Bury Saint Edmunds Things to Do

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    by arturowan
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    Space-age brewing technology...
    by arturowan
  • Things to Do
    by arturowan

Best Rated Things to Do in Bury Saint Edmunds

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    The Abbey Gardens

    by christine.j Written Oct 29, 2006

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    You enter the gardens through the main gate, a huge gate built in 14th century. It dominates the square around it. The gardens are large, there are many different sections and thoughout it you can see some of the ruins from the old abbey. The abbey itself was damaged when the monasteries were destroyed and over the centuries has more or less completely dissapeared. The grave of King Edmund, which gave the town its name, has also disappeared.
    The gardens are beautiful, especially the rose garden. I was there in early October and there were still many flowers in bloom.

    The Abbey Gate
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    The Cathedral

    by christine.j Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The cathedral is standing right next to the abbey gardens, but is much younger than the original abbey, from 16th century. It's a working church and when I was inside, people were coming to attend a funeral service. So of course I didn't take any pictures, but left.
    The inside is very light, bright colours enhance the feeling of width and open space.
    There is a cathedral shop, which sells beautiful stationary, apart from books and souvenirs etc.

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    Greene King Brewery...

    by arturowan Written Sep 6, 2014

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    Benjamin Greene first began brewing in Bury Saint Edmunds in 1799 - the company that bears his name has been in operation ever since!
    The Saint Edmunds brewery was originally set-up on the site of Maulkin's Maltings in 1868
    0ver 200 years in the brewing business, the company has weathered endless challenges, from the Temperance Movement campaigning for prohibition, to changes in technology, such as metal casks replacing the traditional wooden barrels, & lorries making the horse-drawn carts, obsolete...
    Having operated from the same site in central Bury Saint Edmunds for all this time, it is not surprising that there is much history on show in the museum at Westgate Brewery...
    A guided tour of the brewery is also available, with a view of the town from the roof, weather permitting, & of course, a tasting session of Greene King IPA on tap...
    An on-site shop sells beers & Greene King IPA official memorabilia, which can also be obtained online...
    Greene King IPA brands include;
    0ld Speckled Hen
    Abbot Ale
    Belhaven Beers (Scotland)
    Brewery tours cost;
    £10 - daytime/£12 - evening - times vary from day-to-day, so check details online...
    As well as a brewer, Greene King IPA is also a brand for real ale pubs, hotels, & restaurants, all over the British Isles...

    View from the top... Space-age brewing technology...
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    • Beer Tasting
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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  • arturowan's Profile Photo

    Abbey Gardens...

    by arturowan Updated Sep 3, 2014

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    The Abbey Gardens are the famous visitor attraction in Bury Saint Edmunds, attracting people from far & wide, when they are in bloom...
    Although the flowers are at the heart of the attraction, the gardens are full of remnants of historical interest, including the ruins of the original abbey & cloister...
    In the late 19th century, a manuscript was discoverd in France, revealing the location of the graves of 18 of the abbey's former bishops...
    This led to an excavation of the site of the former Chapter House, where 5 coffins were disinterred & opened, to reveal the skeletons inside, on New Year's Day 1903
    The dig was overseen by antiquary & gothic author M.R.James, an authority on the abbey's history, who lived nearby in the village of Livermere...
    Former King & Patron Saint of England, Anglo-Saxon, Edmund-the-martyr, is believed to have been buried in the Abbey Gardens, after his body was transferred from Hoxne in the early 10th Century, but his exact place of rest remains a mystery (see separate Suffolk tip...)
    In 2001 a bench was installed in the public area, the first of its type with an internet connection for laptops, but it was soon vandalised...
    Entry to the Abbey Gardens is free, & there are numerous information boards to mark points of historical interest...

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    Abbey Gatehouse and Norman Tower

    by Airpunk Written Jan 4, 2011

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    Two of the main entrances into the abbey survive to this date: The Abbey Gatehouse and the Norman Tower. The Abbey Gatehouse is the younger of the two, being erected in 1352, It was built next to the remains of a former gatehouse which was destroyed by a mob in 1327. Nothing remains of the old gatehouse except a detail: Abbeygate Road was once leading through this former gate. It is not in line with the present gate, but was so with the former one. The new Abbey Gatehouse is a fine example of late Gothic architecture. However, at the time of visit, it was showing damages and was closed. Therefore, it could only be admired from a safe distance.
    The Norman Tower is the older one and the oldest intact structure of the former abbey. It dates back to the year 1120. There are two details to mention: First, the different styles of Architecture: It is Romanesque, with exception of some later added Gothic details. That makes it also the only such structure in an otherwise pure Gothic environment. Second, the level of the fundament. It shows that street level was lower at that time than it is now. He reason behind it was the difference in height between the town centre and the abbey. When it rained, all the mud and water flew into the abbey. To make this less unpleasant, the street level was artificially raised around the border to the abbey.

    Norman Tower (with cathedral in background) Norman tower from another angle Abbey Gate with scaffolding Abbey Gatehouse, front side Norman Tower with Bronze Sculpture of St. Edmund
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    Quaint streets

    by joanj Updated Oct 16, 2005

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    Some of the streets in Bury are small, cobbled, with interesting little shops. Of course there are some High Street shops, but I like to wander back streets and seek out those little specialist shops.

    If you go to Bury, seek out the streets off the main pedestrian walkway

    Picture 3 shows the end of one of the pedestrian streets which leads onto a square - very near the Angel Hotel, and shows across the road is the entrance to the Abbey Gate and Abbey Gardens.

    .

    street in Bury street scene - Bury St. Edmunds Abbey Gate entrance

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  • arturowan's Profile Photo

    Moyse's Hall Museum...

    by arturowan Updated Dec 3, 2014

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    Moyse's Hall Museum & Art Gallery is situated in the historic towncentre, Market Place, & has been on the same site since 1899
    0ver the centuries, this historic building has served as a tavern & gaol, & posesses some of the finest architecture in Bury Saint Edmunds...
    The museum has numerous themed displays, pertaining to the history of the town, & other places in Suffolk, such as Polstead, where the notorious Red Barn Murder occurred (see separate tip...)
    Displays include coinage; crime & punishment; witchcraft...
    0pening hours; 10:00 - 17:00 Monday - Saturday / 12:00 - 16:00 Sunday - free entry

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    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    Ickworth House

    by Tom_Fields Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Just a few miles outside Bury St Edmonds stands Ickworth House. Built by the 4th Earl of Bristol in 1795, its most distinguishing feature is the rotunda. It was designed by Mario Asprucci, one of Italy's top architects. The Earl was, in addition to his royal title, Bishop of Derry in Ireland; this gave him access to a huge amount of wealth. So he had ample resources to travel, and was particularly inspired by what he saw in Italy.

    Ickworth House has some outstanding gardens, landscaped by Lancelot "Capability" Brown. He was England's most famous landscape architect.

    Ickworth House Ickworth House gardens Detail on Ickworth House's rotunda The pond Deer on the estate
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    Abbey Ruins – General Overview

    by Airpunk Updated Jan 4, 2011

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    As in former days, Bury's drawing card is the big abbey. The only difference is that – thanks to Henry VIII – only a couple of ruins remain of it. You can have a look at them by walking through the abbey gardens. Some explanatory boards will ease your way trough the ruins and give you an imagination of how the abbey looked like in the early 16th century. For more comprehensive understanding, leaflets and audio tours through the abbey ruins are available from the nearby tourist information office. For an imagination of size, have a look at the picture in the cathedral (which already existed at that time in form of St. James' parish church). Just imagine that the heighth of the abbey church was three times that of the Norman Tower...
    The abbey dates back to 663 and thanks to the bones of St. Edmund, became a centre of pilgrimage. It was the 4th largest of its kind in Europe and remained so until the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII in 1539. All life in the town was centred around the abbey, but the relationship was full of tensions due to the authority of the abbey and the taxes imposed by it. That even led to the theft of a large bronze door and the destruction of a gatehouse. Another important event took place in 1215 when 26 Barons met here and secretely swore an oath to make King John sign a document which guaranteed basic laws. They eventually succeeded and the document became known as the Magna Carta which can be seen as a kind of constitution.
    For some more details about the abbey ruins, please check out my tips about the gatehouses and “Things to see in the abbey gardens”.

    Abbey ruins More abbey ruins Part of the abbey gardens themseleves
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    • Museum Visits
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  • joanj's Profile Photo

    Abbey Gate

    by joanj Written Sep 25, 2005

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    As you walk through the old Abbey Gate, you arrive at the beautiful gardens.

    The Front of the gate can be seen in picture 3.

    There are also some ruins in the gardens, and there is wide open space for picnics on the grass, as well as seats around the gardens.

    The gardens are accessable for wheelchair users.

    Abbey Gate Abbey Gate from the other side. Pic 3 Abbey Gardens
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  • arturowan's Profile Photo

    British Sugar Factory...

    by arturowan Written Dec 4, 2013

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    Bury is usually defined by its town centre cathedral & Abbey gardens, but for me, the main association is the British Sugar processing plant on the eastern outskirts...
    If you approach the town on the A11 from Thetford, you know when you're getting close to your destination, because on the horizon are 8 tall siloes with chimneys belching smoke into the air...
    This is the primary destination in East Anglia, for all sugar beet production, which is brought to the plant by the HGV trailor load at the end of the year, through into spring...
    Here, the unlikely looking root, which resembles a huge turnip, is turned into that sweet stuff that arrives at the supermarket in flimsy paper bags...
    The process between arrival at the factory, & the product we all take for granted as refined sugar, is a fascinating chemical alchemy, which few realise the complexity of...
    Sugar beet is a root vegetable with naturally high sucrose content, but in order to turn it into domestic sugar, involves processing the tough Beta vulgaris into a pulp through boiling in giant pans...
    When the fibrous root is broken down into near liquid form, it's crystallised with sugar crystals, which grow naturally into the granulated form of table sugar...
    The refining process is not unlike that of hydrocarbons, with various grades of sugars created according to temperatures & length of crystallisation time...
    As well as the highly refined white sugar, the factory also produces brown varieties, syrups, & treacles...
    No visit to Bury is complete, without acknowledging the factory on the edge of town, with the carefully tended roundabout verge, celebrating the presence of British Sugar plc...

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    Dad's Army connection...

    by arturowan Written Dec 5, 2013

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    Although almost every episode of Dad's Army was shot on the outskirts of Bury, the only episode to involve the town itself, was The Lion Has 'phones, which used the filtration tank at the sugar beet factory, to film the reservoir scene...
    However, the town has a strong link to the sitcom, because its leading character, sergeant Wilson, immortalised by John le Mesurier, was brought up in central Bury...
    His parents owned the classical Georgian property at 8 Saint Mary's Square, while he was a child, before moving all of 1 door, to the almost identical house next door, 6
    Thetford was the film crew HQ during the filming of all the Dad's Army series, & its location so close to Bury, was an incentive for John le Mesurier to accept the key role, in what at the time, was an unknown comedy, not expected to go beyond the first series...
    While on location for filming, the actor who grew up as John Halliley, before taking his mother's surname for the stage, often drove from Thetford to Bury, then on to Newmarket, to indulge his passion for horse racing...

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    • Theater Travel
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    Visit the Greene King Brewery

    by PrincessMonja Written Jun 21, 2008

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    Beer has been brewed in Bury St Edmunds since the days of the Abbey, when the monks brewed beer.

    The Greene King brewery has a Museum and you can also tour the Brewery - which is very interesting, and at the end you get to taste the beer!!

    Enjoying the 'Brewery Tap' The Tuns, where the beer is brewed Can you spot the beer pipe to the bottling plant?! Inside the heart of the brewery View from the Greene King Brewery Roof
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    Guided City walks

    by Airpunk Updated Jan 7, 2011

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    Guided city walks are offered from the tourist information office which is located next to the town council and right in front of the abbey gardens (close to the Abbey Gatehouse). They usually take place in the early afternoon once a day, but it is recommended to inform right beforehand as chances are that there are time changes or it is cancelled altogether. You'll have to contact the tourist information anyway as they are the only place which sells the ticket for the tour (exception: When office is closed, you may pay the guide directly). The tour lasts around 90 minutes and was excellently prepared. Michael Dean, our guide, has the unique qualities which is typical for tourists guides in Britain, but rarely found elsewhere: Conveying historical information while adding an appropriate amount of humour and caring for the individual needs of the different participants. Some things overlap with the cathedral tour (see respective tip), but most was new to me. I especially enjoyed the idea of showing us pictures from the past (usually early 19th century artist's impressions) and making us find the differences. In a place like Bury St. Edmunds, where attractions are not abundant or obvious, an enjoying tour which points out details you'll most likely not discover on your own, can make the difference. If you stay in Bury until late, look out for the ghost walk which is organised by the same guys in a similar way.

    One of many houses you will hear of... ...during your walk through Bury's city center Georgian building which looks larger than it is
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    Bury St. Edmonds Monastery

    by Tom_Fields Written May 16, 2005

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    Prior to the dissolution of England's monasteries by King Henry VIII in 1539, this Benedictine monastery was the richest in the country. Most of it is now a ruin, with a more recent church built nearby. It has some fine gardens.

    Bury St Edmonds abbey, with gardens
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    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture

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