1,000 Years of British History in One Town!
Immerse yourself in 1,000 years of history, exploring picturesque Georgian squares, and wonderful medieval architecture! Bury St Edmunds has it all.
Bury St Edmunds is home to Suffolk's only cathedral. The death of Edmund, King of the East Angles, at the hands of the Danes in 869 led to the building of an abbey to house his remains. St James’s Church was built within the precincts of the Abbey, becoming St Edmundsury Cathedral in 1914.
In Medieval times, the Abbey of St Edmund was one of the richest, largest and most powerful Benedictine monasteries in England. People came from all over England and Europe to visit the Shrine of St Edmund and it became one of the most famous and wealthy pilgrimage locations in England, visited by royalty.
Now in ruins, you can explore the Abbey of St Edmund, nestled in the Abbey Gardens. The Abbey played a very crucial role in the creation of the Magna Carta. A group of Barons met at the there in 1214 and swore an oath to compel King John to accept the Charter of Liberties. This act led directly to the Great Charter or the Magna Carta, agreed at Runnymede on June 15 1215 which helped form the basis of the United States Constitution, and the Human Rights Act.
British Beer Made in Bury St Edmunds
Bury St Edmunds is the home of British brewer Greene King. They’ve been crafting fine British beers from their historic Westgate brewery since 1799, where their brewers use locally malted barley, and water from the 1,000 year old chalk wells used by the monks to brew ale on the site of the Abbey.
You can take a Greene King Tour, pull a pint and sample some beer.
Visit Greene King website.
Traditional Fish and Chips on Your Doorstep
There's nothing like fish and chips! Fish and chips first appeared in the UK in the 1860s, and by 1910 there were over 25,000 fish and chip shops across the UK.
The British government even safeguarded the supply of fish and chips during World War I and World War II and it was one of the few foods in the UK not subject to rationing during the wars.
Visit our Food and Drink Guide.
Red Phone Boxes
The red telephone box, a telephone kiosk for a public telephone designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, is a familiar sight in Britain.
The red telephone box has also appeared in British pop culture, such as in Adele's video "Hello", the front cover of One Direction's album Take Me Home, the back cover of David Bowie's album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars!
You can find a beautiful red telephone box on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds, opposite the Abbey Gardens which now houses a defibrillator, or just further along in Churchgate Street - perfect for a photo of the Norman Tower and cathedral in the background! Perfect for holiday photos!
The Sunday Roast Dinner is as much a part of British foodie culture as fish and chips!
The traditional roast is usually beef, chicken, pork, turkey or lamb with roasted potatoes and vegetables such as cauliflower, roast parsnips, Brussels sprouts, peas, carrots, runner beans, and broccoli. With beef you usually throw on a Yorkshire pudding or two and some horseradish sauce!
As you'd expect from Suffolk's foodie town, there are a number of wonderful places to get your Sunday Roast experience in Bury St Edmunds and Beyond.
Red Post Boxes
Along with red phone boxes, red pillar boxes have become synonymous with British culture since the 1800s.
The earliest pillar boxes on Jersey were red, however a change was made in 1859 when the colour for all post boxes was standardised as green. After complaints were received by people having difficulty finding them a decision was made to return to red in 1874 but it took 10 years to complete the programme of re-painting!
Red post boxes can be found in picturesque spots in the town centre including next to the Abbey Gate (from the reign of George V) and a Victorian red post box (above) opposite St Mary's Church. Perfect for those Instagram photos!
Traditional English Afternoon Tea
You don't need to go to The Ritz to enjoy an English Afternoon Tea!
The most quintessential of English customs is afternoon tea, but you may be surprised that it is a relatively new tradition.
Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, introduced the concept of Afternoon Tea in 1840. Becoming hungry by 4pm, she asked for a tray of tea, bread and butter and cake be brought to her room. She then started to ask friends to join her and it became a fashion.
Society women would change into gowns, hats, and gloves, for tea, which was served in the drawing room between 4-5pm.
Sandwiches, cakes, and scones served with jam and clotted cream make up a traditional afternoon tea. The tea is traditionally served in silver tea pots and poured into bone china cups.
Visit our Afternoon Tea Guide for where to enjoy this British tradition right here in Bury St Edmunds!
Full English Breakfast
According to the English Breakfast Society, the traditional full English breakfast is a centuries old British breakfast tradition, one that can trace its roots back to the early 1300's. In one form or another, the tradition of a uniquely English breakfast is one that has been proudly sustained over the centuries by different generations of British society.
Typically a full English breakfast includes bacon, sausages, eggs, black pudding, baked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, and a beverage such as coffee or tea, but can vary according to region.
There are some great eateries in Bury St Edmunds to have a full English breakfast, check out our Food and Drink Guide!
The British pantomime is an experience to be hold. Oh no it isn't - oh yes it is!
A kind of theatre entertainment usually performed around Christmas and the New Year in Britain. It is known for its comedy and audience participation.
Pantomime at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is a wonderful tradition and a highlight of the theatre's year. It often starts in November and runs until mid January and gets rave reviews by the well-respected theatre newspaper The Stage.
Here is just a taster of 2023's hit panto Aladdin:
1,218 programmes sold
164 confetti cannons
1,743 costume changes
4,943 school tickets bought
2,510 ice creams sold
Visit Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds for more information https://www.theatreroyal.org/
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