A mini-break is a time to explore history. But staying at The Northgate allows you to do this in modern style.
Set within a Victorian villa that’s been given a chic, metropolitan makeover, this restaurant-with-rooms is a brilliant base for exploring the town – it’s a ten-minute walk from the railway station and a stone’s-throw from the 1,000-year-old abbey at Bury’s heart.
The moment you enter, there is a sense of playful luxury and opulence. Large chandeliers, bright colors and feature walls dominate this restaurant. The bar features geometric tiles and jazzily bronzed benches.
James Litson stays at The Northgate in style. The funky bar is shown in the picture
James says the rooms have ‘every boutique essential’ from walk-in showers to fancy furniture and fluffy white towels
Beyond is a sheltered, sun-soaked terrace that’s hugely popular in summer for alfresco dining and Aperol spritzes. For an individual spin, the Northgate’s spritz is flavoured with chestnut.
You can set a new tone for the rooms with pastels in a much more serene palette. The nine rooms are large, spacious, and all individually designed. They have an airy feel thanks to their giant beds, and high-end, French-inspired furniture. There are all the essentials for boutique living, such as walk-in bathtubs and freestanding tubs in some rooms, and fancy furniture, white fluffy towels, and British-made toiletries.
There are many original details, including large sash Windows and fireplaces.
When you’re ready to explore Bury, its sights are on the doorstep.
The town’s reason for being is the now-ruined abbey which was established by King Canute in 1020 and became one of the richest Benedictine monasteries in England until it was destroyed in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Join a walking tour (£7.50pp, burystedmundstourguides.org) to see crumbling remains in the lovely Abbey Gardens and learn about the town’s evolution from medieval monastery to Georgian resort and Victorian cultural centre.
Moyse’s Hall (moyseshall.org), a gallery and museum housed in a centuries-old building, continues the cultural fix.
James says that Bury St Edmunds can be explored from the Northgate. The town center is shown in the picture.
Nearby is the city’s now-defunct abbey. James visited the beautiful Abbey Gardens to view its decaying remains (pictured).
When it’s time to retire to The Northgate, start your evening at the lively bar with a cocktail or fruity mocktail, then hit the large, all-weather terrace with its fairy lights and faux-fur throws.
These exceptional suppers are full of fresh flavors, and each dish is almost an edible artifact.
Seasonal East Anglian dishes include Norfolk asparagus, Suffolk tomatoes, and salt marsh Lamb. Similar to breakfast, all meals are regional and include plenty of vegetarian options, including pastries, porridges, or Florentine eggs.
Both bar and restaurant are popular with locals, so there’s always a bit of a buzz; but it’s laid-back and refined, not a boozy or party scene, with an appeal that spans generations. There’s a real mix of young couples, post-work friends and well dressed women and gents, so there’s plenty of atmosphere but absolutely no pretension. My septuagenarian mother, who was my dining companion, and I were immediately at ease.
All services are provided by young staff that is upbeat, bright, and engaged. This makes it extra special.