Pilgrims have been coming to Bury St Edmunds for over 1000 years.  The shrine of Saint Edmund attracted pilgrims from near and far until the closure of the Abbey of St Edmund in 1539 at the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The present day Cathedral, in its role as a parish church, has the dedication of St James, patron saint of pilgrims.


Today, the Cathedral continues to welcome pilgrims from across the world. In particular parishes from the Diocese visit on Sunday afternoons to enjoy a pilgrimage around the building before Evensong.


Pilgrimage Routes to Bury St Edmunds


A new series of routes which lead to the Abbey ruins in Bury St Edmunds.


Walk the Pilgrims’ way from the south Starts from Hardwick Heath (1.5 miles) Map included.


Walk the Pilgrims’ Way from the north Starts from the railway station or St Saviour’s (1/25 miles) Map included.


In Those First Footsteps From St Benet’s, Norfolk to Bury St Edmunds following in the footsteps of the first Benedictines (80 miles).


Bardwell to Bury St Edmunds A pleasant walk through the villages and countryside (15 miles).


Clare to Bury St Edmunds A route used by medieval pilgrims travelling from Clare Priory to the Abbey (19 miles).


Castle Hedingham to Clare Learn about Magna Carta connections. This route can be linked to the Clare to Bury St Edmunds route (total distance 28 miles. Castle Hedingham to Clare 9 miles).


St Edmund Way A long distance waymarked route from Manningtree to Brandon (79 miles).


Nowton Park Circular Links this attractive park with the town (7 miles).


Rushbrooke Circular Links Rushbrooke, Nowton and the town (9 miles).


Ram Meadow to Abbey Gardens  A short walk from the car park to the Abbey site (1/2 mile).

Further information on pilgrimage can be found on the websites of the East Anglian Pilgrimage network and the British Pilgrimage Trust (including a one day route from St Edmundsbury Cathedral)

Virtual Pilgrimage


For pilgrims who cannot make the physical journey, we are pleased to offer two virtual resources.