Autumn in the Abbey Gardens Amy Martin 1500x390

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8 Ways to Welcome Autumn


Pop on the wellies, don your chunky knit and welcome the autumn in Bury St Edmunds & Beyond...

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 check out these 8 ways to see the seasons change in Bury St Edmunds & Beyond...

1. Get lost in the maze at Nowton Park

Autumn Nowton Park credit Phil Morley 965x540

Nowton Park is home to a fantastic maze in the shape of a stylised oak tree (in commemoration of the Oakes family who were the former estate owners). The maze is open from May to October every year and is south of the park.

It is made up of 2,500 hornbeam trees which create over two miles of hedging which are maintained at a height of around two metres. 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. Once you've made it out, head to the Grounds Cafe for hot chocolates and cake! (Check the Cafe website for opening hours).

2. Take a stroll around Clare Castle

Clare Castle Clare Castle Country Park Trust 965x540

A visit to the Wool Town of Clare would not be complete without seeing Clare Castle Country Park. Your first stop should be 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.

Once you've worked up an appetite, grab a bite to eat in the park's cafe or head into the town or to a country pub nearby.

3. Go for a morning jog through the Abbey Gardens

Autumn in the Abbey Gardens Amy Martin 965x540

What better way to start your day than with a bracing run, taking in the dewy autumn air than with a job through the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds. 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.

After your run, take a rest in the Sensory Garden or head to Grounds Cafe - Abbey Gardens to warm up with a cup of tea or coffee.

4. Enjoy a stay in a boutique hotel

Room at The Northgate 965x540

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 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.

5. Go Off-Roading at Explore 4x4

Explore 4 X4 2 Explore 4x4 965x540

At Explore 4 x 4, the muddier it is, the better! Autumn is the perfect time to explore Elveden Forest; here you can try 4x4 off road driving, clay pigeon shooting, archery, crossbows and even weekend survival and team challenges.

The 4 x 4 team are experienced ex-military so be prepared to be put through your paces with extreme challenges being conducted in all weather conditions!

6. Follow the trails at National Trust Ickworth

Autumn National Trust Ickworth Sue Warren 965x540

Follow the Garden Tree Walk at National Trust Ickworth and stroll around the Italianate garden to the rear of the property looking out for the various trees and shrubs that have stood here for hundreds of years in particular the Cedar of Lebanon, the Lucombe oak and the Banana tree.

Afterwards, if the weather is dry, find a spot to enjoy a picnic and take a look at the 'International Photographer of the Year' exhibition which is on display at Ickworth until 2nd November. Showcasing over 40 brand new images from all over the world celebrating the world of plants, this prestigious exhibition can be found nestled into our Albana Wood.

Booking is essential at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ickworth

7. Spooky happenings in Bury St Edmunds

Ghost Walks credit Phil Morley 965x540

From ghostly medieval monks to the infamous Grey Lady, this historical town offers chills and thrills galore. Could Bury St Edmunds be the most haunted place in England?

Brave souls can hear more spine-tingling tales about the town’s eerie goings-on by joining the Ghostly and Macabre Walk, held on various dates on dark autumn and winter evenings from Halloween to the end of March.

As you wind your way around the darkened streets there will be stories of screaming skulls, mysterious ‘monk’ like figures appearing in cellars, burnings, hangings and more, finishing up in the dark and deserted Great Churchyard where the tour guides will recall the stories from the Abbey and the famous Grey Lady.

8. Tuck into our fine fayre

The Black Lion Long Melford Sunday Roast Sharing Platter 965x540

Known as Suffolk's Foodie Town, those looking to make the most of dining out this autumn and winter will be spoilt for choice in Bury St Edmunds.

Start your day the right way with a hearty brunch; from pancakes to porridge, full English to frittata - our 'Guide to Brunch' will set you on your way.

For fine dining, book a table at Maison Bleue, an award-winning French restaurant; join the Chef's Table at The Northgate or enjoy an authentic taste of Suffolk at Ben's Restaurant or savour mouth-watering delights at pea porridge, Suffolk's only Michelin star restaurant. Take a look more of our Award-winning Restaurants Guide.

After a long walk through the Suffolk countryside, there's no better place to finish than at one of the many pubs, inns and restaurants for a hearty lunch; with locally produced meat, accompanied by fresh vegetables and completed with a delicious dessert, take a look a our Eating Out Guide.

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