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5 Unmissable Free Things to Do in Bury St Edmunds & Beyond!

January & February can be challenging months with money tight after the Christmas - these free things to do in Bury St Edmunds & Beyond will help you tighten your belt!

1. Take a walk through the historic Abbey Gardens

Located in the centre of the historic town of Bury St Edmunds, the Abbey Gardens are the perfect place to head when money is tight but you want to get out and about. 

The award-winning 14-acre Abbey Gardens is on the site of the former Benedictine Abbey, the Abbey of St Edmund, once one of the richest, largest and most powerful Benedictine monasteries in England. 

Internationally renowned for its colourful and attractive displays and the heritage of its backdrop make the gardens a very special place to visit and visitors come from all over the world to see it. The gardens are framed by the abbey wall that runs from the 13th century Abbot's Bridge via the imposing Abbey Gate to St Edmundsbury Cathedral. 

There's lots to see and do; the Abbey of St Edmund remains include the complete 14th century Abbey Gate and Norman Tower, as well as the impressive ruins and altered west front of the immense church, St Mary's Church and parts of St Edmundsbury Cathedral; The Appleby Rose Garden is a sight for the eyes and the nose (especially in summer) with over 400 rose bushes to admire; there's crazy golf and a putting green for the whole family to enjoy; a children's play area and wildlife feeding area where children can let off steam and the Garden Cafe, should you wish to enjoy a slice of cake and a hot drink during your visit.

2. Take a trip back in time at Bury St Edmunds Guildhall

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. Discover the interactive displays and collections which take you on a journey through time and history and visit The Court Room, the Banqueting Hall, the RAF’s WWII Royal Observer Corps Operations Centre Headquarters, the Tudor Kitchen, courtyards and fabulous open gardens. Through each room The Guildhall explores 700 years of local history and tells the story of the people who lived it, live re-enactors will also appear on special occasions!

Bury St Edmunds Guildhall is open on Wednesdays and Sundays from 11am - 4pm and it's free to enter! 

3. Get lost in the maze at Nowton Park

Spend a day at Nowton Park and you're in for an wonderful wildlife-filled experience. 

Children will love looking out for the wooden dragon which has been carved from a cedar tree that was growing in the park but was struck by lightning. In the centre of the arboretum, you will find a 35ft totem pole; carved from a western red cedar which is the species traditionally favoured by Native Americans for their totem poles.

Taking on the shape of a stylised oak tree, the maze at Nowton Park is open from May to October every year and is south of the park, 2km from the main car park. Home to 2,500 hornbeam trees, it keeps its leaves through the winter. 

4. Walk the trail at Clare Castle Country Park

Nestled in the town of Clare, Clare Castle Country Park contains the remains of the 13th Century stone castle keep set upon its 60ft high motte overlooking the town, as well as its inner and outer baileys. The Park has a variety of walks and trails to enjoy; follow the paths along the gently flowing river and seek the ivy-covered outer bailey walls as you make your way past the ponds. There's also a play park where kids can let off steam and you can warm up in the Platform One Cafe which serves hot drinks and food throughout the year.

5. Visit Harry Potter's House in Lavenham

Spark young imaginations and take a selfie in front of one of Suffolk's most instagrammed spots in historic Lavenham. The streets may seem familiar to you, as they were used as a background for the scenes in Godric’s Hollow in the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

Lavenham Guildhall was transformed into Harry Potter’s parents’ derelict house and in the film, Harry visits his parents’ graves and their house in Godric’s Hollow. Filming in Lavenham took place in secret in January 2010 and De Vere house in Water Street also appears in the film. The buildings were filmed and then had their appearance altered using CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) so the actors could be shot separately in a studio and then superimposed onto the background.


Plan your stay in Bury St Edmunds and Beyond now with some unmissable savings on our offers page!