Autumn in the Abbey Gardens Amy Martin 1500x390

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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...

If you're looking for an autumn break, check out these 6 reasons why you should head here!

Autumn in the Abbey Gardens Amy Martin 965x540

Photo: Amy Martin

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.

1. Discover the town's history and heritage

Abbey Gardens autumn Credit Phil Morley 965x540

Photo: Phil Morley

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 as part of Heritage Open Days, giving you the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences and starting from Halloween in October, there are weekly ghost tours of Haunted Bury St Edmunds.

A visit to Moyse's Hall Museum is a must during any visit to Bury St Edmunds with permanent displays on the Abbey of St Edmunds, six Terrible Tales by Terry Deary, best-selling author and creator of the hugely popular Horrible Histories books, with some grisly and gruesome interactive displays for children and adults, a collection of clocks and timepieces, plus remarkable collections relating to the notorious Red Barn Murder and fascinating insights into local superstitions and witchcraft. The Museum also has regularly changing exhibitions in the Great Hall.

And of course no visit to Bury St Edmunds is complete without a trip to the Abbey Gardens which transform into a sea of yellow, red and orange during the autumn months. The award-winning 14-acre Abbey Gardens, which is England's 5th most-visited free attraction, 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 Queen of France Mary Tudor is buried!

2. Soak up some culture

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Bury St Edmund is blessed with some brilliant venues in which to enjoy the arts from a historic theatre to a modern venue which many musicians describe as the best acoustic venue in the UK, if not Europe.

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds presents a vibrant, year-round programme of drama, music, dance and comedy, featuring many of this country’s leading companies and performers. It has built a reputation of producing quality dramas and productions including the ever popular annual pantomime.

The theatre is steeped in history as it was designed and built in 1819 by William Wilkins. With many of its original features still intact, it is a superb example of a Regency playhouse and one of the most beautiful, intimate and historic theatres in the world.

While The Apex is a modern award-winning venue, known for its acoustic excellence and home to a diverse programme of live music and events; from classical concerts to pop, rock, jazz, blues, world, country and folk, plus comedy and dance performances. It has hosted some fantastic names in the entertainment world from Marti Pellow to Keifer Sutherland and from Leo Sayer to Lulu.

3. Indulge with award-winning food & drink

Angel Dessert Angel Hotel 965x540

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.

Gastronomes seeking fine-dining experiences in town are never disappointed with many award-winning restaurants and the only Michelin starred restaurant in Suffolk, Pea Porridge. Bury St Edmunds is bursting with unique independent restaurants all within walking distance in the town centre and with more joining the line-up every year!

Real ale and craft beer enthusiasts can explore 22 of the town’s licensed premises with the Bury Ale Trail, giving visitors the chance to try ales brewed in the town itself or from further afield. Beer lovers will also want to make a tasting tour at the Greene King Beer Cafe a priority for their visit to Bury St Edmunds and take home some souvenirs from their brewery shop. Bury St Edmunds is the home of Greene King which has been brewing award-winning beers in the town for over 200 years and you enjoy tours of their brewery.

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

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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 National Trust Ickworth. Stroll around the earliest Italianate Gardens in the UK which includes a Mediterranean Temple Garden and a magical Victorian Stumpery. Or wander down to the Walled Garden or follow one of the many trails and cycle rides into the wider park spanning 1800 acres. And if it rains just pull on a pair of wellies and head off on a Welly Walk!

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

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The Northgate

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 treatment rooms, acres of parkland and award-winning restaurant, Ravenwood Hall Hotel is steeped in history and set within seven acres of lovely grounds and gardens, 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 Lavenham, Bedford 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!

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With hundreds of independent shops sitting alongside well-known 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 in a stunning historic setting, 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!

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