Telephone
01284 757490

Address
34 Abbeygate St, Bury Saint Edmunds IP33 1LW, UK

About Abbey Gardens

The Abbey Gardens in the heart of Bury St Edmunds is the perfect spot for enjoying peace and quiet whilst watching the world go by.

The award-winning 14-acre park is on the site of a former Benedictine Abbey, the Abbey of St Edmund, once a power house of medieval England. Internationally renowned for its colourful and attractive displays and the heritage of its backdrop make the gardens a very special place to visit and visitors come from all over the world to see it. 

The gardens are framed by the abbey wall that runs from the 13th century Abbot's Bridge via the imposing Abbey Gate to St Edmundsbury Cathedral. 

It is not hard to understand why the Abbey Gardens have won the prestigious Green Flag Award on numerous occasions, it is a stunning venue for the many and varied cultural events which take place in Bury St Edmunds including the annual Bury Festival.  


Created in 1831 by Nathaniel Hodson, the Abbey Gardens was originally a botanic garden laid out in the same style as the Royal Botanic Gardens in Brussels. In 1936 the concentric circles were replaced by the sixty-four island beds which, together with illuminations, formed part of the Coronation celebrations for George VI in 1937.

Today, approximately 20,000 plants are bedded out in the spring for the summer display plus 12,000 plants and 20,000 bulbs in the autumn for the spring display.



Highlights

Ruins of the Abbey of St Edmund

The Abbey of St Edmund was once one of the richest and largest Benedictine monasteries in England. The site became home to the remains of the martyred King Edmund (later Saint Edmund) in 903 and the acquisition of such a notable relic made the monastery a place of pilgrimage as well as the recipient of numerous royal grants.

The Abbey remains are extensive and include the complete 14th century Great Gate and Norman Tower, as well as the impressive ruins and altered west front of the immense church.


Pilgrim's Herb Garden - the garden features many traditional medicinal plants believed to cure most ills and also ward off evil spirits. It was inspired by a now famous manuscript written at the Abbey in the 13th century which is housed in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. 

Appleby Rose Garden - originally an orchard, this is now a beautiful and established rose garden with over 400 rose bushes. The rose garden is named after John Appleby, an American serviceman who served with the 487th Bomb Group in Lavenham. A bench made from the wing of an American 'Flying Fortress Bomber' and a memorial stone pays tribute to the many US servicemen and women stationed in Suffolk. 

Sensory garden - The Abbey Gardens first ‘Blind Garden’ was built in 1990 and was designed to provide interest for the visually impaired through scented plants and herbs. The pergola is designed to give the effect of a cloister where the monks would have walked in days gone by. 

The Garden of Reflection - the garden commemorates the murder of 57 Jews in Bury St Edmunds on Palm Sunday, 19 March 1190 and all victims of genocide. The centre piece of the Peace Garden is a 1.5 metre tall teardrop, it also includes 57 cobble stones - one for each of the victims of the 1190 massacre. 

The riverside - the beautiful River Lark runs along the eastern side of the Abbey Gardens and provides a picturesque walk whatever the season. The Abbey historically used the river as a power supply and trading route.

Abbey Gardens Sundial Fountain - This Victorian drinking fountain, with sundial cube on the top, was gifted to the people of Bury St Edmunds in 1871 by the 3rd Marquess of Bristol. The Abbey Gardens sundial is an extremely early example - quite possibly the earliest in the country - of a sundial that allowed the town clocks to be set to GMT rather than the local mean time.

The Aviary - The Abbey Gardens has varieties of birds include canaries, budgies, teal ducks, Bengalis and Zebra finches and diamond doves.

Water garden - Tranquil and calming, the water garden is a relaxing place to enjoy some shade on sunny summer days. 

The world's first Internet bench
- Is right here in Bury St Edmunds on the right as you pass through the Abbey Gate. Installed in 2001 by Microsoft, the computer giant chose the town for the pilot scheme from hundreds of applications made by local authorities around the UK.

Other facilities:
Bowling green
The Garden Cafe
Putting green
Crazy golf 
Children’s play area
Wildlife feeding area

The Abbey Gardens opens Monday to Saturday 7.30am and Sunday at 9am. Closing times vary according to the season.

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