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Spend a day in Bury St Edmunds

The historic market town of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk has lots on offer for a day of exploring. And an evening at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is the perfect end to your trip; here their Artistic Director, Owen Calvert-Lyons, makes his recommendations for how to spend your time in Bury.

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

I moved to Bury St Edmunds three years ago and instantly fell in love with the town. Bury is relatively small, so you can get everywhere on foot, but as a market town it also provides for the 86 surrounding villages, meaning that it has loads of things to do: cafes, bars, restaurants, cinemas, parks, museums and of course Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds.



If you’re arriving into Bury St Edmunds by train, make sure you enter via St John Street, a street entirely filled with independent shops including Pocket Watches and Petticoats which sells fabulous replica 1950’s dresses and Beautiful Beers which stocks 450 different beers. The street ends at the Buttermarket which has hosted a market for over 1,000 years. The market runs every Wednesday and Saturday. On the second Sunday of every month it hosts one of the best farmers markets in the UK. Nearby is Wrights, a great café serving the best coffee in Bury and perhaps the best toasted sandwiches in the world (try the Suffolk Reuben).

Wright’s Café. Photo Peter Morley



In the centre of the town sit the Abbey Gardens, an award-winning 14-acre public park, encompassing the 1,000-year-old ruins of the Abbey of St Edmund. The gardens are beautifully planted year-round and are a great spot for a picnic.

The gardens stand on the edge of the town’s medieval grid, with criss-crossed streets housing some hidden gems. At the top of Hatter Street you’ll find The Cheese Hole, with a huge selection of locally-sourced cheeses. Just next door you’ll find independent wine shop Vino Gusto who’ll help you to choose the perfect wine to go with your cheese.

The Cheese Hole. Photo Peter Morley


A visit to Bury St Edmunds would not be complete without seeing a performance at the Theatre Royal. Built in 1819, it is the last working Regency Theatre in England, one of only nine Grade-I listed theatres in the UK and is owned by the National Trust. The building was lovingly restored in 2007, including the painting of a beautiful blue sky on the ceiling of the auditorium. But don’t let this fool you into thinking that the theatre is a museum; we run a lively programme of theatre, dance, music and comedy. Some of the biggest names in comedy perform here as they love the intimate feeling of its 350-seat auditorium. We also stage our own productions, with a commitment to staging the best plays of the past ten years. Their pantomime is legendary, attracting 25,000 people from across the region every year.

The Auditorium at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

Bury is the foodie capital of the East, so you are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating. Pea Porridge is Bury’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Maison Bleue provides great French fine-dining and new addition Lark offers beautifully crafted small plates of exquisite food. Hidden away behind St John Street you’ll discover The Old Cannon Brewery with a great selection of locally brewed ales.

If your staying over in Bury, then treat yourself to a night at The Angel Hotel. This grand hotel, with its beautiful, ivy-clad, Georgian façade has a roaring fire in the winter and a beautiful view of the Abbey Garden in the summer. They do a mean cocktail too.

Find out more about visiting Bury St Edmunds at