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Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Ancient Bury St Edmunds is a fantastic little town, with a ruined abbey, cathedral, glorious gardens and café culture
Where is Bury St Edmunds?
Bury St Edmunds is smack between Ipswich and Cambridge on the A14, but also has well-used roads to Thetford, Diss and Haverhill. Its beautiful station is a platform Peterborough.
What to do and see in Bury St Edmunds
Angel Hill is the focal point of Bury St Edmunds. Its also one of the countrys prettiest town squares.
The streets around Angel Hill are laid out to the 12th century grid plan, making it hard to get lost and offering plenty of pretty side-streets.
The Pillar of Salt, a Deco-style milestone, giving directions to London, Norwich and nearby towns, is a Listed monument.
It is picture (right) with the Abbey Gate, which, as its name suggests, was once the gateway to the monastery, home to the shrine of St Edmund and one of the biggest and wealthiest monasteries in Europe. Today only ruins remain.
The Abbey Gate leads to the award-winning Abbey gardens and Great Cemetery of St Marys Church.
St Edmundsbury Cathedral, originally a 16th century parish church, has been transformed into a magnificent cathedral thanks to sympathetic building work done in the last century.
Also worth a look is nearby St Marys Church, built in the 14th century and burial place of Henry VIIIs sister, Mary Tudor. It has the longest church aisle in the UK, making it a popular location for weddings.
And theres also the Athenaeum, the former Georgian Assembly Rooms, famous for the readings Charles Dickens gave there and for its beautiful architecture.
The Nutshell in The Traverse is a must see, just because it's the smallest pub in England, although if you're there on a Friday night it's a bit of a squeeze.
St Edmundsbury Cathedral holds regular art exhibitions and concerts and a few hundred yards away theres the Theatre Royal, which has a varied programme of events throughout the year.
The Corn Exchange, further into town, also holds regular craft fairs and events.
May sees the start of the annual Bury Festival, when the town comes alive with concerts and entertainment.
DID YOU KNOW... The death mask of William Corder, who was convicted of the brutal murder of Maria Marten in 1827, is housed in Moyse's Hall Museum.
As punishment Corder was hanged and his body dissected, then his own skin was used to bind a book about trial.
It's on display, as is a section of his scalp, alongside some less gruesome exhibits such as Corder's duelling pistols.