Things to do this Christmas in Bury St Edmunds

Enjoy the magic of Christmas and treat yourself in Bury St Edmunds this festive season...

There's nothing quite like the excitement of children at Christmas, and if you're looking to treat your little ones to a magical Christmas experience then head to Bury St Edmunds & Beyond! 

We've rounded up some of the best Christmas experiences and Santa experiences for you to enjoy...

Visit our Christmas in Bury St Edmunds Guide for all the festive activities taking place this December!


Cinderella at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds - 26th November - 16th January

It’s a busy day in Bury! On Butter Market Square, Buttons the barrow boy flogs his fruit. On Hardwick Heath, Prince Charming frets over his future. And up at Sickworth House, Kylie and Miley are making Cinderella’s life a misery. Poor old Cinders! All she knows is domestic drudgery, day in, day out…but this day is different, this day is special and when this day is done, nothing will ever be the same again.

Join Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds from November 26 - January 16 for a tale laced with laughter and love; plus the ugliest sisters you’ll ever be likely to meet!

Book your tickets at

IlluminAbbey in The Abbey Gardens - 2nd-5th December

Experience the Abbey Gardens as they’ve never been seen before...

IlluminAbbey promises to be a wonderful spectacular of lighting, music and live entertainment, suitable for all ages.

Starting at the Eastgate Nursery entrance, a 1km route within Abbey Gardens will be illuminated to celebrate the architectural magnificence, history and beauty of the gardens and ruins.

Along the way, there will be plenty to see and do, including breathtaking street theatre performances from Corvus Angelicus, Juggling Inferno and Spark!, the amazing high impact drumming troupe with kaleidoscopic lighting.

December 2 - 5. Times: 4.30pm-8.30pm (entry slots available every 15 minutes) Tickets: Adult £6, Child (4-16 years) £4, Under 4s go free. Tickets can be purchased at or call the box office on 01284 758000.

12 Days of Christmas at National Trust Ickworth - 11th - 22nd December

Ickworth House is opening its doors once again in time for Christmas. Experience the entrance hall and state rooms dressed for Christmas to get you in the festive mood.

Get ready to explore the Entrance Hall, Drawing room, Library and Dining room, fully decorated with festive displays. Enjoy the sights and smells of Christmas, see the rooms set as if for use by the 4th Marquess and Marchioness of Bristol and their family, in the early 1930’s. 

Presents will be being wrapped, the table will be laid with festive treats, candles will be twinkling and carols will be playing on the wireless. Don't miss the magnificent tree in the Entrance Hall, brimming with presents, which would have been destined for children from the families who work on the estate.

G4 at Christmas at St Edmundsbury Cathedral - 18th December

Experience sumptuous harmonies in the idyllic, historic and festive setting of St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Selling out every year, G4 will be back on the road in 2021 with their biggest and best Christmas tour to date stopping off in Bury St Edmunds. Expect to hear timeless classics such as When A Child is Born, Silent Night and All I Want For Christmas, as well as delightful medleys to evoke the Christmas spirit, all delivered exquisitely in some of the UK's most iconic historical venues.

Book now at

A Swinging Christmas with Jazz at the Movies at The Apex - 21st December

The return of the joyous, jazzy 'A Swinging Christmas' with the Chris Ingham Quintet featuring Joanna Eden (aka 'Jazz at the Movies') for a seventh consecutive (almost) year. 

Rated as “sublime seasonal jazz” by BBC Radio Suffolk’s Stephen Foster, this show is the perfect way to begin the festivities. An annual sell-out at Ronnie Scott’s and festive concerts all over the UK, the show’s ever-evolving song selection delivers a delightful, stocking-full of 20th century holiday classics and curiosities, a unique blend of irreverence, poignancy and joy. 

Featuring pianist/MC Chris Ingham (host of Bury’s Jazz at the Hunter Club), acclaimed chanteuse Joanna Eden (longtime teacher/mentor to pop superstar Sam Smith), saxophonist/clarinettist Mark Crooks (world-class woodwind star of the renowned John Wilson Orchestra), bassist Joe Pettitt (leader of the Len Phillips Big Band) and drummer George Double (Suffolk-based drum hero, crooner and matinee idol). 

Book your tickets at

Slade at The Apex - 22nd December

It's Christmas!!! And it wouldn't be Christmas without Slade!

With their unique blend of perfect pop, rock 'n' roll, outrageous flamboyance and pure fun, and no less than 23 Top 20 singles, plus six hit albums, Slade have become a firm favourite in the hearts of pop fans all over the world.

Slade's chart career has spanned six decades and their enduring songs 'Far Far Away', 'Cum On Feel The Noize' and 'Coz I Luv You' are still featured today in TV adverts for some of the world's biggest companies.

See them live at The Apex on December 22. Book your tickets at

Jethro Tull at St Edmundsbury Cathedral - 4th December

Join rock legend Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull for a Christmas concert like no other, with plenty of carolling, wassailing, and flute-flaunting festivity. Performed in support of the Cathedral, the band will be playing some of its best-loved hits, such as Aqualung and Bourrée. 

Tickets are unallocated, with first-come-first-served seating in the Nave and in the Aisle (with limited view but TV monitors in place); early booking is strongly advised. 

Book now at

Russell Watson at Christmas at St Peter and St Paul's Church, Lavenham - 10th December

After his stunning Christmas performance at Lavenham Church in 2018, Russell Watson returns to Lavenham for Christmas 2021.

A very special evening  and a real exclusive! Four-time Brit Classical Award winner Russell Watson, accompanied by his pianist and a talented Choir. The world-renowned tenor will be performing a special Christmas show with classic songs old and new, together with a selection of hits from his illustrious career. A truly spectacular concert experience is in the offering in the the heart of Suffolk in Historic Lavenham.

Book tickets at

Seasons Greetings by Alan Ackybourn at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds - 9th - 13th November

It’s a traditional family Christmas – what can possibly go wrong?

This critically-acclaimed comedy classic from one of Britain’s most popular writers invites you to the annual gathering of the dysfunctional Bunker family – join us for mayhem on a truly festive scale.

This amateur production of Season’s Greetings at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd on behalf of Samuel French Ltd.

Book your tickets at

The Snow Queen at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds - 15th November

Join Ballet Theatre UK in their beautiful re-telling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale ballet, The Snow Queen at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

This spectacular production follows the story of Gerda and her quest to find her friend Kay, whom the Snow Queen has placed under an evil spell. Gerda’s fantastic adventure takes her on a journey across the frozen north where she encounters a band of gypsy’s, enchanted reindeer, and a mysterious and reclusive Lapland woman. Ballet Theatre UK’s renowned company of international dancers, beautiful costumes and glittering stage sets combine to create a magnificent spectacle, all set to a glorious and magical score.

Book now at

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights in Bury St Edmunds - From 18th November 

The wonderful Christmas lights will be on in Bury St Edmunds for the duration of the festive season from November 18!

See The Cornhill, The Buttermarket, Abbeygate Street, The Traverse, St John's Street, Angel Hill and the arc shopping centre lit up for Christmas while enjoying some Christmas shopping.

The town's main Christmas tree is on Angel Hill and there is another in The Traverse from the local Rougham Estates.

Don't forget to cast your vote in the town’s annual best dressed Christmas window competition. To vote, just download the town's LoyalFree FREE app on your smartphone through your app store. When you vote you will be eligible to enter a prize draw.  

Ickworth Light Nights - From 19th November - 5th December

Across 17 winter nights, explore Ickworth’s Italianate garden that glows. Awaken your senses with a sound and light based trail capturing the magic of our gothic Victorian-esque Stumpery. The walk culminates with a beautiful light display on the iconic Rotunda.

Take part in some Christmas shopping in the National Trust Ickworth Gift shop open every evening, and pick up some yummy festive treats and mulled wine from our West Wing Cafe.

From November 19 - December 5. Monday to Thursdays - 4.30pm - 8.30pm, Friday to Sundays - 4.30pm - 9.30pm.

Book your tickets at

Christmas Markets

St Edmundsbury Cathedral Christmas Market - 25th-27th November

A new shopping experience for Christmas - inside historic St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Local products, Christmas gift ideas, food and drink. November 25 - 27. 10am - 4.30pm each day!

Crafts at Blackthorpe Barn - Weekends from 6th November - 12th December

Crafts at Blackthorpe Barn will be back in person in 2021! After a  difficult year in 2020 when we were all affected by Covid-19, Blackthorpe Barn had to take the crafts online, but it just wasn’t anywhere near the same amazing experience as usual. 

So, they are delighted that the Crafts event is back at Blackthorpe Barn this year, as part of the Christmas at Blackthorpe Barn event in all its glory, and just in time to celebrate Blackthorpe Barn's 30th anniversary too!

Tickets: £3 per adult / £2 per Senior Citizens / Under 18 – free. Book your tickets and time of arrival online at

Dates: 6 – 7 November,  13 – 14 November, 20 – 21 November, 27 – 28 November, 4 – 5 December, and 11 – 12 December.

March Hare Collective Craft Fair at Ickwoth - 13th & 14th November

Join National Trust Ickworth in The West Wing Gallery on November 13 & 14 for a weekend of Christmas shopping with the March Hare Collective. 

It's a great opportunity to support local artisans and purchase their locally made homemade gifts, bespoke designs and crafts.

The Market Cross Christmas Crafts Market - 20th - 21st November & 27th -28th November

Enjoy a Christmas Crafts Market at the historic Market Cross on Saturday 20 November - Sunday 21 November and Saturday 27 November - Sunday 28 November.

The Market Cross is a fantastic town centre venue with a range of different uses, such as live events, workshops, classes and performances centred around performing arts, arts and crafts, art classes, theatre and drama, music, singing, piano concerts and other live music, dance, fitness, community well-being and craft markets.

For more information visit

The Little Makers Market - 25th November - 28th November

Join artists, jam makers, stitchers, fixers and pattern cutters, bakers, painters, potters and jewellers, at The Little Makers Market in Bury St Edmunds.

A local artisan market held in an enchanting venue that showcases the very best of local makers, curators, and artisans from in and around Suffolk. Find the market at The Unitarian Meeting House in Bury St Edmunds from November 25-28 10.30am - 3pm.

Farmers Markets in December

Get all your local fresh produce at the final Farmers Markets for the year in Bury St Edmunds on December 12 in The Traverse (10am-3pm), Sudbury Farmers Market held both outside on Market Hill and inside St Peter’s Church, on December 17 (9.30am-2pm),  Lavenham Farmers Market outside Lavenham village Hall on December 19 (10am-1.30pm).

For more information on Farmers Markets visit

Meet Santa

The Bury Santa Experience - 26 November - 24 December

Meet Santa in Bury St Edmunds! arc shopping centre, Our Bury St Edmunds and the Bury St Edmunds Town Council are delighted to announce that the ‘Bury Santa Experience’ is coming to town, which will bring a snowy enchanted forest, Santa’s toy shop and Santa’s traditional grotto cabin to the town this Christmas.

The Bury Santa Experience will consist of three interactive rooms, offering a truly unique and magical experience, including all the sounds and scents you would expect to find in Lapland.  

Shoppers are invited to visit the Bury Santa Experience located next to Hobbs on Auction Street in arc shopping centre to meet Bury St Edmunds’ very own elves, Clara and Clive, plus their new resident and forest guardian, Oakley the owl, who will welcome visitors into the experience.   

With Oakley’s trail guide, visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the charming walk through the enchanted forest, looking out for all the animals that live there before reaching Santa’s Toyshop. Here the little ones will learn where presents are made and have fun playing with the giant toys. Families will then enter Santa’s Grotto, where they will experience the true magic of Christmas, receiving a gift from the elves on departure. 

Tickets will be on sale from 9am on Friday 5th November at The Grotto will open on Friday 26th November and will be open on various dates until Christmas Eve.  

Meet Father Christmas at Kentwell Hall - 27 November - 15 December

Meet Father Christmas at Kentwell Hall! Step back in time to meet a range of Victorian characters, celebrating a traditional Christmas, with a family visit to Father Christmas for families with children under 11 years of age.

Kentwell at Christmas will run on the weekends of December 4 & 5 and December 11 & 12. Be sure to book your visit online as numbers on site will be limited.

Meet Father Christmas at Nowton Park - 11th & 12th December

Father Christmas and his elves are coming to Nowton Park this year!

Listen to his stories, write letters, make decorations or draw pictures and receive a special present.

Book your time slot to visit Father Christmas! Time slots are 10 minutes per family group. Time slots available between 9.30am-12pm and 1pm-4pm. Tickets: £8 per child, accompanying adult(s) free of charge. 

Booking: Essential at or call 01284 758000.

Festive Afternoon Teas

There is nowhere quite like Suffolk at Christmas time and there's nothing as British as an indulgent afternoon tea.

It's been a hard year so what better time to treat yourself and get yourself feeling all merry and bright.

There are many places to enjoy a festive afternoon tea in the Bury St Edmunds area - check out our Festive Afternoon Tea Guide!

With sweet treats including authentic milanese pannetone, mini dark chocolate & kirsch cherry trifle, almond sponge cake with amaretto icing and mulled wine macaroon, these pretty teas will be going, going, scone before you know it.

Arts and Crafts for Christmas

Christmas Wreath Making 

Floral designer, Amelia Cornish, will be running Festive Wreath Making experiences at The Weeping Willow in Barrow, The Northgate hotel in Bury St Edmunds and at The Black Lion hotel in Long Melford over the Christmas period!

Amelia will lead you through this festive experience, creating your own Christmas wreath to adorn your door this December using beautiful fresh foliage and flowers. The experience includes all the materials, foliage, flowers and tools that you will need to make your festive wreath. To help you get into the festive spirit enjoy a tipple and some treats from the kitchen while you make your wreath.

Book now at

Christmas Calligraphy

Talented Modern Calligrapher Kirstie, from Ink and Flow London, will be back in Suffolk for her popular Christmas Calligraphy experience at The Northgate, Weeping Willow and The Black Lion in Long Melford. Kirstie, who has worked with Selfridges London, Diptyque and and Good Housekeeping magazine, will be teaching participants how to create your own Christmas cards and tags.The experience includes a Calligraphy starter kit (you can take this home with you after the workshop) and cards and tags. There's even a festive cocktail to get the creativity flowing!

Book now at

Dining Out at Christmas in Suffolk's Foodie Town

Christmas is a fantastic time to experience Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk's Foodie Town! From fine dining to cosy pubs, there's something to tickle everyone's tastebuds here!

Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding area has a great mix of both national chain eateries and independent restaurants, many have won awards and the town has Suffolk's only Michelin starred restaurant - Pea Porridge.

Check out our food guide for inspiration, visit our Festive Afternoon Tea Guide, check out our list of Christmas Shopping Lunch Spots or search our many eateries for a mouth-watering selection of food!

Celebrate the New Year in Bury St Edmunds and Beyond

If you're looking to celebrate the start of a New Year, you can do so in Bury St Edmunds & Beyond! With sumptuous dinners, luxury stays and bottomless brunches - Start your 2022 in style!

Visit our New Year's Eve Guide for inspiration!

Want to enjoy Christmas in Bury St Edmunds without the drive home afterwards? Our Places to Stay Guide includes boutique hotels, unique self catering, cosey B&Bs and beautiful glamping spots. Whatever your accommodation needs for the festive season, Bury St Edmunds has it all!

Parking is Free After 3pm on Tuesdays!

Check out our full Christmas in Bury St Edmunds Guide now!