15 Best Things To Do In Bury St Edmunds, England

15 Best Things To Do In Bury St Edmunds, England

By will

Bury St Edmunds is one of England’s most beautiful small towns, located in the east of the country.

It’s a place with lots to see and do, whether you’re looking for a relaxing day out, a cultural experience, or just some retail therapy.

From visiting the Abbey Gardens to exploring the Cathedral of St James, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Bury St Edmunds.

In this article, I’ll be taking you through some of the top 15 things to do in this charming town.

So, if you’re looking for a great day out, read on to find out what Bury St Edmunds has to offer.

Visit the Abbey Gardens

Bury St Edmunds - Abbey Gardens
Photo by Colin Smith

Unwind and relax in the tranquil Abbey Gardens of Bury St Edmunds – a truly magical experience!

The Abbey Gardens are the historic home of the original Bury St Edmunds Abbey, founded in 1020 and including the ruined remains of a 12th-century abbey church, and the Abbeygate, a 13th-century gateway.

The gardens are an oasis of calm within the busy town, perfect for a peaceful stroll or a picnic.

The gardens are also home to a variety of wildlife, including owls, woodpeckers, squirrels, and red kites.

Visitors can also enjoy the colorful flowers and plants, including roses, azaleas, and rhododendrons.

The gardens also feature a traditional English tea room, where visitors can enjoy a delicious cream tea or other treats.

A visit to the Abbey Gardens is a must-do for anyone visiting Bury St Edmunds, providing a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the town.

Explore the Cathedral of St James

Cathedral Church of St James, Bury St Edmunds
Photo by Sandy Gerrard

Take a stroll to the majestic Cathedral of St James, a beautiful religious building sure to amaze!

Built in the early 13th century, the Cathedral stands proud, its grandeur and splendid spire visible from miles away.

The Cathedral is an iconic landmark in Bury St Edmunds, and visitors can take a guided tour to experience the history and grandeur of this ancient building.

Step inside the awe-inspiring nave and be met with beautiful stained glass windows, ornate carvings, and intricate sculptures of saints and angels.

Step up to the magnificent high altar and take in the serene atmosphere of this spiritual space.

Take some time to explore the crypt and marvel at the many tombs and ancient artifacts.

Finally, don’t forget to take a walk around the gardens and marvel at the amazing views.

The Cathedral of St James is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the history and beauty of Bury St Edmunds.

Shop in the Arc Shopping Centre

The Arc Shopping Centre in Bury St Edmunds
Photo by Richard Humphrey

Head to the Arc Shopping Centre and browse the wide selection of shops and eateries! The centre offers a great variety of both local and international brands, so you can find anything you need.

From clothing and beauty to home decor and electronics, you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for.

There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from, so you can take a break from shopping and grab a bite to eat.

Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a leisurely lunch, you’ll be sure to find something to satisfy your appetite.

The Arc Shopping Centre is the perfect place to find everything you need in one convenient location.

Soak Up the History at Moyse’s Hall Museum

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Bury St Edmunds at Moyse’s Hall Museum! Established in the 13th century, Moyse’s Hall Museum is one of the oldest surviving domestic buildings in England and a Grade I listed building.

Located in the heart of Bury St Edmunds, the museum provides a fascinating insight into the history and culture of the town, with a collection of archaeological and decorative objects. Within the museum, visitors can explore the history of the town, from its beginnings in Saxon times to the present day.

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In addition to the museum’s permanent collection, Moyse’s Hall Museum also hosts a variety of special exhibitions which focus on particular topics, such as the history of Bury St Edmunds during the Second World War. The museum also offers a range of educational activities, including guided tours, workshops, and family activities.

There is also a cafe, where visitors can relax and enjoy a bite to eat. With its fascinating collection of artifacts and interesting exhibitions, Moyse’s Hall Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of Bury St Edmunds.

Go on a Brewery Tour

Experience the unique atmosphere of a brewery tour in Bury St Edmunds, and get a behind-the-scenes look at how some of England’s finest ales are made!

On a brewery tour in Bury St Edmunds, you’ll visit one of the most popular beer-making sites in the area and learn about the brewing process from experienced guides.

You can taste some of the local brews and learn about the history of the craft. Plus, you’ll get a chance to purchase some of the beers to take home with you.

The tour takes you through the entire process, from when the beer is first brewed to when it is packaged and prepared for distribution.

Along the way, you’ll get to see the different tools and equipment used to make the beer, and you’ll hear stories and anecdotes from the staff about the craft.

After the tour, you can relax in the brewery’s taproom and sample some of the beers made on-site.

With its unique atmosphere and knowledgeable staff, a brewery tour in Bury St Edmunds is a great way to learn about beer-making while having a great time.

Enjoy a Show at Theatre Royal

After exploring the local breweries, the next thing to do in Bury St Edmunds is to enjoy a show at Theatre Royal.

Located in the centre of town, Theatre Royal is a Grade I listed building that has been entertaining audiences since 1819. It is the only surviving Regency playhouse in Britain and is renowned for its stunning architecture and rich theatrical history.

The theatre is home to an array of exciting productions, from classic plays to modern musicals and comedy shows. Whether you’re looking for a night of entertainment or a unique cultural experience, Theatre Royal is the perfect spot to visit.

The theatre provides a truly immersive experience, with the magnificent auditorium and picturesque balconies providing an unforgettable backdrop for the performances. The interior of the theatre is just as impressive, with intricate stonework, a grand staircase, and ornate chandeliers.

With a variety of bar areas, you can enjoy a pre-show drink or a well-deserved intermission. The theatre also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, so there’s always something new to look forward to.

If you’re looking for a unique experience in Bury St Edmunds, Theatre Royal is the place to be.

Enjoy a Spot of Tea at Angel Hill

For a truly quintessential British experience, head to Angel Hill for a spot of tea. It’s a charming spot in Bury St Edmunds, with a picturesque view of the Abbey Gardens, and a stunning Georgian facade.

Inside, the atmosphere is cozy and inviting, with plush furniture and Victorian-inspired decor. You can choose from a selection of specialty tea blends, as well as a selection of light lunch and brunch options.

They also offer traditional afternoon tea with delicious scones and pastries. If you’re looking for something more substantial, there’s a range of savory dishes, including quiches, sandwiches, and salads.

Enjoy your meal in the cozy dining room or take it outside to the terrace, and soak up the stunning views of the Abbey Gardens. Angel Hill is the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon of tea and conversation.

Take a Self-Guided Tour of the Town

Exploring Bury St Edmunds is a great way to get to know the town – take a self-guided tour and discover the town’s rich history.

There are several tour options available for visitors – you can take a walking tour or a cycling tour, or you can hire a car for the day and explore the town at your own pace.

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Both the walking and cycling tours are ideal if you want to get a closer look at the town’s landmarks and attractions, while a car tour allows you to visit some of the less-well-known places that are often overlooked.

Whichever tour you choose, you’ll be able to take in the sights and sounds of Bury St Edmunds as you go.

No matter which tour you choose, you’ll be able to learn about the town’s history as you go.

For example, a walking tour might take you on a tour of the town’s churches, while a bike tour could take you past the ruins of Bury Castle.

Or, if you opt for a car tour, you can visit the nearby villages and hamlets, which still contain many of the old buildings that were constructed centuries ago.

No matter what you choose, you’re sure to have an enjoyable and informative experience when taking a self-guided tour of Bury St Edmunds.

See the Historic Abbey Ruins

Discovering the ruins of Bury St Edmunds Abbey is a must-see for any visitor to the town, offering a glimpse into a time long gone.

The Abbey ruins are one of the oldest and most important historical sites in the area, with a history that dates back to 1020 when it was founded by the Benedictine monks.

The ruins span over 8 acres and include the Abbey Gate, St. Mary’s Tower, St. James’ Chapel, and a variety of other buildings.

Visitors can explore the ruins and take in the history, learning about the past and admiring the many fascinating features of the Abbey, such as the intricate carvings and sculptures.

The Abbey also hosts a variety of events, including talks, concerts, and re-enactments, all of which serve to bring the historic site to life.

With so much to explore and discover, the Abbey ruins are sure to provide a memorable experience for any visitor to Bury St Edmunds.

Explore the Market Cross

Standing at the centre of Bury St Edmunds, the Market Cross is an iconic symbol of the town and a must-see for any visitor.

The Market Cross is located in the heart of the town, and dates back to the 15th century. It is a Grade I listed building and stands tall at 23 meters, with a square base and four steps topped by an octagonal shaft.

The cross is made of limestone and flint rubble and is decorated with a mixture of Tudor roses, fleurs-de-lis, and more intricate floral designs.

Visiting the Market Cross is an incredible experience, and it’s the perfect place to take in the history of the town.

The Market Cross is surrounded by several other historical buildings, including the Norman Tower and St Mary’s Church.

The Market Cross also has several stories related to it, including tales of executions and witch trials that took place long ago.

It’s a great spot to soak in the atmosphere of this beautiful town and take some memorable pictures.

Wander Around the High Street

Meandering down the High Street of Bury St Edmunds, you’re surrounded by centuries of history and stunning architecture. From the 15th century Moot Hall at the start of the street, to the modern glass and steel of the Arc Shopping Centre at the end, the High Street offers an incredible mix of old and new.

There’s plenty to explore, with many independent shops, cafes and pubs housed in ancient buildings, as well as a range of larger outlets.

The High Street is also home to a number of landmarks, such as the Abbey ruins and the 11th century St Mary’s Church. You can also find a wide range of interesting sculptures, from the life-sized bronze figures of Thomas Gainsborough and William Cobbold, to the quirky, contemporary statues of the ‘Angel of the East’.

It’s a great spot for people-watching too, with lots of locals and visitors doing their shopping or just sitting and enjoying the atmosphere.

Visit the Greene King Brewery

Exploring the High Street of Bury St Edmunds, visitors can’t miss the Greene King Brewery, a local landmark since 1799.

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The brewery has been making beer for more than 220 years, and in its current form is a combination of a historic brewery and modern visitor center.

The brewery is open to the public to explore and learn about the beer-making process, from the sourcing of ingredients to the bottling and packaging of the finished product.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the brewery, which includes a beer-tasting session and the opportunity to sample some of the brewery’s award-winning ales and lagers.

The brewery has a restaurant and bar onsite, where visitors can enjoy a meal and a pint of freshly-brewed beer in a unique atmosphere.

It’s definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in the brewing process, as well as for those who simply want to enjoy a pint of Greene King’s finest.

Enjoy the Scenery at Nowton Park

Just a short walk away from the Greene King Brewery is Nowton Park, a lush and picturesque nature reserve that’s perfect for a leisurely stroll.

The park is a great spot to take in some fresh air and admire the beautiful landscaped gardens and trees.

The river Lark runs through the park and is a great place to take a peaceful walk, with plenty of benches and picnic spots along the way to take a break and enjoy the scenery.

There’s also a children’s play area, and an animal park with llamas, sheep, cows, and goats, which makes it a great place to visit with the whole family.

The park also has a cafe and a shop, which makes it an ideal spot to spend the whole day.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or just want to take in the history and beauty of the area, Nowton Park is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a wonderful day out.

Walk Along the River Lark

From Nowton Park, I can take a leisurely stroll along the River Lark that runs through the town of Bury St Edmunds. This tranquil and picturesque river is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the town.

The River Lark is one of the most popular attractions in Bury St Edmunds, as it’s a great spot for fishing, boating, and bird watching. I can also take in the beauty of the many bridges that span the river. The most popular and prominent of these is the Abbey Bridge, which was constructed in the 13th century.

The River Lark is also home to some of the most popular recreational spots in town. The Meadows & Mills is a beautiful park that offers walking trails with views of the river. There are also plenty of restaurants and pubs located near the river, making it an ideal spot for a bite to eat or a pint of ale.

I can also take a boat ride along the river and get a unique perspective on the town. I can even take a ghost tour of the river and learn about its mysterious history. No matter how I choose to enjoy the River Lark, I’m sure to have an unforgettable experience.

Go Birdwatching at Risby Warren Nature Reserve

Heading to Risby Warren Nature Reserve is a perfect way to experience the local wildlife of Bury St Edmunds. It’s a great spot for birdwatching. The nature reserve is home to a variety of birds and is a great spot for bird enthusiasts to visit. Risby Warren Nature Reserve is also home to a large lake and a network of trails that wind through the area.

Visitors can take in the sights and sounds of the local wildlife, including ducks, swans, and other waterfowl. Birdwatchers may also spot a variety of songbirds, such as robins, blackbirds, starlings, and more. There’s also a variety of other wildlife that can be seen, such as hedgehogs, hares, and butterflies.

The nature reserve is the perfect spot for a peaceful stroll. Visitors can take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stroll or a spot to observe some of the local wildlife, Risby Warren Nature Reserve is sure to make your visit to Bury St Edmunds one to remember.


I’ve had an amazing time exploring all that Bury St Edmunds has to offer.

From the historic Abbey Gardens to the bustling Arc Shopping Centre, there’s something here for everyone.

I’ve enjoyed taking a brewery tour and admiring the scenery at Nowton Park.

I’ve also explored the River Lark and learned more about the area’s history at Moyse’s Hall Museum.

Additionally, I’ve spotted some incredible wildlife at Risby Warren Nature Reserve.

I’ve had a fantastic time exploring Bury St Edmunds, and I’m sure I’ll be back soon.

About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.