What’s going for it? The streets of Bury are a catwalk for the architecturally curious (ie me). Suffolk-pink painted 16th-century cottages? Yes, please. Don’t like pink? Walk 10 metres and another stunner arrives. Knapped flint. Half timbers. Weatherboards. Georgian townhouse, orange brick walls blazing in the sunshine. Ooh, is that a spot of pargetting? It IS. Yum. Hey, nice tiles. A BOW WINDOW! Lemon-yellow paint? I like it. If Dan Cruickshank had been left in charge of town planning, he couldn’t have come up with better. They should set every BBC period drama here. I haven’t even mentioned the ancient abbey ruins (with hobbity houses built into them!), or the cathedral’s tower, or the hammerbeam roofs and don’t even get me going on the country’s only surviving Regency playhouse. This makes Bury sound like a museum. It isn’t. The Apex, the Abbeygate cinema, the burgeoning food scene: this town has life. I love Bury. Can you tell?
The case against It’s relatively all alone on the A14 (but surrounded by underrated and beautiful countryside).
Well connected? Trains: hourly to Cambridge (44-47 mins), hourly or half hourly to Stowmarket (16-21 mins) and Ipswich (30-38 mins). Driving: the A14, East Anglia’s lifeline, passes through; 45 mins to Cambridge and the M11, or the other way to Ipswich, 50-60 mins to the coast at Felixstowe or Aldeburgh.
Schools Primaries: Tollgate, Sexton’s Manor, St Edmundsbury CofE, Abbots Green, Guildhall Feoffment, Westgate and Hardwick are all “good”, says Ofsted, with Sebert Wood “outstanding”. Secondaries: King Edward VI CofE and St Benedict’s Catholic are “good”, with Bury St Edmund’s County Upper “outstanding”.
Hang out at… Bury is rather a below-the-radar culinary hotspot. Pea Porridge is usually mentioned, quite rightly, but don’t miss Maison Bleue, Ben’s, 1921 Angel Hill and The Angel. Then there’s the pubs: The Old Cannon microbrewery, The Dove, The Fox, the lovely weeny Nutshell, the Rose and Crown.
Where to buy The historic heart is large. Bury has long been an important town, and every age has left its mark. There’s every type of home possible on streets such as College Street or Whiting Street: wander and wonder. Just beyond, there’s a great neighbourhood of mostly Victorian streets south of Newmarket Road on the west side of town. Large detacheds and townhouses, £450,000-£1.2m. Detacheds and smaller townhouses, £280,000-£450,000. Semis, £200,000-£600,000. Terraces and cottages, £170,000-£400,000. Flats, £130,000-£300,000. Rentals: a one-bedroom flat, £600-£1,000pcm; a three-bedroom house, £800-£1,800pcm.
Bargain of the week Lovely four-bedroom listed early-19th-century townhouse, in need of updating, £450,000 with lsk.co.uk.
From the streets
Rachael Salt “Great selection of independent shops and cafes. Brilliant market on Wednesdays and Saturdays with a ‘foodie row’ of world cuisine. It’s inevitable that you’ll strike up a conversation with the other people at the communal open air tables as the town is so friendly. Downside – no direct trains to London and the dreaded A14….”
Janet Perks “Bury has a country market town feel: conservative, slow paced and rural. We bought a great house with what we sold our Cambridge semi for!”
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