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
Closes 4.30pm November to February, 6pm February to March, 8pm April to October (each day of the week) exact changeover dates may vary

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 based at Rougham. 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 contact the park keeper or visit the Abbey Gardens shop.


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)

Adults: £3.70 per person, per game        
Under 16: £2.20 per person, per game (must be accompanied by an adult)   

Off peak charges:
Monday – Friday 12 noon to 2.30pm (excludes bank holidays) 
Adults and under 16s: £2.30 per game
Bowls hire: £2.30 for a set of 4 (this includes a £1 deposit)
Jacks hire: £2.85 per jack (this includes a £2 deposit)

Crazy golf

Available April – October from 9am until 8pm

Adults: £3.00 per person, per round
Under 16: £2.20 per person, per round

Putting green

Available April – October from 9am until 8pm (weather dependent)

Adults: £2.75 per person, per round
Under 16: £1.90 per person, per round

Tennis courts

Available all year round

Adults and under 16s: £2.30 per court, per hour       
Racket hire: £7 per racket per hour (includes a £5 deposit)       
Ball hire (set of four): £7 per hour (includes a £5 deposit)

All deposits are refundable upon the return of equipment.


  • Kiosk, near the aviary, the kiosk sells light refreshments
  • Toilets

Abbey Gardens friends

Visit the Abbey Gardens Friends website for more information.