19th June 2019

The jewel of the East: Bury St Edmunds.

It was no surprise to see the bustling market town of Bury St Edmunds top The Sunday Times’ list of best places to live in the East of England. Widely regarded as the jewel of East Anglia, Bury St Edmunds is a pretty town with photogenic pastel-coloured cottages, lovely Georgian squares, a magnificent cathedral and the ruins of an 11th-century abbey.

The town has an excellent selection of restaurants, notably Maison Bleue, and an assortment of independent shops. It is charming, in a rather quaint way, but has also done a good job of reinventing itself as a cultural hub. Subsequently, it is good for the arts but is smaller and more manageable than Cambridge. It has the only working Regency playhouse in the UK, attracting those downsizing and retiring to the area who want plenty on their doorstep to keep them busy.

But it’s not just retirees who are attracted to Bury. Families are also moving to the area, with the very good state and private schools proving a big draw. Road connections are good; it is close to the busy A14, which links to the M11 and M1. It’s less than an hour to the Suffolk coast and as there is no direct train line to London, not many people commute on a daily basis, helping Bury retain some of its charm. 

The main problem, for those looking to move to Bury (and many people do move from Essex in particular), is the shortage of stock. There may be some very good townhouses, but they don’t change hands very often. Once people get hold of one of these, they tend to hold onto them, so they aren’t for sale very frequently. If you are lucky enough to secure one, you may find yourself enjoying Bury’s charms for quite a while.