St Edmundsbury Cathedral


The 45m-high tower of this cathedral was only completed in 2005 and is a vision in Lincolnshire limestone – its traditional Gothic-style construction conveys how many English cathedrals must have looked fresh from the stonemason's chisel. Most of the building is early 16th century, though the eastern end is post-1945. The overall effect is light and lofty, with a gorgeous hammer-beam roof and a striking sculpture of the crucified Christ by Dame Elisabeth Frink in the north transept.

The impressive entrance porch has a tangible Spanish influence, a tribute to Abbot Anselm (1121–48), who opted against pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in favour of building a church dedicated to St James (Santiago in Spanish) right here. Stop by the Treasury (open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday, 12.30pm to 3pm Sunday) in the crypt for a glimpse of church silver and ornate medieval Bibles.

Hour-long guided tours (£3, 11am Monday to Saturday from May to September) provide an in-depth insight into the cathedral's heritage.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Suffolk attractions

1. Abbey Gardens

0.09 MILES

Now a picturesque ruin in parkland behind the cathedral, Bury's once-mighty abbey still impresses despite the townspeople having made off with much of the…

2. St Mary's Church

0.11 MILES

St Mary's is one of the largest parish churches in England, and it contains the tomb of Mary Tudor – Henry VIII's sister and a one-time queen of France…

3. Theatre Royal

0.22 MILES

A rare treat – Britain's only working Regency playhouse features ornate gilding, sweeps of boxes and a trompe l'oeil ceiling, all revealed on self-led …

4. Greene King Brewery & Beer Cafe

0.22 MILES

They’ve been crafting beer in this brewery since 1799, now you'll find heritage displays and a 'Beer Cafe' stocking the on-site brews. Tours (11am and 2pm…

5. Moyse's Hall

0.24 MILES

Set in an impressive 12th-century undercroft, Moyse's Hall's rarities include a locket containing some of Mary Tudor's hair, finds from the town's ruined…

6. Little Hall

9.94 MILES

Caramel-coloured, 14th-century Little Hall museum was once home to a successful wool merchant. Inside, you'll see how the rooms of this medieval mini…

7. Lavenham Guildhall

9.95 MILES

Lavenham's most enchanting buildings are clustered along High St, Water St and around the unusually triangular Market Pl. They're dominated by this early…

8. St Peter & St Paul

10.02 MILES

This late-Perpendicular structure seems to lift into the sky, with its beautifully proportioned windows, soaring flint tower and gargoyle waterspouts…