My English memories: Bury St Edmunds

Abbey gate, Bury St Edmunds

I’m sure that not many people have heard of Bury St Edmunds, a charming market town in Suffolk, England. It’s not well-known as nearby Newmarket of which you’ve probably heard of if you’re into horses. Somehow I have a feeling that even if you live in Britain you probably haven’t visited Bury St Edmunds. In 2008 I lived & worked for a couple of months in Suffolk.  When I needed a bank, a post office or to do some shopping I went to Bury.

I’m a city girl and coming from a much bigger seaside town I found Bury to be small but delightfully old-fashioned with its shops with limited opening hours and medieval-looking houses.  Moreover, to me it perfectly represented the English countryside town which I have seen only on TV until then. I have visited London before this work experience but London is quite another world. It didn’t prepare me for the delightful little surprise called Bury St Edmunds. Despite all the good and the bad that I’ve experienced during my brief time in England I still have a fond memory of Bury St Edmunds. The last time I visited Bury was in 2010. I toyed with the idea of visiting it again last year on my 11th trip to London but ….it just didn’t happen.

first time in Bury St Edmunds, Sep 2008

last time in BSE, Dec 2010

I loved walking around the Abbey gardens and taking photos of cute, friendly squirrels. I admired the wobbly old houses around the town. I had an excellent afternoon tea at Harriet’s Tearoom. I had drinks at quaint little pubs and delicious meals at lovely restaurants. In general, I loved the look and the feel of this perfectly English small town. While I was working in England I explored a bit East Anglia and visited places such as Cambridge, Ely, Norwich etc. It’s definitely one of the prettiest regions in England 🙂 (my very biased opinion).

A lot has changed in BSE since my time there. There’s a Christmas fayre now in Bury every year. Furthermore, a wolf trail was launched around the town which has been inspired by similar art trails around England such as the Chester Rhinos. Why a wolf? Because according to a legend a wolf guarded King Edmund’s head after he was slain by the Danes who invaded England in the 9th century. There’s an excellent live music venue now too, the Apex. But I’m sure that some things haven’t changed and that the town still smells of sugar from the local sugar factory.

What can you see in Bury St Edmunds?

The Abbey Gate-the symbol of BSE

Abbey Gate, Bury St Edmunds

Abbey gardens-beautiful gardens with very friendly squirrels

Abbey gardens, Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds Abbey-ruins of once mighty abbey from 11th century which housed the body of the  martyred King Edmund.

Abbey ruins, Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds

Norman tower –in abbey gardens

Norman tower, Bury St Edmunds

St Edmundsbury cathedral-the only cathedral in Suffolk

Bury St Edmunds cathedral

Bury St Edmunds

Greene King Brewery-you can visit it!

Bury St Edmunds

The Nutshell -the smallest pub in Britain

the Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds

Moyse’s Hall Museum -it is one of the oldest domestic buildings in East Anglia open to the public

Bury St Edmunds

St Mary’s Church– here is the grave of Mary Tudor, the Queen of France and sister of King Henry VIII. She was re-buried here six years after her death.

Bury St Edmunds


English cat, Bury St Edmunds, 2008

The Guildhall

Corn Exchange

Theatre Royal-the only remaining Regency Theatre in England

Pillar of Salt at Angel hill – Britain’s first internally illuminated street sign, built in 1935

Harriets Cafe Tearooms– you can have delicious afternoon tea here

The Angel Hotel –a luxurious hotel in a Georgian building. Charles Dickens stayed here while giving readings in the nearby Athenaeum and mentioned it in The Pickwick Papers

Bury St Edmunds

A few more photos from Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds

Morris dancers

Bury St Edmunds

What’s nearby?

Ickworth House -a neoclassical country house and beautiful parkland. You should definitely visit it!

Ickworth house (Bury St Edmunds)

Ickworth house (Bury St Edmunds)

West Stow Country Park and Anglo-Saxon Village – archaeological site and an open-air museum

Newmarket –a small town famous for horse racing

Have you ever visited Bury St Edmunds? Would you like to? To find out more about BSE click here 

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