11am - Greene King Brewery
No trip to Bury St Edmunds would be complete without a tour of the famous Greene King brewery! The leading UK brewer and pub company has called Bury St Edmunds home for over 200 years, and it carries on a long heritage of brewing in the town.
The brewery has a fascinating history going all the way back to 1086, when monks would brew ale on the site of the Great Abbey using water from Bury’s chalk wells which are still used today by Greene King.
The historic Westgate brewery since was established in 1799, using local malted barley, and water from the 1,000 year old chalk wells in all of their famous brews. You can find their beers in the traditional pubs that Greene King runs in and around East Anglia, as well as in many of their 3,100 pubs, restaurants and hotels in cities, towns and villages located across the UK.
Start your weekend with a 1 hour 40 minute tour of the Georgian-era brewery to see the historic working brew house, where many of the nation’s favourite ales are brewed, including Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale, which is famously named for the brewers who used to work at Bury St Edmunds’ Great Abbey hundreds of years ago.
The tour includes a trip up to the roof for one of the best panoramic views of the market town and finishes with a tutored beer tasting in the Greene King Beer Café. Afterwards, stop for lunch in the café; with fresh beer on tap and locally roasted coffee, homemade cakes and light bites served throughout the day.
2pm - The Rose & Crown Pub
Crowned 'Suffolk Pub of the Year 2019' by CAMRA, The Rose & Crown Pub is just a stone's throw from Greene King's brewery on Westgate Street (so you needn't walk far after your lunch!). Landlords Tony and Liz are also Greene King's longest serving landlords, having been at the helm of the historic pub for three decades!
The traditional pub, which dates back to the late 1500s and early 1600s, has eschewed modern makeovers, concentrating on serving a quality selections of real ales and offering traditional pub games, such as darts and dominoes!
4pm - The Nutshell
Until recently, The Nutshell held the record for being the smallest pub in the UK, measuring just 15ft by 7ft! Located in the heart of the historic Bury St Edmunds, The Nutshell has been serving customers beers since 1867 - the pub attracts beer lovers from far and wide, for not only serving some of the region's finest ales, but also for it's collection of unusual memorabilia, hitsorical items and photos including a mummified cat, currency notes on the ceiling, military items and a plane propeller.
The building has a rather spooky past too! From 1599 to 1694, accused Witches were taken to a building where The Nutshell pub is today and had their nails cut or locks of hair. The nails and hair were stored in brown jars in the basement as it was thought that if you were not whole when you died, you wouldn’t be able to come back as a whole witch in the next life!
5pm - Vespers Belgian Bar
Choose from over 15 draught taps and over 50 bottled Belgian beers at Vespers, a specialty Belgian beer bar situated in the heart of Bury St Edmunds.
They serve a vast selection of Belgian beers ranging from easy drinking blonde beers to historic Trappist ales and even complex Lambic Gueuze beers. They proudly boast that they have a beer for everyone!
7pm - Dine and stay at Old Cannon Brewery
Old Cannon Brewery is a privately owned and independent freehouse where you can actually see the beer being made and also stay at!
The Brewery Rooms are situated in the converted old brewhouse. The Brewery Kitchen serves fresh and seasonal produce purchased from known local producers, alongside beers made on the premises using East Anglian grown and malted barley and choice hops.
11am - The Masons Arms
Start your 2nd day with a quick pint (and the beginning of the Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail) at The Masons Arms, located in the centre of historic Bury St Edmunds. A Greene King pub dating back to the early 16th century. Recently it's undergone a major refurbishment but still retains many of the original features including beams and inglenook fireplace.
The range of ales on offer is one of the largest in the town and includes several guest ales and all of the new range of Greene King Micro-brewed ales, alongside a menu of traditional home-cooked food and seasonal favourites..
In summer, you can enjoy a pint of your favourite in the floral courtyard garden, lush with Ivy and flowers. The garden is also home to Bury town centre's only outside bar called "The Masons Elbow".
The pub has also been awarded the Five Paw award so dogs are welcome too!
12pm - The Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail
With an incredible and unrivalled brewing history dating back 1,000 years, historic Bury St Edmunds is the perfect place to experience delicious real ale and unique craft beer - set aside a day and explore licenced premises on the Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail, sampling ales brewed in the town and from further afield.
Start the trail by picking up the special ale trail map, produced by Our Bury St Edmunds BID at pubs and ars throughout the town and the tourist information centre at The Apex. Alternatively it can be downloaded from the Our Bury St Edmunds website.
6pm - The Weeping Willow
Before you set off home, travel a few miles outside of Bury St Edmunds to the pretty Suffolk village of Barrow and you will find The Weeping Willow; a listed building which is one of the oldest buildings in the village dating back to the early 16th century. The pub has been lovingly restored and now also boasts a stunning extension featuring a restaurant where you can tuck into dinner and enjoy meals made with locally sourced and seasonal produce.
Sit in the bar and find a table amongst the oak beams, comfy nooks and open fires and choose from an impressive menu of cask ales, larger and craft beers or head outside to the enchanting garden and sit amongst the blooms. If you prefer something a little stronger, then there's also a cocktail menu, an extensive collection of Gin as well as an impressive wine list.
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