Take a virtual tour of Bury St Edmunds
- Credit: Archant
Through the magic of Google Street View anyone can now witness the beauty of Suffolk’s historic market town and they need not even leave the comfort of their front room
There's no better place to start your virtual tour than in the beautiful Abbey Gardens flowering in summer with the majestic St Edmundsbury Cathedral towering in the distance.
Take a short stroll from the gardens and you'll be surrounded by the extensive remains of the 11th century Bury St Edmunds Abbey. It remained a prosperous location up until the 17th century and later houses were built using the abbey's west front which are still in use today.
Visitors to the abbey precinct from the 14th century onwards would have entered through the Great Gate and it's not hard to imagine travellers and merchants admiring the magnificent masonry just as today's visitors will.
Staying in the Angel Hill area, take a look at the Pillar of Salt - thought to be the UK's first illuminated road sign - admire the ivy-covered frontage of The Angel hotel - a cracking place for an afternoon tea or an evening meal - and pop into The Athenaeum, a spot that once hosted readings by Charles Dickens and W M Thackeray.
Just down the road is the entrance to St Edmundsbury Cathedral and before heading in make sure you take a picture of the Norman Tower. The tower is the oldest Norman building in the country and if your timing is right you may get to hear its bells being rung.
The cathedral is the only one in Suffolk and much of its interior is incredibly new in comparison to many other places of worship in Britain. Up until 1959 there was merely a parish church on the site but building work from that point added a new quire, cloister and chapels to gradually make it into the work of architecture we know today.
You can't possibly leave Bury St Edmunds before stopping to pay homage to the man that gave his name to the whole area - St Edmund. His statue - sculpted by Dame Elizabeth Frink - stands in front of the houses built from the remains of the abbey we mentioned earlier.
Moving away from the Angel Hill and Abbey Precinct area, our next stop is Britain's only surviving Regency playhouse, the Theatre Royal. Shows still regularly take place there so get your tickets if you can.
Stroll back up towards the Cathedral Gardens to pick up a walking and cycling trail that will run adjacent to the beautiful River Lark all the way back to Abbot's Bridge and the Eastgate part of town.
From there you can loop into the town's bustling shopping areas via Moyses Hall - a museum located in a 12th century building that will cover all parts of the area's history - and have a browse through the various independent shops, many of which are based on St John's Street.
As you head back towards the town centre stop by the Nutshell which, with a bar of just 15ft by 7ft, is the smallest pub in Britain. Order a pint of real ale and admire the unusual collection of memorabilia that adorns the walls.
Our virtual tour will reach its conclusion on the pedestrianised Abbeygate Street, home to several of the town's best restaurants - the ideal way to end a busy day exploring this wonderfully historic location.
If this has made you want to see more of Suffolk then check these places out!