“Bury where?” “Look at the brass plaque – GREENE KING, BURY ST EDMUND!” This was how the conversation went when we told our friends we visited Bury St Edmund over the weekend. Usually people’s eyes are so achingly fixed on the draught beer, they tend to ignore this poor little brass plaque next to the door of a pub.
Bury St Edmund, a little market town in west of Suffolk, east of England. Known for its brewing and malting business, there sits the UK’s largest pub retailer and brewer – the Greene King Brewery.
It’s an almost two-hour train ride from London with a change at Cambridge.
Once alighted from the train, I noticed a huge tower in the backdrop, piercing out from the roof into the cloud. A quick Google later, I discovered that that was the factory of Silver Spoon (British Sugar) – aka that pink bag of sugar you can find in almost every household in Britain.
But no, I didn’t visit BSE for fermented hoppy drinks and refined sugar made out of beetroot.
I came here for more.
But now, let’s go check in to the Angel Hotel and I will show you why BSE should be your next 2016’s weekend destination.
Very soon, we arrived at the Angel Hill, where you get the spectacular view of Abbey Gate right at the entrance of our hotel.
And another noteworthy feature…
^ The Pillar of Salt.
No, there’s no one grain of salt in sight. This is said to be the first internally illuminated road sign in the country. It’s specially designed by an architect and the height of the letters were said to be in non-conformity with the regulations. But it was granted special permission to be erected here in BSE.
So much for a road sign, eh? This rather ordinary-looking bloke certainly had his moment.
Now, come on in to the Angel.
Established in a Georgian building, its guest-list boasts the name of Charles Dickens and Angelina Jolie (not at the same time, obviously) when she was here in Bury filming for Tomb Raider.
Not a bad choice, isn’t it?
We dropped our bags and headed out to the sun, looking for a quick bite. We walked through the Abbeygate Street and were delighted to see lots of shops with attractive window display like this.
Settled for some iced tea, sausages and bacon sandwich.
It was that kind of weekend when the sky is cheerfully bright and you just want to spend the rest of the day out under the sun.
We filled our stomach and decided to take a walk exploring this charming little town, starting with the Abbey Gardens.
Walking pass abundant of leafy trees, rows of hedges and beautiful flower beds, before coming to the abbey…
^ The shrine to St Edmund, the Saxon King Of East Anglia.
This was once among the richest monasteries in the country, but was destroyed during the Dissolution (i.e. a period of time when Henry VIII disbanded the Catholic religious houses in large scale) during the 16th century.
Few years ago, there was a very interesting debate about who is the original Patron Saint of England i.e. the man who died in defence of the Christian religion in England.
Some say St. George, the Roman dragon slayer; some say St Edmund.
St Edmund was born on a Christmas day and succeeded the throne at a rather tender age of 15. During a battle with the pagan Viking from Denmark, his forces were defeated and he was compelled to renounce his faith and share power with the enemy.
Naturally, he refused and was thus, bound to a tree, shot through by arrows and beheaded.
Now here’s another interesting part. Words have it that his decapitated head was found by a talking wolf, who alerted his followers to reunite his head with his body.
His remain was then moved to BSE and this town became a place of national pilgrimage.
On the other side of the garden, there were couples hole-ing up for some quality time and happy kids playing with their missing-on-weekday daddy.
We exited the garden and headed towards Crown Street, passing by St Edmundsbury Cathedral – the only cathedral in BSE and has a striking Millennium Tower.
Feeling a little adventurous, we decided to (literally) take a path less trodden and see what came our way.
And look what we found!
I was thrilled to pieces, running as swiftly as I could to those adorable little ones!
Someone must have found this amusing and decided to capture my excitement all in the camera. Much useful for the blog!
Anyhow, look at them!
So docile and gentle and clearly shaven and having a communication with me in such profound level.
I think I have superpower. Always have a special connection with grazing animals.
Alas, all good things must come to an end. Time was ticking and I was urged to leave. We took a different route back and continued to explore another side of the town.
Now, what do you do when the day becomes longer and the temperature rises to a two-digit number??
(FYI This is England, where a single-digit temperature is the norm and a double calls for celebration)
You queue for ice-cream!
Or make someone queue for you and snap photos of the ice-cream cart so maniacally like you’ve never seen such a magical transportation in your entire life.
Please live with the suspense and don’t Google. I promise you won’t regret your decision.
See you soon!
With love x