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Abbey Gardens

Bury St. Edmunds

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Bordered by the River Lark, the award-winning Abbey Gardens were first laid out as a Botanic Garden in 1831. In addition to the formal layout of the central area, here you can find are an aviary, a bowling green, a bird feeding area, a water garden, a herb garden, a sensory garden, and a new children's play area.

Times and prices are subject to change. Contact venue before setting out.

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  • LESuffolk&Norfolk

    13-Mar-2014 Report

    The famous Abbey Gardens provide a great example of a manicured public garden in the style beloved of the Victorians but these have evolved into a modern and diverse centre of outdoor entertainment for tourists and locals alike. Many civic events take place here- the Holocaust memorial ceremony, Bonfire Night festivities and performances that form part of the Bury Festival each Spring.

    Bounded by the River Lark with its pretty bridge and ample (and hungry!) duck life with the imposing entrance of its Abbey Gate, the park is bisected by a broad tarmac pathway ideal for children to run or scooter along in full view of parents. The manicured flower gardens, rose gardens and ponds make a visually and olfactory speactacle with their seasonal planting and the rose gardens themselves are a memorial to the close ties Bury St Edmunds has with USAF and its nearby airbasess.

    Carousels and other small rides can be found on the entrance greens as you arrive and to the left hand side is a small cafe selling drinks and ice creams. Running alongside this is a small section of bird enclosures- there used to be Monkeys here until the 80's and now thankfully no more. However many residents would like to see the aviaries gone too despite the pleasure they give to small children. Towards the back of the park is a recently refurbished playground containing an excellent selection of rides and climbing frames and there are also tennis courts for hire- contact the park rangers for details.

    Adjacent to the playground are the ruins of the world famous 11th century Benedictine Abbey, part of the complete ruins that also include the complete 14th century Great Gate and Norman Tower, and the impressive ruins and altered west front of the immense church. These tall flint pocked spears and tumbled walls have ample space for children to run around and many a game of hide and seek has taken place in the ancient ruined secret rooms (and privies!). They attract thousands of visitors. Generations of locals have done this and now bring their own children and grandchildren to do so. The cathedral gardens including the beautiful physic gardens can be accessed via the Abbey Gardens and the cool environs of the cloisters are a perfect place to retreat to on a hot day. The cathedral spire can be seen from many garden vantage points and the cathedral, being open to the public, is well worth a visit. Opposite the garden entrance on Angel Hill can be found the famous Angel Hotel, frequented and mentioned by Charles Dickens and a favourite writing spot for him. The afternoon tea and dining in its cellar restaurant comes highly recommended.

    The gardens have public toilets that are regularly inspected -these can be found to the left of the Norman Gate entrance. There are baby changing facilities.

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