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Bury Free Press BID Column November 2023

It’s starting to look and feel very Christmassy in the town centre now following the Our Bury St Edmunds Christmas Lights Event last week. It was good to see lots of people enjoying everything the afternoon and evening had to offer. Many thanks to all who supported the event, we’ve had some very positive feedback.

This time of year is one of the most important trading periods for our member businesses. We know that the economic climate is still very challenging but I am heartened by how vibrant our town centre remains. Mowgli has recently opened on Abbeygate Street and Sneaky Links crazy golf experience and bar has its official opening today in the premises formerly housing Revel Outdoors on Brentgovel Street. I’m always delighted when businesses choose to open a branch here especially if it is a first for them in Suffolk or even East Anglia. Meanwhile Gusto Pronto is an established independent hospitality business locally that has just taken over Damson & Wilde in Abbeygate Street from City Pub Group. And Crumbs is also relocating into The Traverse soon from its current location in High Baxter Street.

This week saw the official launch of a new service for town centre businesses and shoppers, from the award-winning social enterprise EcoCarriers BSE. Shop&Drop is a cycle delivery service for anyone who lives in Bury St Edmunds and a number of nearby villages. It’s now possible to have your shopping delivered on the same day and I imagine it will be a huge boost for people who don’t really want to bring the car a short distance into town for shopping but don’t otherwise have the means of getting their purchases home. A number of our BID member businesses have already signed up to the Shop&Drop initiative and if you are a business owner who wants to support a zero-emission delivery service then do have a look at EcoCarriers BSE. For shoppers, in many cases, the delivery cost will be less than the price of parking the car.

We have recently been running a couple of surveys – one for businesses in the town centre and the other one consumer based for residents and visitors. Thank you to everyone who has completed one or other of them. By letting us know in this way about any issues that are detrimentally affecting your business we can gather evidence for partner organisations to address concerns.

Finally, we hope that the Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Card will be popular again as a gift this Christmas. It has gone from strength to strength since its launch and is now accepted by around 70 town centre businesses. Don’t miss out on this opportunity – there is still time to register to accept it as payment before we anticipate a big spend on it in the new year. Full details are on the Our Bury St Edmunds website or please contact us for more information.


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


Bury St Edmunds – England’s Most Dog Friendly Town

Bury St Edmunds is officially the most Dog Friendly Town in England.

The town reached the finals of the DogFriendly Awards 2023 in the Most Dog Friendly Town/City category at The Kennel Club HQ in London on November 29. The three finalists were Bury St Edmunds, Eastbourne, and Girvan.

Girvan in Scotland took home 1st place for the Most Dog Friendly Town/City in the UK while Bury St Edmunds won silver and is now the most Dog Friendly Town in England.

With dog-friendly accommodation, cafes and restaurants, plus attractions and days out that your pooch will love, the historic town and surrounding towns and villages are the ideal place to enjoy a short break or holiday with every member of the family – including the furry variety!

The town has had its own Dog Friendly Bury St Edmunds scheme for the last five years to let visitors know where you can bring your four-legged pal. More than 100 businesses have signed up.

Wherever the #dogfriendlybse paw print logo sticker is displayed in windows, businesses will welcome dogs in a town-wide and beyond initiative from Bury St Edmunds Town Council, Camp Tails Doggy Daycare, Our Bury St Edmunds BID (Business Improvement District) and Bury St Edmunds and Beyond.

Dog Friendly businesses in the town centre are also marked with a blue paw on the Our Bury St Edmunds BID Town Map and there’s a Dog Friendly Businesses Town Trail to enjoy on the LoyalFree Bury St Edmunds app!

The town’s tourism brand Bury St Edmunds and Beyond, now part of Our Bury St Edmunds BID, has also been running a digital marketing campaign throughout the autumn to encourage people (from a 2–3-hour drive time away) to book a Dog Friendly stay in the town, along with a photo competition for the best photo of a dog in an iconic spot in Bury St Edmunds.

The DogFriendly Awards are an opportunity to recognise and reward dog friendly places and pet businesses that go the extra mile for the benefit of the UK’s 12.5 million dogs and their owners. Winners of the DogFriendly Awards (it is in its 11th year this year) in each of the categories are chosen by public vote.

Chief Executive of Our Bury St Edmunds BID, which now includes the town’s official tourism brand Bury St Edmunds and Beyond, Mark Cordell said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for this prestigious UK award which is recognition of the great progress the town has made in being a recognised dog friendly destination since we launched the scheme with Jon Kay of Camp Tails Doggy Daycare and Bury St Edmunds Town Council 5 years ago. We are grateful for the support we have received from over 100 BID businesses who now warmly welcome dogs and their owners! into their premises.

“Our congratulations to Girvan in Scotland and to Eastbourne who were also finalists. We can now proudly say we are England’s Most Dog Friendly Town.

“I believe that being a dog friendly destination encourages more dog owners to come into our town centre, stay longer and visit more businesses, than they would if they had to leave their dog at home. I would like to recognise the work of Jon Kay from Camp Tails for his initial idea and contribution to making the scheme such a success”

Jon Kay is the owner of Camp Tails Doggy Daycare and the only hotel for dogs in the town and he founded the Dog Friendly Bury St Edmunds Scheme with former Bury St Edmunds Town Councillor Clive Springett. Jon said: “One of my main goals when we created the scheme was to make Bury St Edmunds recognised as one of the most dog friendly locations in the UK, but I didn’t think for a minute we would potentially be recognised by the national dog friendly awards. I’m super proud and excited to have this vision become a reality.”

To find out more about Dog Friendly Bury St Edmunds visit


Voting for your favourite festive window could win you a prize 

Our Bury St Edmunds’ Christmas Window Competition is back again this year, with shoppers, customers and visitors choosing their favourite festive display to decide who’ll hold the right to keep the fabulous winner’s award for the next 12 months. Everyone who votes using the LoyalFree app will also be eligible for a prize draw to win one of three Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Cards that can be spent in 73 different town centre businesses. 

The annual competition which has been hotly contested in the town for many years is run by the Business Improvement District (BID) organisation Our Bury St Edmunds. All the businesses taking part are listed as a special trail on the app making it super-easy to find them.  The app is free to download and voting in the competition is also free.  You can vote up until Thursday December 7 with the winner being announced soon afterwards.   

Mike Kirkham from Our Bury St Edmunds BID said: “Last year’s winner Hayward Moon is keen to hold onto the winner’s shield this year but there are several with an impressive track record in the competition such as Baileys 2, Denny Brothers and former winners Javelin and Loft & Spires. We hope users of the app will wander around the trail to have a look at as many as possible before casting their vote.  Our businesses put so much hard work into their shop windows at this time of year and it really makes the town centre look wonderfully Christmassy.”  

A number of businesses including Bimbi and Ada Baby are taking part in the competition for the first time.  Among others participating are: Lotties Waffles, 1921, Guildhall Studio, Lipstick & Locks, Marimba and Trotter & Deane.  A full list of participants and further information on how to vote is available by downloading the LoyalFree app or by visiting 

EcoCarriers Shop&Drop scheme launches in Bury St Edmunds

Pedal-powered delivery crews are helping businesses in Bury St Edmunds give a greener level of service to their customers with a brand new option for shoppers. Award-winning EcoCarriers BSE has been offering a delivery service around Bury and the surrounding villages for around 18 months but has now expanded it to include Shop&Drop same day delivery from a number of businesses in town as well as traders on the Saturday market.

Shop&Drop, which currently has almost a dozen businesses participating in its initial trial, offers the delivery service to customers in Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding villages from as little as £2. Shopping must be ready for collection by 2pm and will be delivered by bicycle or cargo-bike by 6pm. The project has been supported by West Suffolk and Suffolk County Councils as well as the Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District (BID).

Director of EcoCarriers BSE Libby Ranzetta who is one of the founders of the not-for-profit social enterprise is excited to be launching the service. She said: “We started our initial delivery service for local businesses last year and Shop&Drop has been a natural extension to that. The response has been fantastic with a number of different businesses getting involved from big brand names like Marks & Spencer to independents. Thanks to West Suffolk Council we are also able to have a stall on the Saturday market where shoppers can bring their purchases as they peruse the stalls or shops and we’ll deliver that afternoon.”

The initiative has been supported by Suffolk County Council’s Climate Emergency Partnership fund.

The authority’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Transport Strategy, Councillor Alexander Nicoll, commented: “Shop&Drop has the potential to considerably reduce short-journey car use in and around Bury St Edmunds. Now shoppers who would prefer to walk, cycle or catch a bus into town but don’t want to struggle home again with heavy shopping bags have the perfect sustainable solution. We are pleased to support this green transport initiative as we work with partners towards our aspiration of making the county carbon-neutral by 2030.”

Shop&Drop can also deliver items ordered over the phone or online. A single 35L crate of goods costs £2 for delivery within the town including Moreton Hall, Lark Grange and Marham Park or £4.50 to nearby villages including Great Barton, Horringer and Nowton.

Chief Executive of Our Bury St Edmunds Mark Cordell said: “I am very pleased to see so many of our BID member businesses offering delivery in this way and hope that more and more shoppers will make use of it. Anything that can reduce the number of shorter journeys by car will help our environment and in many cases the delivery charge will be less than the cost of parking alone.”

For more information about Shop&Drop visit

Enjoy Christmas in Bury St Edmunds with even more places to park

With a feast of festive fun about to begin in Bury St Edmunds, people will have even more choice on where to park thanks to West Suffolk Council and Greene King.

And this year, they will be able to arrive in style with EcoCarriers BSE running a weekend pedicab service to and from the town centre.

With St Edmundsbury Cathedral’s Christmas Market, the Theatre Royal’s pantomime Snow White featuring the voice of Dame Judi Dench as the magic mirror, a winter beer festival and a Christmas Little Makers Market all underway next weekend, with much more to follow.

With plenty of activities including ice skating at arc shopping centre and a magical performance of Peter and the Wolf Live in the Abbey Gardens, Greene King and West Suffolk Council are making extra parking available at weekends.

Greene King is making 200 spaces at its car park off Cullum Road available for parking every weekend from 25 and 26 November through to and including Christmas Eve. The car park, which will be open from 8am to 5pm, is approximately 10-15 minutes’ walk from the town centre.

Jo Kreckler, external communications director at Greene King said: “Christmas is a vital time of year for our high streets and it’s important we welcome festive shoppers to our lovely town. Each Christmas we are pleased to be able to open up our car park for shoppers, without any cost, and we’ll be doing the same again in 2023. It is a time when community and festive spirit shine through and we work together to help everyone, businesses, residents and visitors, have a Merry Christmas in Bury.”

Town centre visitors can also park and walk from West Suffolk Council’s car park in Olding Road, behind the council offices in Western Way. The car park, which is 10-15 minutes’ walk from the town centre, is available every weekend throughout the year and provides another 300 spaces.

Both the Olding Road and Greene King car parks are available in addition to the town centre car parks to ensure there’s enough spaces in place to meet demand during the weekends up to Christmas, when the town is at its busiest. There’s no charge to use the Greene King or Olding Road car parks.

This year will also see EcoCarriers BSE providing a weekend service, offering environmentally friendly pedicab rides to and from the Greene King and Olding Road car parks to the town centre. The service will be free, but donations are welcome.

Libby Ranzetta, one of the founders of the award-winning social enterprise, said: “We are delighted to welcome visitors to our beautiful town and to support Christmas in Bury St Edmunds. EcoCarriers BSE already supports a range of town centre businesses throughout the year with deliveries, and we have recently launched our Shop&Drop same-day shopping delivery service for residents. We all know how important and busy a time of year Christmas is for our town centre and so we are pleased to be able to offer this festive service.”

Cllr Indy Wijenayaka, Cabinet Member for Growth at West Suffolk Council, said: “The lights switch on this week marks the start of host of Christmas activities in the town designed to bring festive cheer to local communities and boost the tills of shops, restaurants, cafes and other town centre businesses this time of year.

“So, it is great to have the support of one of the town’s biggest employers, Greene King, once again, for what we recognise is such an important time of year for many town centre businesses. This will ensure that there’s enough spaces for people to park, even when the town is at its busiest, helping us meet demand during this festive season.

“And having enjoyed a trip in the EcoCarriers pedicab to the West Suffolk Business Awards, I am absolutely delighted to hear that EcoCarriers BSE will be offering a service from both the Greene King and Olding Road car parks into the town centre. This will be especially welcome by visitors who are less mobile and so a huge thank you to EcoCarriers BSE for its support.”

To discover all that is going on in Bury and the surrounding area from November please visit

For more on town centre parking in Bury St Edmunds visit


Why Bury St Edmunds is simply PAW-some for doggy visitors!

If you fancy a fabulous day out with your four-legged friend then Bury St Edmunds takes the lead in dog-friendliness.  Happy hounds are the order of the day almost everywhere you look in the town centre – so at Our Bury St Edmunds we’ve come up with everything your furry friend needs to follow his wet nose to a waggy welcome. Sniff out the special branded water bowls and window stickers featuring a blue paw on a green background and let your canine caper begin, starting with some of the places mentioned here.

Make no bones about it – Abbeygate Street is a great place to start.  At fashion store Javelin you might even get to meet Bailey the Cocker Spaniel pup who’s a new recruit to the team.  Just across the road you’ll find Abbeygate Lighting with dog-themed table lamps and paw-fect gifts for pet lovers. Walk down the hill to where Abbeygate Street meets Angel Hill for delicious cakes at dog-friendly coffee house No.5 open every day with outdoor seating too.  Not far away in High Baxter Street is the delightfully quirky, independent retro emporium Bohemia Vintage – you may find dog-themed trinkets and so much more.

If you’re looking for quality menswear then Gerald Boughton in the historic Corn Exchange building on Cornhill is the place.  It might be a warm sweater for winter dog-walking or cross the road to their Formal Hire shop in The Traverse if you’re looking for a tailcoat or something else for a wedding or black tie evening.  When you want to be among the smartest dog-walkers on the street head to Seasalt in the Buttermarket where you’ll find outdoor wear and accessories for all those winter-day walkies. But when the weather is really ‘ruff’ there’s nothing like curling up on the sofa with a good book and that’s where Bury St Edmunds’ Waterstones branches in the Buttermarket or arc Shopping Centre can help.  If your favourite novel’s looking a bit dog-eared, now is the time for a new one or if poetry’s your thing there’s bound to be a volume of doggerel to keep you entertained.

Ready to lap up a drink – hair of the dog even? There are plenty of dog-friendly pubs and bars who’ll welcome you and your four-legged friend.  The Nutshell in The Traverse is Britain’s smallest pub (open daily) and can be a bit of a squeeze when busy so be careful not to step on anyone’s paws. At the Kings Arms in Brentgovel Street (open every day) the beer garden and al fresco dining area is a great place to enjoy traditional pub fayre with a modern twist or a ruff-reshing drink.  And what hound isn’t going to love Baskerville’s cocktail bar and gin lounge in Whiting Street (open Thurs-Sat evenings and Sat-Sun afternoons)?

If you need a legal beagle then also in Whiting Street you’ll find Burnett Barker Solicitors.  Candles and fragrances mean nearby gift shop Buy the Light call themselves the ‘smelliest shop in town’ so scent hounds won’t have any trouble finding it although the fragrances will be considerably more pleasant than those that pesky pups often like to roll in.  For an evening out with your pooch you’ll get a warm welcome at Queens Bar and Grill in Churchgate Street.  Enjoy home-smoked meats in the courtyard garden.  It’s open Wednesday-Saturday evenings and during the day on Saturday and Sunday.

Other great places to enjoy a meal or snack in the town centre with your four-legged friend include health and well-being café Primal 8 in Risbygate Street (open Tues-Sat daytime), Belgian beer bar Vespers in St Andrews Street South (open Weds-Sun daytime and evening), Greene King Beer Café (open Tues – Sat daytime) at the brewery on Westgate Street. Verve on Woolhall Street offering pizzas and cocktails welcomes dogs in the daytime and early evening (open Weds – Sat).  And when it’s time for a puppaccino head to Bay Tree Café in St Johns Street (open every day).

But there are still more shops to sniff out.  Denny Bros Supplies in St Andrews Street South is East Anglia’s largest Arts and Crafts store so you’ll find everything you need for your artists paw-tfolio.  And with so many places to visit in the town centre, don’t forget to pick up some doggy treats from Milpets – a family run pet shop in St Johns Street with all the toys and treats a good dog deserves.  And although dogs should never eat chocolate, humans most certainly can and there are plenty of treats for humans at Marimba Cocoa House in the Buttermarket.

With so many places to visit in Bury St Edmunds why not park at Ram Meadow long-stay car park and take the opportunity to visit Bury Town Football Club too.  Will they be the favourites or the underdogs on matchday?  Was that a little whine from your canine chum?  He’s probably asking to be taken to independent wine shop Vino Gusto in Hatter Street – where – whether you love red, white or rose, you’ll be spoilt for choice.  Wine and cheese are a great combination so when in Hatter Street also pop into nearby The Cheese Hole to find a paw-fect match.  After all, every pup knows that the tastiest treat of all is a tiny piece of cheese – or better still a large piece.

At the end of a day of exploring everything that dog-friendly Bury St Edmunds has to offer where better to put your paws up in a spot of luxury, than the Angel Hotel.  A number of rooms are dog-friendly for a small additional charge and dogs are also welcome in the lounge (but not the bar or the Eaterie restaurant.)  In the morning you can enjoy walkies in the Abbey Gardens opposite.  But if you are heading home after your doggy day out and don’t want the trouble of cooking then make sure you pick up a delicious artisan ready meal from LEA in Churchgate Street. You’ll find fresh seasonal modern French dishes that just need heating up and serving straight from the pot.

And remember to download the LoyalFree app where you’ll find over 120 dog-friendly businesses on our special trail, visit or follow our social media channels so you don’t miss anything.  We are very grateful to Bury St Edmunds Town Council for supporting the town’s dog-friendly scheme – you’ll find the ‘Dog Friendly Charter on the town council’s website which sets out the responsibilities of both business owners and dog owners including some safety guidelines and rules.

Bury St Edmunds Winter Beer Festival 2023 Press Release

The Constitutional Club and West Suffolk branch of Camra have teamed up to bring you the Third Annual Bury St Edmunds Winter Beer Festival.

The festival is to be held at the Constitutional Club, 12 Guildhall Street on Friday 24th November 12 noon to 11pm, Saturday 25th 12 noon until 11:30pm and again on Sunday 26th 12 noon until 10:30pm and will feature over 20 ales from around the region with a focus on Winter Ale with a selection of farmhouse ciders and perry’s and hot food provided by our in house franchise Combat 2 Coffee!

Festival organiser Neil Rayson said “We are really looking forward to bringing some Christmas cheer to the town with this event. Not only is it a pre-Christmas event, we welcome all Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend also. We have chosen some wonderful breweries to participate with a larger range of ale and ciders this year! We have been overwhelmed with the support from the public, CAMRA and local breweries on previous years and cannot wait to welcome people back in!”

Our festival is free entry with a free program including some amazing local breweries including Nethergate, Shortts Brewery, Artefact, Mighty Oak, Bartram’s Brewery, Colchester Brewery and the Three Blind Mice Brewery Key Keg bar. We have a large space for revellers to enjoy and we really wanted to open it up to everyone to enjoy something the town loves”.

You can view the ale program here.