Festive events and days out around Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk will be decorated as usual for the festive season and families will be able to join in some fun events in and around the cathedral town. Although there will not be a Christmas light switch on event, the town will still be lit up. For the first time this year, the lights will be turned on from St Edmunds Day, Friday 20 November, celebrating the town’s namesake and creating an attractive backdrop for visitors throughout the festive season and beyond New Year’s Day. For details of the events outlined below and many more visit www.christmasinburystedmunds.co.uk.
Christmas Emporium at Ravenwood Hall, near Bury St Edmunds
4 - 20 December
Set within Ravenwood Hall Hotel’s extensive gardens at Rougham, the family friendly Christmas Emporium will be reminiscent of the German Christmas Markets, with a variety of stalls offering traditional festive fayre from roasted chestnuts to mulled wine and unique gifts. The Emporium will be open Friday-Sunday, from the 4 to 20 December 10.30am-4pm; wrap up warm and enjoy the festive al fresco delights.
Tuck into fire-pit roasted salmon, wood-fired pizzas and an array of festive treats. There will also be plenty of drinks on offer including hot mulled wine, Christmas punch, spiced apple juice and real ales. Sit in the main marquee or keep warm and cosy in a booked Ravenwood snug, which just has space for six with table service, while you listen to the carol singers perform your favourite Christmas songs.
Browse the craft stalls for that special something for under the Christmas tree. Ravenwood’s Christmas Hampers will also be on sale as will a selection of Christmas trees to take home and decorate. For details visit www.ravenwoodhall.co.uk or call 01359 270 345.
Meet Santa at Dobbies garden centre 5 – 24 December
Bring your little ones along to the Winter Wonderland at Dobbies garden centre, near Bury St Edmunds where they will be welcomed by Santa and receive a special gift. His grotto will be open 5 – 24 December from 11am, closing times vary the latest being 4.30pm.
Dobbies has been working hard with Santa and his elves to ensure the safety of their guests. Ticket numbers have been reduced to comply with social distancing and all visitors are required to wear a face covering.
Timed tickets are £11.99 per child (up to 12 years) including a gift. Book online at https://events.dobbies.com/event-detail/?e=2154&v=63&f=20201201.
Breakfast with Santa at Dobbies garden centre 5 – 24 December
Families with children aged 12 years and under can also book Breakfast with Santa at Dobbies garden centre where they will be seated and served at their own table. Breakfast with Santa is available from 5 to 24 December, with breakfast served at 8am. The children’s menu is £13.99 including a visit to Santa’s Grotto where they will receive a gift, while the adults menu is from £6.99 (excluding a gift). Book tickets online at https://events.dobbies.com/event-detail/?e=2150&v=63&r=v.
Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds Outdoor Christmas 2020 Production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
11 – 24 December
This December, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds will be presenting a new adaptation of one of the country’s best-loved Christmas stories – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by Owen Calvert-Lyons and Ian Jarvis.
The 60-minute show will be performed twice on Angel Hill each evening from 11 to 24 December at 7pm and 9pm (excluding Tuesday 15 December and Monday 21 December). The Christmas Eve performances will be at 5pm and 7pm.
Set against the beautiful backdrop of The Angel Hotel, this outdoor production will bring the streets of Victorian London right into the heart of Bury St Edmunds. With in-the-round staging and headphone technology, audiences will be able to fully immerse themselves in a Dickensian World.
The professional cast of five includes local actors Matthew Cavendish, Rebecca Peyton and Howard Saddler along with Paul Sandys and Melissa Lowe.
The production has been made possible with the support of West Suffolk Council and is sponsored by Taylor Wimpey East Anglia.
This will be a socially distanced, promenade event (there will be no seating – audiences will be standing and will be required to wear masks). Customer with accessibility issues should contact the Theatre Royal prior to booking.
The Angel Hill car park will be closed at 5pm each evening (3pm on Christmas Eve) to allow for the technical crew to set the stage each evening.
Book tickets online at www.theatreroyal.org. Priority booking for members opens Thursday 5 November and general sale from Saturday 7 November
Virtual Santa at Blackthorpe Barn – 12 - 22 December
Youngsters aged between two and nine years can ‘meet’ Father Christmas face-to-face and enjoy a magical and inspiring experience, albeit virtually. Blackthorpe Barn at Rougham will be transporting Santa into a new, virtual world chatting ‘live’ from his wintry grotto with his elves nearby.
Book your day and time slot at the online box office between 12 and 22 December, enter your child’s details and Blackthorpe will email a link to connect to the grotto. Youngsters will still receive a present from Santa, which can either by couriered to your home (£6.99) or collected from the barn.
Tickets are £10 per child, for more details visit www.blackthorpebarn.com or call 01359 270880.
Ickworth Light Nights – 3 - 6 December
Explore nature at night as you follow a light and sound based trail around the Italianate garden at Ickworth (National Trust), near Bury St Edmunds between 3 and 6 December. Now in their second glowing year, the Light Nights will awaken your senses capturing the magic of the gothic Victorian Stumpery and Italian inspired evergreen garden. The Rotunda building will feature an additional light display on the south side to mark the uncovering of its brand new roof.
Kick start your festive celebrations as you browse and buy in the gift shop, which will stay open late, and enjoy some festive food and drink from the West Wing Café after the trail experience.
Book timed tickets online priced at £11 per person, under 5s free; slots 4.30-7.50pm Mon-Thu and 4.30-8.50pm Fri-Sun. Groups up to a maximum of six people unless from a single household or support bubble. For more details visit www.nationaltrust/ickworth or call 01284 735270.
Moyse’s Hall - Sci-Fi and Action Exhibition 3 December – 20 January
Moyse’s Hall Museum, Bury St Edmunds strikes back with an intergalactic exhibition celebrating two special sci-fi anniversaries as well as cult-classics from the big and small screens.
Running 3 December - 20 January, the 12th annual Sci-Fi and Action Exhibition will mark the 40th anniversary of the second Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back, one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever to hit the big screen.
See a display of props and memorabilia from the movie that introduced us to Yoda, the legendary Jedi Master, AT-AT all terrain armoured walkers and a shocking family revelation that set the world talking.
In addition, it’s 40 years since Galactica landed in homes across the globe. This classic series was a spin-off to 1978’s Battlestar Galactica; displays will explore the franchise’s impact upon popular culture. Around this time, Tom Baker was also capturing the public’s imagination as Dr Who; high-end screen props will reignite memories and look out for a real Dalek as you walk round the museum! Finally meet an icon baddie – a real screen used Gremlin from the mid-1980s cult classic.
The intergalactic exhibition for all ages is open Monday-Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sundays 12pm-4pm. Last entry one hour before closing time. Admission: adult £5, concessions £3; child £3 (5-16 years), family £15 (up to 5 people). Tel: 01284 758000, www.moyseshall.org. Face masks will be required and numbers limited to observe social distancing.
For more information about festive events in and around Bury St Edmunds, where to stay and other things to see and do, visit www.christmasinburystedmunds.co.uk.