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A Beer Lovers Weekend in Bury St Edmunds

As Suffolk's Foodie Capital, it's no wonder that Bury St Edmunds is a beer-lovers delight!

For centuries, Bury St Edmunds stood at an important crossroads for traders and travellers between London, Norwich and the coast and by the 18th Century, the town was home to around 150 public houses!

There may not be quite as many today, but for beer lovers, it's a a real treat! Book a stay and spend 48 hours in Bury St Edmunds, making sure these unique ale-experiences are on your must-do list!


11am - Greene King Brewery

Greene King Brewery Tour Emily Fae 965x540

Greene King Brewery Tour. Photo: Emily Fae

No trip to Bury St Edmunds would be complete without a tour of the famous Greene King brewery! The leading UK brewer and pub company has called Bury St Edmunds home for over 200 years, and it carries on a long heritage of brewing in the town.

The brewery has a fascinating history going all the way back to 1086, when monks would brew ale on the site of the Great Abbey using water from Bury’s chalk wells which are still used today by Greene King.

The historic Westgate brewery since was established in 1799, using local malted barley, and water from the 1,000 year old chalk wells in all of their famous brews. You can find their beers in the traditional pubs that Greene King runs in and around East Anglia, as well as in many of their 3,100 pubs, restaurants and hotels in cities, towns and villages located across the UK.

Start your weekend with a 1 hour 40 minute tour of the Georgian-era brewery to see the historic working brew house, where many of the nation’s favourite ales are brewed, including Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale, which is famously named for the brewers who used to work at Bury St Edmunds’ Great Abbey hundreds of years ago.

The tour includes a trip up to the roof for one of the best panoramic views of the market town and finishes with a tutored beer tasting in the Greene King Beer Café. Afterwards, stop for lunch in the café; with fresh beer on tap and locally roasted coffee, homemade cakes and light bites served throughout the day.

Visit the Greene King website for more information and to book!

1pm - The Mason's Arms

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The Masons's Arms

If you are looking for a traditional pub in Bury St Edmunds with great ale, good food and all the trimmings then The Mason's Arms in Whiting Street ticks all the boxes. The building dates back to the early 16th century and features a cute little floor window into the barrel store below.

The pub offers everything a great British pub should; a warm welcome, delicious food, 9 Cask Marque accredited real ales, excellent craft beers, and a courtyard beer garden.

Their ales are Cask marque accredited so you can be sure of a perfect pint – We have our own handcrafted house ale Masons Bitter plus Greene King IPA and Abbot Ale plus 5 quality guest ales. The bar also stocks a fantastic range of beers, lagers and ciders from around the world including Birra Moretti, Camden Hells, Fint Eye, San Miguel, Estrella Damn, Peroni, Ice Breaker, Asahi, ABK Hell, Pravha, Aspalls, Inch’s, Amstel, Neck Oil and Guinness.

Food is served every day at The Masons Arms and their Sunday roast is not only legendary, but also extremely popular.

4pm - The Nutshell

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The Nutshell pub. Photo: Emily Fae

With a bar that measures just 15ft by 7ft, The Nutshell proudly holds the title of smallest pub in Britain as confirmed in the Guinness Book of Records.

Located in the heart of the historic Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, The Nutshell has been proud to serve customers jostling for a place at the bar since it first started serving beer in 1867.

Now a major tourist attraction for local and worldwide visitors, The Nutshell continues the tradition of serving some of the region's finest ales, and providing a bar not just full of customers, but interesting historical items, photos and memorabilia. From a mummified cat and currency notes on the ceiling to historical photos, military items and a plane propeller on the walls there is much to view and talk about while you enjoy a drink.

The building has a rather spooky past too! From 1599 to 1694, accused Witches were taken to a building where The Nutshell pub is today and had their nails cut or locks of hair. The nails and hair were stored in brown jars in the basement as it was thought that if you were not whole when you died, you wouldn’t be able to come back as a whole witch in the next life!

Visit The Nutshell Pub website to find out more!

5pm - Vespers Belgian Bar

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Vespers. Photo: Emily Fae

Choose from over 15 draught taps and over 50 bottled Belgian beers at Vespers, a specialty Belgian beer bar situated in the heart of Bury St Edmunds.

They serve a vast selection of Belgian beers ranging from easy drinking blonde beers to historic Trappist ales and even complex Lambic Gueuze beers. They proudly boast that they have a beer for everyone!

7pm - Dine and stay at The Old Cannon Brewery

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The Old Cannon Brewery

The Old Cannon Brewery is a privately owned and independent freehouse where you can actually see the beer being made and also stay at!

The Brewery Rooms are situated in the converted old brewhouse. The Brewery Kitchen serves fresh and seasonal produce purchased from known local producers, alongside beers made on the premises using East Anglian grown and malted barley and choice hops.


8am - Breakfast

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The Bushel. Photo: Emily Fae

Start your 2nd day with a breakfast in one of the venues featured on the Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail.

The Bushel in St John's Street, Edmundo Lounge in Cornhill, Fox Inn in Eastgate Street, The Old Cannon Brewery in Cannon Street, Greene King Beer Cafe in Westgate Street, The Corn Exchange on Abbeygate Street, and The Angel Hotel on Angel Hill all serve breakfast.

12pm - The Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail

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Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail. Photo: Emily Fae

With an incredible and unrivalled brewing history dating back 1,000 years, historic Bury St Edmunds is the perfect place to experience delicious real ale and unique craft beer - set aside a day and explore licenced premises on the Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail, sampling ales brewed in the town and from further afield.

From award-winning public houses to unique bars, there is a great choice of real ale and craft beer as well as live music, beer festivals, and quiz nights throughout the year providing something for everyone! Mark your place in history, share your experience, tell others about your favourite pub, bar or speciality shop on social media using the hashtag #BuryAleTrail.

Start the trail by picking up the special ale trail map, produced by Our Bury St Edmunds BID at pubs and bars throughout the town and the tourist information centre at The Apex, Moyse’s Hall Museum, or St Edmundsbury Cathedral Visitor Information Point when you are in town. Or download the LoyalFree App on your mobile phone for free, simply search ‘LoyalFree’ on the iOS Apple and Google Play Store.

Looking for More Eating & Drinking Options?

Visit our Food and Drink Directory for more yummy food and drink businesses in Bury St Edmunds and Beyond!

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