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Bury St Edmunds Christmas attractions will be held over five weeks after disappointment last year





Christmas celebrations in Bury St Edmunds this year will consist of a number of attractions across five weeks.

A partnership held a linked set of events over the final weekend in November last year after West Suffolk Council decided not to host the town’s nationally acclaimed Christmas Fayre that attracted about 130,000 people.

Although footfall increased year on year, many visitors were disappointed with the scale of the event, with some, brought on buses from out of town, expecting a full scale fayre.

Last year’s attractions included a Christmas market at St Edmundsbury Cathedral. Picture: Mark Westley
Last year’s attractions included a Christmas market at St Edmundsbury Cathedral. Picture: Mark Westley

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds BID which is in the partnership, said a number of people expressed disappointment about the quality and quantity of attractions and the misconception that the Christmas Fayre was going to happen.

This was compounded by a lack of infrastructural support around parking for cars and coaches, he said.

As a result, Mr Cordell said the partnership has agreed this year to revert back to the successful model of 2021 with a number of individual events organised by different parties over five weeks rather than predominantly over one weekend.

Last year, West Suffolk Council decided not to host Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre, pictured in 2018. Picture: Andy and Suzanne Abbott
Last year, West Suffolk Council decided not to host Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre, pictured in 2018. Picture: Andy and Suzanne Abbott

“We are hopeful that proactive marketing about what’s available in Bury for Christmas will prevent the problems of last year recurring,” he said. “If any private or any other organisations want to deliver or get involved in events in that five week run up we would be delighted to hear from them.”

The Christmas in Bury St Edmunds Partnership included the arc shopping centre, the BID, Bury St Edmunds Town Council, St Edmundsbury Cathedral and West Suffolk Council.

A West Suffolk Council spokesman said the authority heard from people and businesses who were pleased with last year’s events and the benefits from not shutting Angel Hill or having the crowds of previous years.

Reports showed an increase in footfall from 2021, but were down on pre-Covid levels.

The Apex gift fair in Bury St Edmunds last year. Picture: Mark Westley
The Apex gift fair in Bury St Edmunds last year. Picture: Mark Westley

He added: “Whilst there were some issues, the council is pleased to continue to work as part of the partnership to deliver affordable events for 2023, building on the experience built up over the past few years.”