Bury St Edmunds is one of the oldest market towns in England. It was conferred its historic status as a chartered market town and host of annual fairs in 1235 by King Henry III. Although the advent of modern transportation network and food storage technology has reduced the logistical appeal of market towns, they remain an important part of life - and shopping - for many.
Today, Bury St Edmunds hosts two weekly street markets on every Wednesday and Saturday between 8.30 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. along the medieval lanes of the old town, where up to 90 stalls snake through the butter market, a post office and even a Marks & Spencer. Aside from seasonal and fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry, the vendors also sell pottery, vintage clothes, mobile phone accessories, watches, jewellery and much more. The rustic charm of the market, friendly vendors and competitive prices will compel you to visit the market again and again. As an added bonus, there’s a ton of food and drinks sold that will satisfy even the most discerning palates. Hog roasts and ice-cream, anyone?
Additionally, the town also organises a monthly farmers market every second Sunday of the month along The Traverse. You can’t miss it – the smell of freshly baked bread will guide you. Also, remember to skip breakfast, because you might feel obligated to taste the homemade cakes, puddings and pies for purely selfless reasons.
Fairs and Festivals
Although the royal charter only gave the town the right to hold one Easter charter annually, we’re pretty sure no one will be offended that Bury St Edmunds actually hosts more than half a dozen amazing fairs annually, which includes:
Bury St Edmunds Festival: This ten-day festival, held either in May or June each year, features amazing music, film shows, theatre performances, art exhibitions, and many other forms of art staged in multiple locations all across town. The 2018 edition, which will be held between 18 and 27 May, has already confirmed the attendance of Jools Holland and his band.
Whitsun Fayre: Bury St Edmunds is transformed into a gardener’s wonderland for two days every May as a crowd of horticulturists and retailers descend into the heart of East Anglia to parade their wares to the public. If you would like to learn how to plant the colourful flowers and lovely plants on display in your own garden, then sign up for one of the many gardening demonstrations during the fair. Or, you know, just buy a bunch of them and tell everyone you grew them yourself.
Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink Festival: Held over two days on every August bank holiday, the festival features food and drinks of infinite variety as far as the eye can see; visitors will also get to taste most of the food before buying them. Aside from the food, there are also cooking demonstrations conducted by celebrity chefs, fairground rides and even street entertainment. This is arguably the best festival for families.
Bury St Edmunds Science Fiction and Action Festival: Held at the Moyse’s Hall Museum in Corn Hill, the festival features Star Wars’ Stormtroopers, Superman and Star Trek’s Captain Picard costumes, sci-fi craft workshop, the adamantium claws of X-Men’s Wolverine, and much more. The festival is perfect for kids and nerds.
Christmas Fayre: This is the biggest and best Christmas fair in the UK, bar none. Last year’s event, which was held over four days in November as it always is, drew over 120,000 people – three times the size of the town’s population. Stroll along the 300 stalls draped in twinkling lights and colourful Christmas motifs as the sounds of church choirs and musical bands entertain you and get some unique presents for your loved ones.