Official Visitor Website

Horseracing and historic Bury St Edmunds, Naturally

Two kings dominate the story of the western side of Suffolk – Edmund and Charles II – and tours are the best way to learn more.

The Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, in full flower.

A walking tour of Bury St Edmunds will take in all the main sights, and you’ll discover the story of the Anglo Saxon king for whom the town was named. St Edmund, the first patron saint of England, was martyred by Danish invaders and a great monastery was built around a shrine to him which for centuries was a point of pilgrimage for everyone from peasants to kings. The impressive abbey ruins and their adjoining gardens are what remains.

Nearby is St Edmundsbury Cathedral, the only cathedral in Suffolk, and The Angel Hotel, a Georgian coaching inn frequented by Charles Dickens when he spoke at the Athenaeum and the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, now run by the National Trust and the only surviving Regency-era playhouse in Britain. You can take a tour.

couple looking at stall

Farmers’ market, Bury St Edmunds – Suffolk’s foodie town.

Your tour might also include Moyse’s Hall museum, the Neoclassical Corn Exchange and the medieval Guildhall in which you can discover the only surviving Second World War Royal Observer Corps Operations Room in the country.

Bury St Edmunds is gaining a reputation for being Suffolk’s foodie town, with a burgeoning restaurant scene, many cafes and delis, a twice-weekly market and brewery tours at Greene King in the town centre. And that’s not to forget an enviable selection of boutique shops, independents and art galleries.

Official Tourism Site For Bury St Edmunds and Beyond


Our second king is Charles II, who was a passionate horseracing fan and helped make Newmarket the world home of flat racing. The king founded the Round Course, part of which is still used today as the July Course, and built a new palace close to the High Street. His private quarters, including his bedroom, survive as Palace House which is now the home of the National Horseracing Museum.

If you’re not here for a racing meet (the season runs from April to November), one of the tours will give you a fabulous insight into the workings of the racing industry. They include an early-morning visit to The Gallops, exploring the National Stud on foot or by bus, and champagne and afternoon tea.

Horses returning from the gallops in Newmarket

A walking tour takes in The Gallops.

Also nearby is National Trust Ickworth House, best-known for its Italianate rotunda, Chippenham Park Gardens, Burwell Museum and Windmill, Wyken Vineyards with tours and tastings, and you can see how the Anglo Saxons lived at West Stow Anglo Saxon Village and Country Park, where there’s a dozen re-created houses on the site of what was a late Iron Age village.

Take a look here at more experiences you can book.

Both Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket have railway stations and good public transport. See the Greater Anglia route map here.

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