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6 Reasons to visit Bury St Edmunds this Autumn

Looking for a post-summer getaway? Autumn is the ideal season to visit the historic town of Bury St Edmunds...

As children head back to school and the hazy days of summer start to fade, the historic town of Bury St Edmunds is the perfect place to head for a couples getaway, a weekend away with a friend or some much needed me-time. If you're looking for an autumn break, check out these 6 reasons why you should head here!

1. Discover the town's history and heritage

The autumn months are perfect for discovering the historic town's fascinating history and heritage.

In September, many of Bury St Edmunds historic buildings will be opening their doors for free, giving you the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences. From 10-19 September, you can learn more about St Edmundsbury Cathedral's Ancient Library and visit the manuscripts in the Cathedral’s collection, discover the formal gardens, pleasure grounds, rolling Suffolk landscape and woodlands at National Trust Ickworth House, Park & Gardens, explore surprising stories of kidnappings, court-room dramas, and wartime heroes at Bury St Edmunds Guildhall, enjoy a tour of Abbeygate Street with Bury St Edmunds Tour Guides and visit the National Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket which tells the story of horseracing from its earliest origins to the world-wide phenomenon it is today. 

A visit to Moyse's Hall Museum is a must during any visit to Bury St Edmunds; this September, you can see the incredible 'Moments' exhibition, which features a unique collection of modern art created by some of the world’s best-known artists, including Banksy, Tracy Emin, Damien Hirst, The Connor Brothers, Blek Le Rat, Pure Evil, Rachel List and Kaws. Other fascinating exhibits include a collection of clocks and timepieces, collections which document the foundation of the early town - from the creation and dissolution of the Abbey of St Edmund to prison paraphernalia, plus remarkable collections relating to the notorious Red Barn Murder and fascinating insights into local superstitions and witchcraft. 

And of course no visit to Bury St Edmunds is complete without a trip to the Abbey Gardens; The award-winning 14-acre Abbey Gardens, which was the 5th most-visited free attraction in the country, in 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. People came from all over England and further afield to visit the Shrine of St Edmund and it became one of the most famous and wealthy pilgrimage locations in England, visited by royalty. Spend the day wandering through the different gardens and exploring the Abbey Ruins, followed by a visit to the magnificent St Edmundsbury Cathedral and St Mary's Church, where Mary Tudor is buried! 

2. Soak up some culture

With the historic Theatre Royal and world-renowned concert venue The Apex re-opening their doors and boasting a packed programme, you can soak up some culture in Bury St Edmunds this Autumn.

From 16-18 September, 'The Ballad of Maria Marten' will be onstage at Theatre Royal; a thrilling retelling of the real-life murder mystery The Red Barn Murder. Live music follows from 'Simon & Garfunkel Through the Years' on 19 September and 'Oh What A night' on 25 September. 

In November, the West End hit musical 'Tell Me on a Sunday' starring Jody Prenger will be on stage, running from Tuesday 2 - Saturday 6, followed by Ballet Theatre UK's production of 'The Snow Queen' on Monday 15 & Tuesday 16 November. 

Performing live at The Apex, you can catch live concerts from 'The Real Thing' on 11 September, 'Los Pacaminos with Paul Young' on 15 September, Joe McElderry on 26 September, Tom Robinson on 27 September and Newton Faulkner on 30 September. Plus Wet, Wet, Wet on 4 November and Scouting for Girls on 9 November and comedy from Brian Blessed on 27 October and Jason Manford on 24 & 25 November.

3. Indulge with award-winning food & drink

Listed as one of Britain's top 20 foodie hot spots by The Telegraph, Bury St Edmunds is Suffolk's Foodie Town. With its award-winning food and drink, tasty food markets, independent cafes and stylish cocktail and gin bars, a weekend of gastronomic indulgence is guaranteed.

Click here to find out why foodies love Bury St Edmunds, check out our top award-winning restaurants, book a spot for brunch and sip on a steaming hot cup of coffee and watch the world go by with our coffee-lovers guide to cafes and coffee shops. 

4. See the seasons change

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 enjoy a visit to Nowton Park to get lost in the maze! Made up of 2,500 hornbeam trees, 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.

The fascinating Wool Town of Clare is the perfect place to watch the leaves start to fall; Head to Clare Castle Country Park and head to 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.

No trip to Bury St Edmunds is complete without a wander though to famous Abbey Gardens; 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. 

5. Enjoy a stay in a boutique hotel

Whisk your loved one away or enjoy a weekend with a friend with a boutique hotel stay in Bury St Edmunds & Beyond.

Located in the heart of the town and boasting views of the Cathedral, The Angel is a historic establishment that oozes character and charm. Whilst The Northgate is a striking Victorian townhouse, which has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment of its entrance hall, restaurant, private dining room, Chef’s Table and cocktail bar.

To get away from it all, book a room at The Ickworth and make the most of the spa, acres of parkland and award-winning restaurant, or if you enjoy a round or two of golf then a stay at All Saints Hotel is perfect for you. 

For a weekend of shopping with friends, check out the Best Western Priory Hotel or why not relax, indulge with a spa and dine in style at The Swan at LavenhamBedford Lodge Hotel & Spa or The Black Lion in Long Melford. 

For more where to stay inspiration this autumn, take a look at our 'Places to Stay' guide.

6. Shop till you drop!

With hundreds of independent shops sitting alongside High Street brands all located within easy walking distance of one another, Bury St Edmunds is perfect for a shopping weekend!

If you love to shop, there’s few places more inviting or charming than historic Bury St Edmunds. Big brands and high street names can be found alongside independent boutiques and stores, and the surrounding villages and market towns are great places to source arts and crafts. For shopaholics, it’s a recipe for a perfect weekend. 

Check out our shopping guide to plan to plan your shopping weekend!