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. Dogs are allowed but only on a lead.

Visit the What's On West Suffolk website to find out information on events.

Seasonal opening times

Summer - 1 April to 31 August Monday to Saturday 7.30am to 8pm
Sundays and bank holidays 9am to 8pm
Mid-season - September and March Monday to Saturday 7.30am to 6pm
Sundays and bank holidays 9am to 6pm
Winter - 1 October to the last day in February Monday to Saturday 7.30am to 5pm
Sundays and bank holidays 9am to 5pm


Free to enjoy


Mustow Street
Bury St Edmunds
IP33 1XL


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, the St Edmundsbury Chronicle gives more information on the history of this interesting site.

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.



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

Tennis courts

Two courts are available to book for a one hour session from 8am Monday to Saturday and from 9am on Sundays and bank holidays. Latest booking times for the courts are seasonal:

  • Summer - 1 April to 30 September, 4pm.
  • Winter - 1 October to 31 March, 3pm.

The coaching sessions are temporally suspended until further notice due to the lack of coaching staff available.


£5.25 per court, per hour.

To book and pay use Clubspark.


The refreshment kiosk is under new management and operated by Grounds Café. Opening hours are as follows:

1 February to 30 September Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5pm
Saturdays and Sundays 9.30am to 5.30pm
1 October to 31 January Monday to Sunday 10am to 4pm
Please call the kiosk on 01284 653788 to check for opening times as they may change due to weather conditions.

Abbey Gardens friends

Visit the Abbey Gardens Friends website for more information.