The second Chestnut Inns property and sister to The Packhorse shares the same values - locally sourced food, great service and a traditional role at the heart of this historic and literary community, reputed to house more Nobel Prize winners than anywhere else. Travel here on the river by punt from nearby Cambridge.
The Northgate Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1HP
The personal touch
Philip Turner’s flourishing hospitality company, The Chestnut Group, snapped up Ounce House, a grand redbrick Victorian house on a smart street a stroll from the Abbey, in 2015 and promptly spent a year sprucing it up and reinventing the former guesthouse. The doors were pushed open in October 2016 and the result is very impressive, a beautifully designed and an immaculately presented Townhouse hotel. However, The Northgate is a cool, modern-day version, one that eschews all the pomp and formality once attributed to such urban places to stay. Yes, the rooms are stunning, very swish and super luxurious, but the atmosphere is relaxed and informal throughout, there’s no reception as such, just a computer on a conveniently placed table, and the staff are very friendly and informally dressed, and the dining rooms have simply laid-up tables – no tablecloths here. The chilled hub of the place is the cocktail bar-cum-lounge, which is open all day and has direct access to an amazing summer terrace. Add a cracking drinks menu and an inspired, modern British crowd-pleasing menu, one that evolves from breakfast through to dinner, then it is no wonder this vibrant newcomer to the town is thriving.
Kids are made very welcome, they have their own menu or smaller portions are available, and families can stay in the super family suite, which has a cute adjoining twin-bedded room. Extra beds are available for other rooms (£15)
Dogs are only allowed on the terrace
Arrive early on sunny summer days to bag one of the posh teak tables on the stunning south facing rear terrace, which is open from breakfast through to evening drinks and nibbles. Huge heated parasols will keep the sun at bay and keep you warm on chilly evenings.
Magnificent 7 steak night on first Wednesday on month
What’s the Damage?
10 doubles/twin £150 – £280; 1 family room £225
- All credit cards taken
- Alfresco dining
- Private dining (Club Room & Chef’s Table)
- Disabled access to bar & restaurant
AA 5 Stars (Gold)
The Northgate Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1HP
Do not disturb
What’s for Breakfast?
The Northgate Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1HP
Mastering the menu
On the menu
Time to Eat
Local, local, local
Behind the bar
Time at the bar
Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.
Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Inn Location - The Northgate
Lord 'Ned' Iveagh and his family have created a delightful emporium at the heart of the family 'farm' (the largest ring-fenced arable land in the UK), full of delicious foodie, retail and leisure opportunities. The food hall and attached cafe-restaurant, full of estate produce are just part of the appeal. Elveden's Christmas experience is a worthy discovery.
A fortnight of fantastic local food and drink, a jam-packed schedule of tasty fringe events and a huge food and drink fair at the Corn Exchange. Mid May.
In a quiet rural setting, this is a real treat, not just the expected great range of produce and specialities, but a passionately-run shop and good lunchtime cafe, and also a butchery counter and delicious meals to go. Lovely alfresco setting too.
Ethical, sustainable, local food from their own smallholding is served in the excellent farm-cafe restaurant. Occasional foodie training courses.
Walking food tours taking you off the beaten path through the eyes of local foodies around the city. Either join a public date or arrange a bespoke private one.
At Coddenham, a village near Stowmarket, you'll find a well-stocked deli counter with plenty of locally sourced produce.
Millers of organic stone-ground Prior's Flours, certified by the Soil Association, using the National Trust's Wimpole Home Farm wheat.
Shop first in a country store with wool throws and blankets from Scotland, design-led crafts and pottery from England, French grape-picking baskets, and timeless clothes in linens and wool; then head to the Leaping Hare restaurant in a 400-year-old barn and sip a glass of Wyken Bacchus while perusing the Michelin Bib Gourmand menu.
Quaint village location near Newmarket for this 17th-century thatched pub, recent spruced up by the Chestnut Group and sister venue to The Northgate and The Packhorse. Family and dog friendly, it offers classic pub food, pizzas from the wood-fired oven, and Sunday roast lunches, all freshly prepared from seasonal and regional produce.
Head east from Bury St Edmunds to locate this beautifully refurbished 16th-century pub tucked away in a sleepy village in the Deben Valley. A great lunch stop en route to the Suffolk coast for traditional pub food cooked well using fresh regional produce. Sister pub to The Packhorse and The Northgate.
A cool little café, bakery and deli just a short stroll from Northgate Street. Stop off on a tour of the town for coffee and a homemade croissant or slice of cake, or a light lunch from the quirky menu
1 Inn Location - The Northgate
Fabulous rural crafts tuition centre in an old watermill with over 50 different subjects being tutored in. Learn about growing your own or harvesting wild foods. Lovely home-made lunches part of the appeal.
Run by Amanda Woodcraft, this charming cookery school sits on the same Mersea Island location as Ben's Fish. Not only do you see the fish coming in from the day boats, you get to use them. Amanda attracts tops London chefs such as Chris Gillard (Head Chef of St John's Restaurant).
Enjoy a guided trip in a Canadian canoe along the navigable stretches of the River Stour, heading downstream from Sudbury through Dedham Vale and Constable Country. There’s plenty of wildlife to see en route, and you might even spot an otter. The trips run between April and September.
Dubbed the headquarters of the 'sport of kings' in Britain, Newmarket is an internationally renowned thoroughbred horse racing venue. The racecourse hosts two of the country's five 'classics' - the 1,000 Guineas and the 2,000 Guineas.
A number of golf clubs are dotted around the Suffolk countryside, but the one closest to Moulton is the Royal Worlington & Newmarket near Mildenhall. Founded in 1893, the club has been described as the best nine-hole course in England.
Book up for a tutored tasting or workshop to better understand their chocolate heaven or alternatively just stock up on fabulous couverture creations whilst you are passing
Wizard Balloons fly in small, intimate groups from the launch site at Nowton Park near Bury St Edmunds. The main flying season is March to October.
Based near Stowmarket, this is the place to seek an exhilarating alternative means of discovering the extensive countryside of East Anglia. The fleet of vehicles covers British, European and Far Eastern classic cars - a classy, ideal way to explore Suffolk on a perfect summer's day.
Located in a picturesque valley setting in Kersey, near Ipswich, Kersey Pottery has a comprehensive collection of handmade tableware, individually decorated bowls and plates and stoneware with distinctive glazes.
Based at Polstead, north of Colchester, Dylan Pym makes handcrafted high quality furniture from solid English hardwood. He takes commissions, too, and encourages customer input.
At Long Melford, near Sudbury, this is one of the largest showrooms in the UK where the emphasis is on traditional and contemporary rugs and carpets.
Martha V, 9-11 High Street, Newmarket CB8 8LX
Martha V is a high profile fashion boutique in Newmarket's High Street, stocking over 26 different labels, including Betty Barclay, Libra and Michaela Louisa. Browse the store and relax over a complementary cup of coffee.
Jessica Muir Gallery, Hall Street, Long Melford CO10 9JR
Resident artists Jessica Brown and Jean Muir showcase an eclectic mix of work from established artists and new designers, specialising in textiles, ceramics, paintings and original prints.
The longest established gallery in Long Melford, established in 2001, exhibits local, well-known artists from Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk and specializes in a wide range of styles and media to suit all tastes and budgets. Regular exhibitions.
Cambridge's excellent range of independent retailers offers something for everyone: an abundance of boutiques, scores of designer labels, a daily market and All Saints Garden Art and Craft Market every Saturday.
Long Melford Antiques Warehouse, Hall Street CO10 9JB
Four floors and more 250 dealers exhibiting a huge range of antiques, collectables, decorative items and 17th to 20th furniture – perfect for browsing and buying on a wet day.
Fallen in love with the light fittings, door handles and curtains rails in your room at the Crown, then buy them online or visit Jim Lawrence's treasure trove of a showroom and buy them for your own house; home and soft furnishings too.
For the ladies and well worth a visit if glamorous 1940s and ‘50s vintage attire is your thing. Pocket Watch and Petticoats in Bury St Edmunds sells everything from day dresses and full ‘swirl’ skirts to high-waisted trousers and ‘wiggle’ dresses.
Long Melford & Lavenham CO10 9RA
If you love browsing, then embark on a fascinating antiques and crafts tour of Suffolk. The village of Long Melford has at least 16 antique shops, along with many independent galleries and tearooms, while Lavenham has more of the same.
Places to visit
With its ancient timbers and crooked lines, Lavenham Guildhall is one of many notable buildings in this picturesque medieval village. Inside, you'll find a museum devoted to the history of Lavenham, with fascinating displays depicting 500 years of farming and industry.
Devastated by fire in 1942, this Tudor mansion at Long Melford was later restored by the Hyde Parker family in whose possession it remains to this day. Their cousin, Beatrix Potter, was a regular visitor here.
Take a stroll through the picturesque village of Hemingford Grey, near Huntingdon, walk along the towpath of the River Ouse and soon you reach the entrance to The Manor, a wonderfully atmospheric, continuously occupied, 900-year-old house that for many years was the home of the children's author, Lucy M. Boston. The garden is open all year; the house can be viewed by appointment only.
Close to Bury St Edmounds, Ickworth's spectacular Rotunda was commissioned by the 4th Earl of Bristol to house his priceless artefacts collected on tours around Europe in the 18th century. The Italianate garden includes box hedges and Mediterranean planting.
Discover a secluded world of flowering meadows and reedbeds described by the National Trust who manage the site as 'a window onto a lost fenland landscape'. Here, you'll find hen harriers and bitterns, dragonflies, moths and wildfowl. There are also herds of Highland cattle and Konik ponies.
This fascinating museum and art gallery stands in the centre of the market town of Sudbury and is probably most famous as the birthplace of the artist Thomas Gainsborough. Dating back to 1520, the house has many striking features as well as various Ginsborough paintings and portraits.
Situated 6 miles to the north of Cambridge, this former Benedictine abbey has a fascinating history and an impressive array of family-friendly attractions. The site's Farmland Museum includes a fenman's hut, blacksmith's and wheelwright's workshops.
Overlooking the market place in Bury St Edmunds, this ancient 12th-century building has been a jail, a workhouse and a police station over the years. In its role as a museum, Moyse’s Hall examines the town’s early history and provides a fascinating insight into superstition and witchcraft
One of Britain’s finest cities and a world famous seat of learning, Cambridge lies on the River Cam. University colleges include King’s, noted for its choir and splendid Gothic chapel, and Trinity, established by Henry VIII. If time allows, take in the museums with their exhibitions on polar exploration and the history of science and zoology – among other themes.
Since it opened in 2007, the Dad’s Army Museum in Thetford has proved to be one of the region’s most popular visitor attractions, celebrating a television institution much loved around the world. The classic series began almost 50 years ago.
North-east of Cambridge and formerly a priory, Anglesey Abbey is owned by the National Trust and open to the public. 98 acres of landscaped grounds are divided into a series of walks and gardens. In addition, there is a working water mill (Lode Mill) where visitors can buy flour.
Grade I-listed theatre in Bury St Edmunds and the only surviving Regency playhouse in Britain, the Theatre Royal offers year-round tours and open door sessions. If you enjoy historic buildings and the atmosphere of the stage, don’t miss out on this wonderful visitor attraction in the town.
For over 1000 years water from Pakenham Fen has collected in the beautiful millpond before being released to turn the water-wheel that drives the mill-stones which turn the wheat into flour. The current 18th-century building is the last working water mill in Suffolk and friendly guides will explain the whole fascinating process of milling that produces our favourite staple.
The village has been carefully reconstructed where it was excavated and experimental archaeology has provided new ideas about the way our ancestors lived. There is also a fascinating museum and a 125-acre country park.
Between Bury St Edmunds and King’s Lynn lies some of East Anglia’s most isolated and evocative fen country, which (access permitting) is great for exploring on foot. This is a flat landscape characterised by rivers, channels and dykes and stretching to distant horizons beneath vast wide skies. Not far from Bury St Edmunds are the sprawling, shaded acres of Thetford Forest, another obvious destination for walking.
In terms of cycling, Suffolk’s expansive landscape has something for everyone. Try a handy 8-mile cycle route linking Moulton, Gazeley and Barrow (villages on the inn’s doorstep); for something longer, head for south Suffolk and explore Lavenham’s woodlands and valleys (21 mile route) or embark on the 28-mile Jockey’s Trail, starting in Newmarket.
There’s plenty to choose from in this corner of East Anglia. Head for the coast in June and you’ll find the Aldeburgh Festival taking place. This world-famous festival is devoted to classical music, visual arts, master classes and films. Cambridge’s calendar is always packed with fairs, performing arts events and workshops. The Cambridge Folk Festival and the Cambridge Literary Festival are among the best known annual fixtures.
Location, Location, Location
By Road: Exit the A14 from junction 43. Take the A1101 towards the town centre and take the first exit at the roundabout into Northgate Street. The Northgate is on the right hand side
By Rail: Bury St Edmunds station is just a mile from The Northgate and links Cambridge and Ipswich
Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1HP