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Bury Free Press BID Column October 2023

The darker evenings and cooler weather remind us that winter is almost here – but the good news is that it won’t be long before the town centre becomes welcoming and bright after dark once the Christmas Lights go on next month. As always, we have an evening of entertainment and attractions for the first night of illuminations and we hope many town centre businesses will also benefit from the additional numbers coming in. The Our Bury St Edmunds Christmas Lights Event is on Thursday November 16 between 3pm and 8pm. There’ll be a range of stalls selling crafts and gifts as well as a number supporting local good causes.

The Christmas Lights Event really heralds the start of the festive season in the town centre – and here at the BID we recognise what an important trading period this is for our member businesses. We believe that decorating the town is a critical element for this time of year but we ensure that all the lights use the most energy efficient LED bulbs and last year we also reduced the number of hours per day that the lights are on. It’s saddened me to read in the media recently how across the country a number of councils have decided not to fund Christmas lights this year and in some areas businesses and even residents have had to step in to arrange and pay for whatever can be managed at short notice. Our decorations and Christmas trees are also designed to be ‘instagram-able’ – giving many another reason to come into town. There is a huge amount going on in Bury St Edmunds in the run up to Christmas as we work with a number of partner organisations on various festive activities – full details can be found at

Of course, if you’re struggling for a Christmas gift idea the Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Card is a perfect solution. It’s particularly good for a staff reward or thank you to customers at this time of year. If your business would be interested in this and would like to purchase a larger number of cards please contact the BID office for more information.

It’s good to see more new businesses preparing to open in the town including Clarendon Fine Art and Joy Connection. And it was great to see so many Bury St Edmunds businesses recognised at the West Suffolk Business Awards a couple of weeks ago, promoted by the Bury Free Press. Congratulations to Ellisons Solicitors who won the Customer Service Award, sponsored by the BID. The Angel Hotel and Theatre Royal also picked up prizes as did EcoCarriers. Voluntary BID member Thomas Ridley MD Justin Godfrey won the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

Finally we’re conducting a survey about the town centre until the end of the month. Many thanks to those businesses who have sent the link to their customers.

By Mark Cordell, CEO of Our Bury St Edmunds BID.

Why the Bury St Edmunds Gift Card is perfect corporate reward

Helping clients and employees feel valued at Christmas can often be a challenge for businesses. With so many different dietary requirements to consider – a hamper or other food or drink gifts can now be more of a headache than a failsafe. But the Business Improvement District (BID) organisation Our Bury St Edmunds is offering an option that not only solves that difficult dilemma, but also supports around 70 businesses in the town centre.

The Bury St Edmunds Town Centre Gift Card is not just available as a gift for individuals but makes a great alternative to a festive bonus or gift. And businesses giving gift cards to their staff, customers or suppliers are also helping to lock more spending into the local economy and thus supporting the town centre.

The initiative was launched in the town in 2020. And unlike store specific cards there is no need to worry that purchasers could be out of pocket if the business folds. With so many businesses now accepting the card it can be used to pay for a night out, a purchase at one of the town’s big-name brands or any number of the smaller independent businesses that make Bury St Edmunds such a wonderful shopping experience.

Business Support Manager at Our Bury St Edmunds BID Mike Kirkham said: “The Bury St Edmunds Town Centre Gift Card has been so popular – and not just as gifts for friends and family. Businesses have found it very easy to purchase multiple cards as staff rewards, parents love them as end of term presents for teachers and with many collections for leaving or retirement presents in the workplace now moving away from the traditional cash collection – it’s very easy to purchase the card online when a team have made the leaving collection digitally.

“Purchasing the card on behalf of a business couldn’t be simpler, but I am happy to talk to any local business who’d like to know more about a larger order of cards for client or staff gifts. I’d particularly like to thank St Edmundsbury Wealth Management who have again chosen this option for their Christmas 2023 gifts.”

The company behind the cards, which are Mastercard-based, also has a dedicated page for online orders. Miconex offers Town & City Gift Cards in more than 65 locations across the UK. The full amount on the Bury St Edmunds Town Centre Gift Card does not need to be spent all at once, and it’s simple to check online how much balance is left, where it’s previously been spent and where it’s accepted.

It can be purchased safely online or for information about other ways to buy, contact Our Bury St Edmunds on 01284 766258.

For more information or to buy the card online visit the Gift Card website.

More Treats than Tricks in Bury St Edmunds this Autumn

Autumn can bring a chill in the air – and not just because of Halloween on October 31st.   And to make the most of it, then a visit to what’s been described as one of the most haunted towns in England is a must.  This year as you tread cautiously through the historic streets of Bury St Edmunds from Friday 13th October there’ll even be a free, spooky Halloween trail to offer you hair-raising fun and the chance to win a prize.  Find all the details on the town’s LoyalFree app.

Why not start your trail by stocking up on sweets for Trick or Treaters – and where better to do so than Mr Simms sweet shop on the Buttermarket? Whether you’re after chocolate pumpkins, or boxes of sweets to fill those trick or treat buckets on the night – you’ll find them here.

Did you know that between 10 and 15 million pumpkins are grown in the UK each year and that we spend close to £30million pounds on them for Halloween? That’s a lot of pumpkins so it’s no wonder that it’s a delicious Autumn flavour to add to our favourite hot or cold drinks and in Bury St Edmunds town centre there’s a wickedly wonderful choice of places to try them.  

Pop along to The Lounge and Garden in Hatter Street where you’ll find pumpkin spiced coffee thick shakes or a pumpkin spiced latte. Whether you choose hot or iced you’ll also find pumpkin spiced latte in St Johns Street at Bay Tree Café where Eddie the spooky spider adds to the atmosphere.  And a couple of doors up the road at Midgar Coffee, not only will you find whipped cream and nutmeg on your pumpkin spiced latte but you can also enjoy a pumpkin spice sticky bun to go with it.

Staying in St Johns Street you’ll find many of the independent businesses there have ramped up their window displays with the very best the season has to offer.  And don’t forget to seek out the Halloween Trail QR codes among the cobwebs for participants in the Trivia Trail where – if you take part up to October 31st – you might win a prize. Wicked window decorations include 3 Cats Vintage and Dance & Party Crazy. Peck and Cookie Barista may also cast their spell over you.

You won’t need to wait for the witching hour for your Halloween-themed cocktails if you visit Verve on Woolhall Street.  Try a pumpkin spiced Martini which is also available as part of the Thursday two-course and a cocktail set menu for £25. And for more autumn flavoured cocktails Hunter Club on St Andrews Street South has Pumpkin Spice White Russian and Fall Punch to name but two on the menu.

If you’re still looking for a fix of fright and the ‘Ghost Stories by Candlelight’ on Friday 13th at Theatre Royal didn’t leave you looking nervously over your shoulder then why not book for ‘The Women They Called Witches’ on October 22 or horror classic ‘Frankenstein’ which opens on Halloween itself.  Just across the road you’ll find the Greene King Beer Café where you’ll find regular favourites and maybe some of the seasonal ales to suit the time of year. 

For a stunning autumn window display why not head to Buy The Light in Whiting Street? How many witches can you spot? And do look out for the adorable knitted pumpkins as well as the seasonal flavour of the month orange and anise.

Still feeling peckish for pumpkin?  Among the whole host of spooky treats at Crumbs in High Baxter Street including deliciously gruesome severed fingers you’ll also find yum-kin pumpkin cheesecake. And they’ve partnered with Queens’s Bar and Grill in Churchgate Street to offer the afternoon ‘afterlife’ tea on Saturdays with a selection of goodies to die for.  Or try the Halloween afternoon tea with Devilled eggs and Bloody Mary Soup as well as other treats from the Autumnal cupboard at Procopio’s Pantry in Langton Place.

When you’re ready to set out onto our Halloween Trail again there are a few more places that you might want to in-spectre including Hazells in Short Brackland and Hughes in Brentgovel Street.  In St Andrews Street South look for Denny Bros Supplies and Shuffle Board Game Café.  Make no bones about Waterstones in arc Shopping Centre and no need to wait for moonlight to visit Luna House Boutique in the Buttermarket.

And remember to download the LoyalFree app, visit or follow our social media channels so you don’t miss a trick (or treat).

Bury Free Press BID Column September 2023

Bury St Edmunds has a well-deserved reputation as the foodie capital of Suffolk and the hospitality sector is set to welcome more new arrivals soon. I’m delighted to see that the prominent building on Abbeygate Street that most recently housed Bills is to continue as a restaurant. The Indian Street Food chain Mowgli is moving into the building and has been actively recruiting its new team. Food from all corners of the globe can be found in Bury St Edmunds and soon to join this eclectic mix will be a new Mexican restaurant proposing to open in Risbygate Street, which will be some good news for the street after sadly losing Wilko.

This variety of food and drink offering particularly complements the annual Our Bury St Edmunds Food & Drink Festival, which took place over the August Bank Holiday. The bars and restaurants that showcased their offering on the stage were the stars of the show and thousands of people attended across the two days. The urban beach was another highlight at arc Shopping Centre and keeping it in place for a further week provided some free entertainment for youngsters in the days before their return to school. This is now a major event on the town centre calendar and brings people from far and wide who we hope then return to enjoy some of the places they’ve seen as part of the Festival.

For a couple of weeks during October Our Bury St Edmunds will once again be running a Halloween Trail in conjunction with our partners at LoyalFree which runs the app for the town centre. This will be a free and fun family experience leading up to Halloween and a perfect activity to enjoy during half term.

And then – dare I say it – people’s thoughts will start turning to Christmas. We will of course have the Our Bury St Edmunds Christmas Lights event in November and there will be numerous other activities in the weeks leading up to the festivities. The Christmas in Bury St Edmunds Experience will offer something for everyone and is provided by a number of partner organisations, of which the Business Improvement District (BID) is one. The festive fun will include a synthetic ice-rink in Charter Square and we’re delighted that arc Shopping Centre and Bury St Edmunds Town Council have partnered us at the BID to bring this fabulous free attraction to the town centre.

If your business likes to reward staff or clients at Christmas, don’t forget that the Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Card is a great way to do so and help to encourage spending in local businesses. It’s accepted in around 70 different places in the town centre. Please contact me in the BID office if you’d like to know more about this opportunity – or indeed if your business doesn’t yet accept it but would like to.


By Mark Cordell, CEO of Our Bury St Edmunds BID.

Spook-tacular Surprises for Bury St Edmunds Halloween Adventure!

Get ready for a spine-chilling experience this Halloween as Our Bury St Edmunds invites you to embark on a ghoulishly thrilling Halloween trail that will send shivers down your spine and give you a chance to win some wickedly wonderful prizes!

The hair-raising trail is presented by Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District (BID) in collaboration with the LoyalFree app. It will send shivers through the streets of the historic market town with its appropriate start date of Friday 13th October and running until Halloween itself on the 31st.

The fang-tastic trail will feature a series of eerie locations, each hosting a poster with Halloween-themed questions. As you tread cautiously along the trail, scan the QR code on each poster to unlock the answers and discover spine-tingling facts. Brave souls who conquer the entire trail, visiting all locations and scanning the QR codes, will be entered into a frightfully fantastic prize draw with three Our Bury St Edmunds gift cards each worth £50 up for grabs.

Our Bury St Edmunds Business Support Manager Mike Kirkham comments: “This is a spook-tacular and free activity in the town centre with the hocus-focus very much on fun. If you’re looking for tricks or treats then this trail has it all. It’s available throughout half term and right up to Halloween, casting its spell over the whole family – you might even conjure up a prize.”

LoyalFree’s Partnership Manager, Sophie Carrick, shares the excitement saying: “We are thrilled to bring this haunted trail to our partners. Whether you’re a local resident or a daring visitor to Bury St Edmunds, we invite you to enjoy this educational yet spooky adventure and discover the ghostly secrets that the town centre holds.”

Participating in the trail is frightfully easy! Just download the free LoyalFree app and head to the trails section for all the ghostly details. You can download the LoyalFree app by visiting or by searching for ‘LoyalFree’ in your app store.

Prepare yourself for a fantastic Halloween adventure that will leave you with delightful shivers and hauntingly good memories.