Want to know more about 1000-year-old abbey site? New tours are being launched

Bury St Edmunds Tour Guides launch new tours for abbey’s 1000th anniversary Picture: SUE WARREN

Bury St Edmunds Tour Guides launch new tours for abbeys 1000th anniversary Picture: SUE WARREN - Credit: SUE WARREN

A new series of tours have been created to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Bury St Edmunds’ abbey.

Last year about 2,500 visitors from 32 different countries undertook tours of the market town and the ruins of the Abbey of Saint Edmund.

In this special anniversary year, Bury St Edmunds Tour Guides are preparing for an increase in interest in the abbey and have created six new tours which are abbey-specific and will be launched to coincide with the Bury St Edmunds Festival in May.

They describe what life was like for the abbots and monks within the abbey, times of turbulence and what happened after the abbey was dissolved.

In addition to the 90-minute tours, a new 45-minute 'Bite-Size Abbey Tour' will be aimed at people who want to enjoy a quick overview of the abbey's history. The 'Funny Stories for an Abbey Birthday' tour, which will run during school holidays, is specifically aimed at children aged six and over and includes activities suitable for youngsters.

The first Patron Saint of England and King of East Anglia, Saint Edmund, was enshrined in the abbey consequently lending his name to the town, which was built around it.

The shrine brought visits from across the UK and abroad including royalty as the abbey became one of the most famous and wealthy pilgrimage locations in England.

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Town Guide John Saunders, of Bury St Edmunds Tour Guides, said: "Already in 2020 interest in our intended tours is high with one well-known cruise-line wanting Bury St Edmunds Tour Guides to take its passengers on tours of the town as part of their on-shore excursions.

"We hope that visitors and residents alike will enjoy these new tours and in particular workers and visitors pressed for time in the town will get out and enjoy our new Bite Size Abbey Tour during their lunch break in the beautiful surroundings of the Abbey Gardens."

-For more information and to book the tours see here or book at the Apex or cathedral visitor information point. Tickets are £7, under 16s free. Bite-Size Abbey tours are £5, under 16s free.

-For details of all Abbey 1000 events see here.