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A well-known and well-loved market town in rural Suffolk, with historic abbey and cathedral

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Abbey & Garden
St Edmundsbury Cathedral
Moyse's Hall
Shopping Area
In the 10th century, the Saxons built an abbey in Suffolk, in the south-east of England. This drew people in, who built houses, and before long an entire town had emerged there. This was to become Bury St. Edmunds, which today is probably the most well-known and well-loved market town in the county.
If one of those founding Saxons were to visit the town today, they'd have no problems finding their way around. The layout of Bury St. Edmunds has barely changed. They abbey is still there, and it's still the major landmark, although over the past millennium it has unfortunately been reduced to ruins. However, it's definitely still worth visiting. The entrance is through a huge, 14-century gatehouse, which leads to the abbey's surrounding gardens. This is an extremely well-maintained place, featuring all sorts of flowers, trees, lawns, and wildlife. Several sections have a specific theme, including the rose, and herb gardens. One particularly popular area is the sensory garden, which was designed for the visually impaired. The plants here are chosen for their smell and feel, rather than just their looks.

The Abbey ruins in the Abbey Garden
Photo Martin Pettitt

The Abbey Gate
Photo Dave Catchpole
Another town landmark is St. Edmundsbury Cathedral, which stands nearby to the abbey. Although we know that a church has stood on this site since at least the 11th century, the age of the present building is difficult to judge because it has been the subject of frequent expansions, repairs, and other construction work. Most recently, a new tower was built, in a classic Gothic style. It was completed in 2005.

Bury St Edmunds Cathedral
Photo .Martin.

Inside the Cathedral
Photo .Martin.
In a town which clearly values its past, its not surprising to find a museum focusing on local history. This is housed inside Moyse's Hall, which is a actually an interesting exhibit all by itself. It was built more than 800 years ago, and since then, it has been heavily involved in the life of the town. At different times, it has served as a tavern, a prison, and more. Today its walls contain a variety of exhibits, which tell the stories of both Bury St. Edmunds, and the county of Suffolk. It was recently crowned as the "Small Attraction of the Year", by the East of England Tourist Board.

Moyse's Hall
Photo Dave Catchpole
In the past, the town was especially known for its market, and the present shopping area still provides plenty of opportunities for you to empty the piggy bank. The market takes place twice a week, selling flowers, various foodstuffs, and all sorts of other bits and pieces. High-quality meat, pies, and other items can be found at a shop called Barwells, which is popular with the locals. Saturday is a good day to visit, as they often give out free samples! Other local businesses include a chocolate shop, and a pearl jewellers.

Shopping in Bury St Edmunds
Photo Dave Catchpole

Debenhams in the Arc Shopping Centre
Photo Martin Pettitt
In the evenings, you can take part in what is a surprisingly upbeat nightlife, considering the town's size. Many of the pubs and bars serve beers and ales from the local Greene King Brewery, which was founded here in 1799, and has gone on to become the largest British-owned brewery in the country. One pub that's especially worth trying is The Nutshell, which claims to be the UK's smallest! There is only room for a dozen or so customers to sit at any one time, although on one particularly notable occasion in the 80s, over a hundred brave people managed to squeeze themselves inside!

The Nutshell
Photo Andrew Stawarz

Part of the Greene King Brewery
Photo .Martin.
Whatever you get up to, Bury St. Edmunds is a fun and attractive town that definitely ranks as one of the top destinations in the county.
Visitor Information
Bury St Edmunds, Tourist Information Centre, 6 Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1UZ. Tel: 01284 764667
St. Edmundsbury Cathedral is open daily, 8.30am to 6pm. Entry is FREE, but donations welcome. Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1LS. Tel: 01284 748720

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