Suffolk has a rich history which spans across hundreds of years. Over that time a number of significant buildings, places and sights have left their mark in Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding area. Significant historical sites such as St Edmundsbury Cathedral and the first Anglo Saxon Village can be found here, to name but a few, as well as other interesting places which lend themselves to Suffolk’s interesting culture.
Bury St Edmunds
St Edmundsbury Cathedral
Thousands of people flock every year to St Edmundsbury Cathedral to enjoy the beautiful historic building, as well as to take part in the services. For over a 1000 years, St Edmundsbury Cathedral has stood as an important site of worship in Suffolk. Originating in the eleventh century, the building which initially stood on the grounds of the Cathedral was a church – St Denis’ Church. Rebuilt in both the twelfth and sixteenth centuries as a parish church, it wasn’t until 1914 that the building became a Cathedral. There has been a lot of additional building work in recent years, expanding the Cathedral considerably. Today you can visit the Crypt Treasury, Chapels, Gate Tower and visitor centre.
One of the few National Trust sites in Suffolk, Ickworth House is a stunning palace from the Georgian period. Influenced by Italianate architecture, Ickworth House was constructed in the eighteenth century having been commissioned by the fourth Earl of Bristol. The Italianate garden was also the first in England, and is wonderfully manicured today. Host to numerous events throughout the year, Ickworth House is wonderful to visit at any time of year. Marvel at the exquisite detail inside and out, and be sure to enjoy all that Ickworth has to offer.
Step back in time when you visit West Stow – England’s first Anglo Saxon Village. A recreation on the location of where the village was constructed, explore the houses to see how the saxons lived all those hundreds of years ago. Have a guided tour as you explore and learn about the time as the village bustles with the sights and smells of the Saxon period, as see the livestock which would have also made the village their home. There are a number of events hosted at West Stow throughout the year, including re-enactments of ancient battles, craft activities and more! Dress up as a saxon and try out your excavating skills in the mini-dig. A spectacular, interactive way to get in touch with history – West Stow is wonderful day out for adults and children alike.
The last working watermill in Suffolk, Pakenham Watermill dates back to the eighteenth century and actually sits on a Domesday site. Water powers the 16 foot water-wheel which, in turn, drives the mill-stones in order to grind wheat into flour. Enjoy a tour of the mill in action as a guide talks you through how the mill works and the fascinating history which spans for nearly 1000 years. Go for a stroll around the millpond and soak up the beautiful sights before popping into the tearoom. And why not treat yourself to a bag of flour from Pakenham Watermill – choose between wholemeal spelt flour and wholemeal rye flour, which you can buy from the mill or from various local outlets.