Bury St Edmunds and the Wool Towns Area Guide

Bury St Edmunds & The Wool Towns makes up a large area of West Suffolk. It contains a number of historical towns including a group of towns with their roots in the wool trade of the 15th century - know as 'Wool Towns'. This group of towns grew prosperous when the wool trade was at its height, then fell into decline when the industry collapsed. As a result these towns are rich with stunning timber-framed buildings and historical landmarks. Nowadays these towns retain their heritage but are better known for their attractions, including churches, listed building, excllenet restaurants and independent shops. Find out more about Bury St Edmunds & The Wool Towns:

Bury St Edmunds

A delightful market town which has 1,000 years of history to tell. Step back in time with it cobbled streets and many stunning landmarks including the ruins of a former abbey, Suffolk's only cathedral and a Norman tower. You could spend all day exploring the medieval streets, or simply book a guided tour for expert insider knowledge. If you're feet are tired from all the walking then head to the beautiful Abbey Gardens to relax and reflect, you can either take a picnic or indulge yourself in one of the excellent restaurants and cafes that the town has to offer. If history isn't your thing then Bury St Edmunds is a hub for retail therapy with many indepedent shops lining the historical streets as well as a large shopping centre known as The Arc. Finally, finish off your day with a cocktail at The Wingspan Bar in The Angel Hotel which is located in a 12th century vault underneath the hotel.

Long Melford

This lovely little village is best known for its very long high street and plethora of interesting art galleries and antiques shops. Lying alongside the banks of the river Stour this truy is a very picturesque village, ideal for some retail therapy followed by a delicious meal at one of the many excellent eateries.


Lavenham is a very popular, medieval market town. The historic streets are lined with listed buildings and is considered as one of England's best preserved medieval towns with over 300 listed buildings including the Guildhall and a very grand church. With sweeping countryside surrounding it you'll feel like you're in another world, so take the time to explore the streets, enjoy some shopping in one of the independent shops or indulge in a sweet treat at one of the cafes.


This Suffolk wool town is most famous for its links to artist Thomas Gainsborough who was born here - the house he grew up in still stands today and is now a museum Gainsborough House. It is also well known for its links to the silk trade which still stay strong today with 3 working silk mills in the town. Discover the history behind the cobbled streets and then enjoy a relaxing walk along the banks of the river Stour.


Hadleigh is a truly magnificent town with so much history that has been well preserved. It has around 250 listed buildings and a bustling high street filled with local shops and producers including a fantastic delicatessen. There is a regular market where local produce is sold, perfect for stocking up your fridge! There is also a number of excellent pubs and historical landmarks to discover including a grade I listed deanery tower, guildhall and church.


Known as Suffolk's smallest town, Clare is as pretty as a picture! And for what it lacks in size it makes up for in charm. Its historic streets are packed with things to see and do. Take a trip to Clare Country Park to explore the ruins of the Norman castle. There is also a medieval church, priory and many timber-framed buildings to feast your eyes upon. It has also been accredited with a Walker Are Welcome accolade and has a number of trails in and around the town.


Newmarket is not a wool town and is best known as the birthplace of horse racing. A truly fascinating town full of history, culture and horses! If you've never been to the racecourse then make sure you book your tickets early. There are 2 different festivals in the summer months which include ladies day, a family day and Newmarket nights where live musicians and bands perform after the racing. If betting isn't your thing then why not immerse yourself in the history and culture of this unusual town? Visit Palace House, formerly the National Racehorsing Museum, where you will find equestrian and sporting art exhibitions as well as live horse training demonstrations. For a real treat, get up super early and watch the racehorses being trained on Warren Hill - a sight that has inspired many artists.