Abbey Gardens

Whether you're a history lover or simply want a picnic in a park, the Abbey Gardens provides a beautiful backdrop in which to enjoy.

Opens Monday to Saturday 7.30am, Sunday 9am
Closing times vary depending on daylight hours, they are seasonal and exact changeover dates may change.
The closing times for the gates are given as a guide: November to February 4.30pm, March to May and October 6pm and 7.30pm to 8pm from June to September.

Free to enjoy

Mustow Street 
Bury St Edmunds 
IP33 1XL

Abbey Gardens map

About the Abbey Gardens

The Abbey Gardens is made up of different areas, a brief description of each can be found below. The ruins of an 11th century Benedictine monastery also lay within the gardens. You can find out more about the Abbey Gardens and its history at Visit Bury St Edmunds, Abbey Gardens

Appleby Rose Garden
Originally an orchard, this is now a beautiful and established rose garden with over 400 rose bushes. The rose garden is named after John Appleby, an American serviceman who served with the 487th Bomb Group in Lavenham. A donation of royalties from his book 'Suffolk Summer' saw the rose garden come to life. A bench made from the wing of an American 'Flying Fortress Bomber' and a memorial stone pays tribute to the many US servicemen and women stationed in Suffolk.

Central area
The formal beds and borders greet you as you walk through the Great Gate. With benches along the perimeter, this is the perfect spot for enjoying a few moments' peace and quiet whilst watching the world go by.

Children's play area
A well-equipped play area and treehouse nestle within a willow maze, there is lots for the adventurous (and not so) to do. There is also a sand and water area so don't forget your bucket and spade!

Pilgrims herb garden
The garden features many traditional medicinal plants believed to cure most ills and also ward off evil spirits. It was inspired by a now famous manuscript written at the Abbey in the 13th century which is housed in the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

Sensory garden
Designed with the visually impaired in mind, this garden is full of fragrant and tactile plants for everyone to enjoy.

The Riverside
The River Lark runs along the eastern side of the Abbey Gardens. The Abbey historically used the river as a power supply and trading route.

The water garden
Tranquil and calming, the water garden is a relaxing place to enjoy some shade on sunny summer days.

Wildlife feeding area
There is a special wildlife feeding area within the Abbey Gardens. It is near the dovecote, past the children's play area and over the bridge. The dovecote was designed to home the pigeons so that visitors walking under the Great Gate didn't receive any unwanted gifts! Please only feed the local wildlife near the dovecote as this will encourage them to stay close to it.


You can also enjoy other activities in the Abbey Gardens. For bookings and equipment hire please contact the park keeper on the telephone number on this page or visit the Abbey Gardens shop, opposite the bowling green. Please note shop opening hours vary according to availability of staff and volunteers.


There is a small aviary with a variety of birds. There is no charge to see the birds.

Bowling green

Available April –October (limited to 2-3 lanes)

£3 per person, per game £2 hire of bowls (plus £5 deposit)

Crazy golf and putting

Available April – October

£2.50 per person, per round, free club and ball hire (plus £1 deposit)

Tennis court

Available all year round

£4 per court, per hour       
Racket hire: £2 per per hour (plus £5 deposit) 
Ball hire: £2 per hour (plus £5 deposit)      

All deposits are refundable upon the return of equipment.


  • Banner hire for advertising
  • Kiosk times vary as follows but are always weather dependent and subject to change:
    • January - closed
    • February - half term only, 11am to 3pm
    • March - Weekends only, 11am to 3pm
    • April and May - weekdays 11am to 4pm and weekends 11am to 5pm
    • June - weekdays 11am to 4pm and weekends 10am to 5pm
    • July and August - 10am to 5pm daily
    • September - 11am to 4pm daily
    • October 11am to 3pm weekends only. 
    • October half term, Monday to Friday 11am to 3pm.
    • During November the cafe is only open during the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre and throughout December the cafe is closed.
  • Toilets – opening hours Monday to Saturday 8am - 6.30pm and Sunday 8.30am - 6.30pm. Attendant present every day from 12noon.

Abbey Gardens friends

Visit the Abbey Gardens Friends website for more information.