Studying at University of Suffolk at West Suffolk College puts you at the heart of the beautiful town of Bury St Edmunds. Not only historic, pretty and picturesque, it is East Anglia’s greatest jewel. Bury has a thriving cultural life with a unique theatre and two cinemas, and many individual bars, cafes and restaurants.
Once described by John Peel as the new Seattle, Bury St Edmunds has always enjoyed a thriving music scene. The opening of the Apex in 2010 brought world class bands of all genres including Mumford and Sons, Funeral for a Friend and the Levellers to name but a few. There are also regular acoustic sessions in the upstairs bar. As well as the Apex, Bury St Edmunds has some unique, intimate live venues including the Hunter Club and the LP. During the summer, the Abbey Gardens holds its own music festival Abbeyfest which features themed music nights.
Bury St Edmunds has an eclectic array of shops for the discerning shopper. Its newest shopping centre on the site of the old cattle market has become a hub for high-street giants such as Debenhams, Topshop and H&M, while the pretty side-streets just off the town centre provide a wealth of independent retailers with some very interesting specialisms ranging from extreme sports to real ales.
Comedy, Theatre and Film
Bury St Edmunds welcomes A-list comedians (recent visits from Russell Brand and Tim Minchin notable highlights) to add sparkle to its regular comedy night, The Fat Cat Comedy Club, held once a month at the Apex. Benson Blakes also has monthly comedy in a more intimate atmosphere featuring professional comedians and open mic nights.
The gorgeous Theatre Royal hosts traditional theatre, music, comedy and dance in one of the oldest buildings of its type in the country. Built in 1819, backstage tours of this fascinating Regency era survivor are held frequently.
Bury St Edmunds has two cinemas; an eight-screen multiplex cinema with adjacent restaurants shows the latest releases, while the Abbeygate Picturehouse on Hatter Street is an independent cinema showing films away from the mainstream, in two-seater sofa comfort.
Sport and leisure
The main campus is adjacent to the Abbeycroft Leisure Centre which offers a whole range of fitness fun including a fully equipped gym, swimming pool and other sports including badminton, squash, table tennis and basketball. For those who prefer a more holistic approach to fitness, there is The Self Centre on Moreton Hall, specialising in yoga, pilates, Tai Chi and meditation. The Bury St Edmunds Skatepark provides a place for BMXers, bladers and boarders to perfect their skills.
Eating and drinking
As you might expect in a historic town, Bury St Edmunds has quite a cafe culture of distinctive independents. Its dining options explore much of the world’s cuisines from high-end restaurants to traditional pub meals. The Greene King brewery located in the town centre, Bury St Edmunds is heartland for pub culture. Many of Bury’s pubs have stood on their sites for more than 200 years and there is a growing micro-brewery presence and an emphasis on delicious local food.