Official Visitor Website

Bury St Edmunds

Lose your head in Bury’s cultural offering

Steeped in history dating back to the Bronze Age, west Suffolk market town Bury St Edmunds also benefits from a sophisticated cultural scene and a great sense of civic pride, with nearly every major roundabout heading into town features a unique piece of contemporary art, depicting key moments in the town’s history (pictured).

Bury St Edmunds took its name from a former King of East Anglia who, after refusing to give up his Christian faith in 869 to a bunch of invading Danes, was tied to a tree, shot full of arrows and finally beheaded. Edmund’s head went missing until it was discovered being looked over by a wolf. When reunited with his body, the two parts miraculously reattached and a new saint was born. St Edmund was the original patron saint of England and remains the heavenly protector of wolves, torture victims and perhaps more contemporarily, pandemics. In 2020, the Abbey of St Edmunds celebrated its 1,000th birthday.

Culturally, Bury is home to the nation’s sole surviving Regency theatre, the Theatre Royal, as well as a state-of-the-art arts centre, The Apex, and Moyse’s Hall Museum with its remarkable artefacts, including real-life wands.

The town’s self-titled annual festival takes place in May and features a 10-day programme of music, dance, drama, film and literature.

Bury also hosts an annual Sci-Fi festival every October, which features screen props and replicas, original artwork and much more from the likes of Star Wars, Doctor Who, Marvel and DC.

Choose Your Day…
The Apex
Moyse's Hall Museum
Theatre Royal
West Stow - the first English village
Bury St Edmunds Festival
Abbeygate Cinema
The Apex
State-of-the-art concert space
with possibly the best sound in Europe

The Apex is an award-winning, state-of-the-art music and entertainment venue, located in the heart of Bury St Edmunds.

From rock to pop, world to jazz, classical to folk, The Apex supports a diverse and exciting programme throughout the year, with many musicians describing the 600-capacity venue as enjoying the best acoustics in the UK, if not Europe.

The Apex also hosts a cafe, situated in the foyer, and seating upstairs where you can take in the artworks on display in The Apex Gallery.

“Best acoustic we’ve had in 40 years of touring” Fairport Convention

From Saturday 3 October until Sunday 18 October, The Apex will be hosting Gaia (The Earth), Luke Jerram’s spectacular seven-metre replica of the planet.

Gaia has recently been shown in Hong Kong, Australia, Taiwan and at the Natural History Museum in London.

Gaia features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface. The artwork provides the opportunity to see our planet on this scale, floating in three-dimensions, suspended three meters above the auditorium floor. A specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA award winning composer Dan Jones is played alongside the sculpture.

Admission is free, but donations are encouraged and tickets must be booked in advance.

“I hope visitors to Gaia get to see the Earth as if from space; an incredibly beautiful and precious place. An ecosystem we urgently need to look after – our only home.” Luke Jerram

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Moyse's Hall Museum
Former jail, workhouse and police station
reinvented as one of Suffolk's finest museums

Moyse’s Hall has towered over Bury St Edmunds market place for almost 900 years.
Situated in a striking medieval building, Moyse’s Hall Museum houses eclectic collections and exhibitions, and hosts events ranging from themed craft workshops to historical talks and lectures.

The landmark 12th Century building’s rich and varied past has included serving as the town’s jail, workhouse and police station, before first opening as a museum in 1899.

Today the museum offers a fascinating view into the past with collections that document the foundation of the early town: from the creation and dissolution of the abbey, to prison paraphernalia and artefacts providing intriguing insights into superstition and witchcraft.

Coming up in October is the extremely popular 12th Annual Sci-Fi and Action Exhibition, which will be marking two significant sci-fi 40th anniversaries: the release of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and the first outing of Battlestar Galactica’s TV spin-off, Galactica.

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Theatre Royal
The nation's last working Regency playhouse
and the only theatre in the National Trust's portfolio

The Theatre Royal is a vibrant 200-year-old theatre that was restored to its original Regency splendour in 2007.

As a Grade 1 listed building it is the only theatre in the National Trust portfolio and remains the last working Regency playhouse in the country.

The theatre produces three in-house productions each year with the annual pantomime a firm favourite among audiences.

Theatre Royal also presents a year round programme of drama, family shows, comedy, music, dance, community productions and more.

Another essential element to Theatre Royal’s identity is community engagement. Run by Associate Artists, the theatre works with young people, disability groups, survivors of domestic abuse and people in recovery from substance abuse; with the aim of growing and enhancing local lives.

The theatre’s Summer School is also designed to provide opportunities for young people to work alongside professional cast and crew on a production.

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West Stow - the first English village
Step back in time
and indulge your inner Anglo Saxon

As one of England’s great archaeological sites, West Stow has extensive indoor galleries and a stunning recreation of an Anglo-Saxon village surrounded by 125 acres of unspoilt countryside.

West Stow is the site of an early Anglo-Saxon village, occupied from AD 420-650, over 400 years before the Norman Conquest. The reconstructed village now consists of eight buildings to explore.

Visitors to West Stow can explore history and nature, watch a film, dress up as an Anglo-Saxon or say hello to the rare breed pigs and chickens.

Upcoming events include a Real Middle-earth guided tour, which explores the Anglo-Saxon origins of The Lord of the Rings, as undertaken by a member of the Tolkien Society.

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Bury St Edmunds Festival
Annual 10-day arts and music fest
that takes over the town and its venues

Taking place over 10 days in May, the Bury St Edmunds Festival offers an inspiring programme of music, dance, drama, film, literature, and more.

The festival began in the early 1980s as a weekend of ‘words and music’. It has since has grown into a major regional celebration that offers a mix of over 50 indoor and outdoor events and workshops, staged across 12 spaces and venues in and around the town.

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Abbeygate Cinema
Comfortable arthouse cinema and eatery
found in the historic quarter of town

Abbeygate Cinema delivers a quality cinema offering with a strong mix of arthouse, independent and quality mainstream films.

In addition, the independent cinema supports and an enriched Screen Arts programme, including the Bolshoi, Royal Opera House, National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Metropolitan Opera.

Weekly parent and baby screenings attract mums and dads who meet for coffee, chats and screenings.

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