Living in Bury St Edmunds
What is life like in Bury St Edmunds
Bury St Edmunds is a beautiful and vibrant market town that combines fascinating history with eye-catching architecture and high-quality modern living.
The focal point of the town is undoubtedly the stunning St Edmundsbury Cathedral, which is the only cathedral in Suffolk. Following the death of Edmund, the King of the East Angles, in 869, it was decided that an abbey should be built to house his remains and it continues to be a popular landmark today.
Just a short distance from the cathedral is the popular Cornhill Walk and the side streets of the Medieval Grid, which are hugely successful shopping areas. Bury St Edmunds boasts some of the largest high street names of all as well as a range of independent boutiques.
With the medieval quarter and the Abbey Gardens, there are plenty of picturesque areas to enjoy in the town, as well as a number of local events. Another advantage of living in Bury St Edmunds is the excellent access it provides to nearby rural delights, such as the Suffolk coast, the Norfolk Broads and Thetford Forest.
Bury St Edmunds started out as an Anglo Saxon settlement called Bedric's Worth. In those days, Worth meant farm or hamlet, giving some idea of its size.
It was not until the latter part of the 11th century that Bury St Edmunds began to grow into a town of some note. This was achieved thanks to Abbot Baldwin, who persuaded craftsmen to come to the area and create new streets. In the medieval period, the town was renowned for manufacturing wool, while shoemakers, butchers and brewers were also present.
The cloth industry took over and helped the town to flourish in the 16th and 17th centuries, although it eventually began to decline and Bury St Edmunds soon became a market town. Through the 19th century the major industry was brewing and the town's population grew significantly.
A rail line to Ipswich arrived in 1846 and to Cambridge in 1854, while a piped water supply came in the 1860s. A house building boom in the 1920s and 1930s – and another in the 1980s and 1990s – created much of the Bury St Edmunds seen today.
The late actor Bob Hoskins might be famous for playing tough-talking Cockney characters on screen, but he was actually born in Bury St Edmunds in 1942.
German supermodel Claudia Schiffer is also no stranger to Bury St Edmunds, as she owns the magnificent Coldham Hall – just outside the town – with her husband and often spends weekends and holidays there.
Entertainment, sport and days out
The town caters for people seeking all types of entertainment, from live productions to cinema and sport. The popular Theatre Royal is arguably the entertainment hub of the area and provides a diverse programme of shows and concerts.
Another good option for locals is the Abbeygate Picture House, which puts on everything from current box office hits to classics. The Apex describes itself as the home of live music in East Anglia and hosts gigs by classical, rock, jazz, country, blues and folk musicians as well as comedy events.
For a memorable day out, Bury St Edmunds residents can travel to the iconic Norfolk Broads, home to some of the UK's most breathtaking landscapes. Alternatively, the historic centre and cultural events of Cambridge are not too far away either.
Newmarket Racecourse, one of the most prestigious in the country, lies around 15 miles from the town, while it also boasts its own football club. Bury Town FC currently play at the seventh tier of English football and home matches are staged at the 3,500-capacity Ram Meadow.
There are also plenty of local facilities for those who want to get involved and play their chosen sport. Bury St Edmunds has its own cricket club with teams at every age level from six years.
Eating, drinking & shopping
A mix of popular chain and exciting independent restaurants exists in Bury St Edmunds. Some of the most high-profile names to be found in the town include Ask, Pizza Express, Cote Brasserie, Prezzo and Café Rouge.
For delicious local cuisine, The Angel is an establishment that is highly recommended, while Ickworth West Wing offers glorious estate surroundings and high-quality food.
The Arc Shopping Centre is the focal point of the town's shopping facilities, with stores such as Debenhams, Next, River Island, Waterstones and Vodafone making this a popular spot with consumers. There are also plenty of unique, independent stores in the Medieval Grid area.
Schools & healthcare
A handful of schools are dotted around the town and provide high-quality education for children of all ages. Youngsters can be sent to Great Barton Primary School or Moreton Hall Prepatory School among others, while King Edward VI School is a great option for those seeking secondary education.
Teenagers do not even have to leave Bury St Edmunds in order to find a college, as the West Suffolk College campus in the town offers a wide range of courses.
There are two hospitals located in Bury St Edmunds, both of which can be found close to the town centre. These are BMI St Edmunds Hospital and West Suffolk Hospital, which are complemented by a range of local surgeries and clinics.
Bury St Edmunds is ideally positioned for easy access to both Cambridge and Ipswich, as it sits alongside the A14 which links the two destinations. This makes it the perfect spot for people who work elsewhere but prefer to live in a quieter town.
There are excellent train services from Bury St Edmunds to London, with journeys taking around 100 minutes and ending at either Liverpool Street or King's Cross. Local train links to all parts of East Anglia are also of a high standard.