatre, you can catch the latest mainstream films as well as an eclectic mix of arthouse and independent titles. The adjacent No4 restaurant and bar also serves great drinks, meals and snacks. The eight-screen Cineworld offers visitors further options. Who’s for popcorn?  

9. Get back to nature  

Watch dragonflies skitter above a lake, butterflies dance in the sun and kingfishers dive for their lunch in the nature reserves near Bury St Edmunds. Unplugging from modern life and spending time reconnecting with nature is hugely beneficial to all of us. Take it all in at Nowton Park, West Stow Country Park, Lackford Lakes, Hardwick Heath, Brandon Country Park, Ickworth House, Park & Gardens, Fullers Mill Gardens and the historic Abbey Gardens.

10. Stay until Monday 

For the ultimate lazy Sunday, book a room in a superb hotel or bed and breakfast and let the Sunday feeling last until Monday. 

Boutique hotels with history, charming bed and breakfasts, sumptuous rural cottages, country houses, and luxury apartments, there is an abundance of choice.

You can sleep in Charles Dickens’ favourite room in a contemporary boutique hotel, relax in a Tudor house, or sleep under the stars while experiencing luxury glamping.

You deserve it!  Plan your stay with our 'Where to Stay' guide! 

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