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21 unmissable experiences in Bury St Edmunds this summer

Make the most of your trip to Bury St Edmunds & Beyond with these unmissable summer experiences!

There's something for everyone in Bury St Edmunds & Beyond summer; we've picked 21 unmissable events and activities that should be on your 'bucket list'...

1. Stowacynn in Summer at West Stow Anglo Saxon Village - 13th & 14th July

The site of an early Anglo-Saxon village, occupied from AD 420-650, over 400 years before the Norman Conquest, West Stow Anglo Saxon Village is one of England's great archaeological sites and a must-visit during a trip to Bury St Edmunds. West Stow is home to extensive indoor galleries and a stunning recreation of an Anglo-Saxon village surrounded by 125 acres of unspoilt countryside.

Come to West Stow on 13th & 14th July history will be brought to life as costume group 'Stowacynn' enjoy the arrival of Summer; demonstrating crafts and preparing for their feast in the evening. 

2. Embrace the great outdoors at Explore 4x4

Explore 4x4 are Award Winning Outdoor Pursuits and Survival Adventure Specialists. Offering a range of tailor-made activities to suit individuals, couples, families, corporate and all other groups including Clay Pigeon Shooting, 4x4 Off Road Driving, Military Survival Adventures and Skid Pan Control. You can test your hand at Crossbows, Archery, Axe, Knife and Spear Throwing too, to name but a few!

Based on the stunning Elveden Estate, there's also a restaurant, cafe, pub, tearoom and lifestyle shops to explore. and are open all year round. Pre booking is essential - visit http://www.explore-4x4.co.uk/

3. Summer of Science at Palace House - 20th July - 1st September

Visit the home of British horce racing at Palace House in Newmarket, and this summer join in the huge array of family science activities centred around the George Stubbs exhibition looking at biology, the human body, animal bodies and comparative anatomy. 

Children can discover more about George Stubbs in the ‘studio lab’ by putting on a white coat, measuring bones and sketching skulls! In the Thompson Gallery families can make their way around the carousel of Science Stations and learn more about the anatomy and how our bodies work! 

There's a range of workshops which explore the science of the equine world being held, to find out more visit https://www.palacehousenewmarket.co.uk/visiting/summer-2019

4. Plant it, grow it, eat it at Ickworth Hall - 20th July

The stunning Georgian Italianate palace of Ickworth House is the perfect country home to enjoy a picnic and day out this summer. 

In the pretty walled garden, children can learn all about the plants that are grown at Ickworth and how to take care of them, before planting their own to take home!

For more information, visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/c7bcab27-640b-4061-bf7f-9dcb90346c0e/pages/details

5. Magic Weekend at Kentwell Hall 20th & 21st July

Are you ready to enter into the world of witches, wizards, fairies, dragons, alchemists, wise women, pixies and lots more! Kentwell Hall is being transformed and taken over by fairies, knights and other mythical beings on 20th and 21st July.

Throughout the weekend there will be magic shows, fairy crafts, wand making, owl flying and displays, Ostrua the Dryad and her Magical Music, Dream Tailors, Arthurian Knights and much more! Pay a visit to the Fairytale Cottage and Magic Tavern, learn tricks and magic and watch the live shows!

For more information visit http://www.kentwell.co.uk/events/costume-all/magic-weekend

6. Children's crafts - An Italian Summer at Ickworth Hall - 24th July - 12th August

Taking place throughout the summer at National Trust Ickworth Hall, Park & Gardens, children can join guides in celebrating the hall's Italian roots and take a grand tour across Italy; enjoying craft sessions using items they find from around the estate. 

The gardens are the perfect place to enjoy a family picnic too, after a wander at leisure across 1800 acres of parkland, the children’s play area is the perfect picnic spot for families to explore without going too far. 

7. Follow the summer trail at Nowton Park - 25th July - 15th August

One of Bury St Edmund's prettiest parks, families can follow the summer trail around Nowton Park from 25th July - 15th August. Trail sheets are available from the Grounds Cafe, where you can also stop for lunch, snacks and drinks part if you need refreshment through the trail!

The park is home to a unique arboretum with trees from around the world such as eucalyptus from Australia, paperbark maple from China and Kentucky coffee trees from North America.

Children will love hunting for the panda which was carved in 1998 and placed in the China region, and finding the Nowton Park totem pole which stands 35.4 feet (10.8m) tall near the centre of the North American region of the arboretum.

8. Visit the Beatrix Potter Exhibition at Melford Hall

Did you know? Beatrix Potter was a frequent visitor to National Trust Melford Hall; visiting her cousins between 1899 and 1916. The Hall is home to some of the sketches which she created here and are inspired by the hall itself and surrounding countryside. 

This summer, the exhibition will show some of these rarely seen sketches and paintings daily in the Exhibition Hall from 12pm - 5pm. On 20th, 27th, 31st July and 10th, 17th and 24th August, the magical adventures of Peter Rabbit and his friends as written by Beatrix Potter will narrated by one story tellers (1pm - 3pm) and on 31st July from 12pm - 4pm, the hall will be celebrating it's connection to Beatrix Potter, with stories, a garden trail, character crafts and drawing. 

For more information visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/melford-hall

9. Outdoor Adventure Days at Nowton Park - 25th - 29th July

Let the kids go wild at Nowton Park from 25th - 29th July with a great selection of outdoor activities including archery, geocaching, camp fire cooking, fire lighting, orienteering, catapult building, forest games, bottle rockets, shelter building, woodland tools and more!

Taking place daily in the Walled Garden from 10am - 4pm, £4 per child (must be aged 8 years and over). 

Find out more and book at https://www.whatsonwestsuffolk.co.uk/whats-on/event/4901/explore-outdoor-adventure-day-nowton-park

10. Longbow Experience at West Stow Anglo Saxon Village - 28th July, 25th August

Join the skilled Archers from Arnor Archery at West Stow Anglo Saxon Village for a 1-hour Longbow experience! You will try a range of bow weights and learn all the basics required to appreciate the medieval longbow. Put your skills to the test in activities with the emphasis on actual shooting!

For more information, visit https://www.weststow.org/whats-on/details.cfm?id=457147&ins=605396

11. Follow the Theatre Royal Star Trail 

Discover Bury St Edmunds' own Hollywood Walk of Fame with the The Theatre Royal Star Trail! Pick up a Star Trail leaflet from the Visitor Information Points in the town (until 25th October), find all the stars and enter a draw for one of 10 prizes!

Each of the celebrities featured has performed at or has a connection with the historic Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds which celebrates its 200th birthday this year! Find Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Derek Jacobi, Joanna Lumley and many more!

12. Science Days at Bury St Edmunds Guildhall

Hands-on science and interactive stories in England’s oldest civic building, The Guildhall, are on offer this summer in central Bury St Edmunds. For more than 800 years, Bury St Edmunds Guildhall has been everything from a court to a library and a World War II control centre and this August sees the launch of its children’s holiday activities, designed to encourage the younger generation to marvel at the building and enjoy the garden while learning something new and having lots of fun.

The Guildhall has teamed up with Kinetic Science to offer these interactive science days including 'Getting Messy Making Slime' - 1st August, 'Experiments with magic liquids' - 8th August, 'Planting seeds and making a mini garden' - 15th August, 'Transporting an egg in a parachute' - 22nd August and 'Creating traffic lights in a test tube' - 29th August. 

The cost is £4 per child, there is no charge for adults, you can pay on the door and stay as long as you wish. These sessions are suitable for children aged 3 – 12.

For more information visit https://burystedmundsguildhall.org.uk/

13. Theatre in the Abbey Gardens - Private Lives - 2nd August

Bring a blanket, pack a picnic and tipple of your choice and settle down to watch Noel Coward's classic 'Private Lives' in the historic Abbey Gardens.

Presented by Heartbreak Productions Noël Coward's celebrated comedy promises to deliver an evening of sparkling entertainment, nostalgic music, and delicious one-liners.

For more information and tickets visit https://www.whatsonwestsuffolk.co.uk/whats-on/event/4782/open-air-theatre---private-lives

14. Explorer in Training: Bush Craft for Beginners at Ickworth Hall, Park & Gardens 

Calling all aspiring explorers! Join us the team at Ickworth Hall for a fun packed morning discovering the basics of bush craft and outdoor survival skills on 7th and 21st August from 10am - 1pm. Children will have the opportunity to get hands on with den building, fire lighting, foraging and shelter construction as well as exploring and learning more about nature through outdoor and sensory activities!

For more information, visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ickworth/whats-on

15. Storytelling with a Difference at Bury St Edmunds Guildhall 

The Guildhall and Quirkhouse Theatre will be joining forces this summer for story-telling with a difference! Expect acting, costumes and some audience participation in these stories, which are original and will give you a new view of the historic town of Bury St Edmunds.

Taking place every Wednesday from 2pm - 3pm, the story days include 'A Brief and Bloody History of Bury St Edmunds' - 7th August, 'The Fantastic History of St Edmunds' - 14th August, and 'A Gruesome History of Crime in Bury St Edmunds' - 21st August, 

If you like “Horrible Histories” you will love these!

For more information and to book visit https://burystedmundsguildhall.org.uk/ 

16. Teddy Bears Picnic at Melford Hall - 14th August

A delightful summer event taking place in the Walled Garden of National Trust Melford Hall; families are welcomed to bring along a picnic and their favourite soft toy to search for clues along the garden trail. Poorly bears can pay a visit to the teddy bear clinic and you can enjoy creating some Teddy crafts to take home. 

For more information visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/a4157008-302f-4498-a917-c18cad376c06/pages/details

17. Meet Peppa Pig at Arc Shopping Centre - 17th August

From 11am - 3.30pm on 17th August, Peppa Pig herself will be leaving behind her muddy puddles to visit the Arc Shopping Centre to meet her special fans.

Little one's can meet the cheeky pig and have a photo in Charter Square at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

18. Craft Kids Mermaid Workshop at The Apex - 21st August

Children aged 7+ can join in the Crafty Foxes mermaid inspired morning of fun at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds. Make a mermaid resin keyring or a fresh water pearl necklace, with juice and biscuit also included in the £15 ticket price.

For more information and to book visit https://www.theapex.co.uk/whats-on/details.cfm?id=482347&ins=637391

19. Alice in Wonderland Exhibition at Moyse's Hall Museum - Until 1st September

The unique and imaginative illustrations of John Tenniel from the 1st edition of 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Alice Through the Looking Glass' are showcased at Moyse’s Hall Museum for a limited time only this summer!

John Tenniel lived in London and worked as a political cartoonist for Punch Magazine. In 1864 he was approached by author Lewis Carroll with the request for him to illustrate a small nonsense book for Children that he wished to publish.

This exhibition will host about half of the illustrations created specially for Lewis Carroll's famous novel along with a range of fascinating objects associated with the stories.

‘A Summer of Stories’ coincides with the Looking in Wonderland exhibition. Visitors are invited to come and step inside the pages of the children’s classic with the chance to see a fascinating array of objects from the Heritage collections all themed to bring to life the beloved tales of authors such as Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter, to name a few. In addition memorabilia, rare, collectable editions and a healthy dose of magic will engage and inspire children of all ages!

For more information visit https://www.moyseshall.org/whats-on/details.cfm?id=477947&ins=631990

20. Gangsta Granny in the Abbey Gardens - 28th August

David Walliams best seller 'Gangsta Granny' will be brought to life in the stunning surroundings of the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds. Adapted for the outdoor stage, join Ben and his Gangsta Granny on their grandest adventure full of forbidden fun. It could be very hungry work so come prepared with picnics and appropriate outdoor gear!

For tickets, visit https://www.whatsonwestsuffolk.co.uk/whats-on/event/4784/open-air-theatre---gangsta-granny

21. Bury St Edmunds Food & Drink Festival - 25th & 26th August

Foodies will love the two day Our Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink Festival held on August Bank Holiday weekend. 

Organised by Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District, this year two of the nation’s favourite celebrity chefs will appear at the festival. Nick Nairn who’s been a familiar face on our TV screens for nearly 25 years and Dean Edwards who became a household name cooking on ITV’s ‘Lorraine’  will both be making their first appearances at the FREE two day event in the town centre! 

There's also cooking demonstrations from local chefs, the chance to taste and purchase food and drink from over 100 stalls and a popular farmer’s market, plus the ever popular urban beach, fairground rides, street entertainment, and a mini farm!

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