Abbey of St Edmund Walking Tours

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About this event

Special Abbey Tours to celebrate 1,000 years!

In 1020 King Cnut founded a great Benedictine abbey in Bury, to house the shrine and mortal remains of St Edmund. Bury Tour Guides have created six exciting new tours to celebrate the Abbey’s millennium, and to provide a deeper insight into the life and times of the Abbey of St Edmund. These 90-minute in-depth tours provide the opportunity to discover the daily life of a monk; to walk the boundary and explore life on the margins of this once famous Abbey ; to hear of the its turbulent side; to look at the Abbey’s legacy today. For those in a hurry, in just 45 minutes you can experience a whirlwind tour of the Abbey.

The young and young at heart can have fun exploring the Abbey ruins and hearing tales of a thousand years of monk-y business. The chance to spend an hour finding out about Forkbeard and Ivar the Boneless, creating a pilgrims badge, break a code, tell the time without a watch and find a chicken with its own teapot!

There are six themed tours to choose from:

Abbey Habits

Abbey Habits explores what it was like to be a monk in the Abbey. Plenty of ale and wine to drink, but a strict diet and a punishing life of prayers, stern rules, and hard work. We discover in 90 minutes the daily life of a community that created and controlled the town, promoted learning, fed the poor, and guarded the shrine of St Edmund.

The Dark Side of the Abbey

The Dark Side of the Abbey explains that throughout its history, the calm and tranquillity of the Abbey was often disturbed by the natural disasters of fire, flood, and plague. Added to this there were regular outbreaks of riot, rebellion, and bloody violence, providing a wealth of tales as we explore the turbulent side of the Abbey’s history.

Circling the Abbey

Circling the Abbey emphasises that the powerful Abbey of St Edmund was the focus of life in Bury and beyond for 500 years. It drew to its doors an army of artisans and traders, and every class of visitor, from paupers to kings. We walk the boundary of the Abbey and explore life on the margins of this once famous institution.

The Legacy of the Abbey

The Legacy of the Abbey did not end when Henry VIII closed the Abbey in 1539. It provided building stone for the town it had once shaped and ruled, and became a botanical garden, a public park and a place of recuperation in two world wars. Five centuries after the last monk departed, we look at the Abbey’s legacy today.

The Bitesize Abbey

The Bitesize Abbey provides the opportunity to find out in just 45 minutes everything you ever wanted to know about the Abbey of St Edmund. Join us for a whirlwind tour of the Abbey, to find out when, how and why it was built, and why it now stands in ruins. Join us, as we step back into 1,000 years of history.

Funny Stories for an Abbey Birthday

Funny Stories for an Abbey Birthday allows you to come and explore the Abbey ruins and hear tales of a thousand years of monk-y business! Meet Forkbeard and Ivar the Boneless, create a pilgrims badge, break a code, tell the time without a watch, and find a chicken with its own teapot. If you’re young, or young at heart, come and join in the fun.

Dates and times of tours vary - visit the website above for dates and times, booking details and prices. All events will take place in the Abbey Grounds.

Thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Lottery players for their support of this event.

Part of the Abbey 1000 celebrations to celebrate 1,000 years since the founding of the Abbey of St Edmund in Bury St Edmunds. For more Abbey 1000 events see our Abbey 1000 Guide.


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