Visit Bungay and see the famous sites with the Love Bungay Tour!
Bungay is a truly ancient town, taking its name from the tribe of Bonna, a Saxon chieftain who dominated the area over a thousand years ago. Since then it has been home to several generations of writers and poets, as well as to the legend of Black Shuck, a terrifying, spectral hound who appeared at Bungay’s Holy Trinity Church and reportedly killed two local residents before vanishing into a thunderstorm. Despite nearly being destroyed by fire in 1688, the town has gone from strength to strength and boasts a thriving community and an unusually high number of excellent pubs and restaurants.
With all this history, and so many famous names and events associated with the town, we’ve come up with the Bungay Celebrity Walk, which will take you past some of the town’s most star-struck spots.
Bungay Celebrity Tour Route
Our walk starts on Trinity Street, at Holy Trinity Church (1), where Black Shuck first appeared in 1577. The name Black Shuck is thought to derive from the Old English word scucca, meaning ‘demon.’ In his 1901 book Highways and Byways in East Anglia, W.A. Dutt described the beast:
“He takes the form of a huge black dog, and prowls along dark lanes and lonesome field footpaths, where, although his howling makes the hearer’s blood run cold, his footfalls make no sound. You may know him at once, should you see him, by his fiery eye; he has but one, and that, like the Cyclops’, is in the middle of his head. But such an encounter might bring you the worst of luck: it is even said that to meet him is to be warned that your death will occur before the end of the year.”
After exploring the churchyard for signs of this hellborn hound, follow Trinity Street north, cross the road next to the roundabout and head down Broad Street to the Fisher Theatre (2). This outstanding local theatre often plays host to readings and musical performances by one of the town’s famous literary residents, Louis De Bernieres, author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, as well as other events, and it’s worth looking to see if there are any surprise performances on the day of your visit.
Head back to the roundabout you crossed earlier and turn right. You’ll see the King’s Head Hotel (3) straight ahead. Elizabeth Jane Howard, a current Bungay resident, is known to have stayed here with her husband, the legendary novelist Kingsley Amis, and it still offers great food and drink, so why not pause for a pint?
Once you’ve finished, head down St Mary’s Street (4), where Black Shuck was seen running headlong after the incident in Holy Trinity Church. Here you can also see some of Bungay’s distinctive Tudor architecture, and you may even catch a glimpse of Wikileaks founder and international fugitive Julian Assange, who is currently staying at Ellingham Hall, just to the north-east of the village.
Walk on past the war memorial, (5) and take in some more of Bungay’s amazing ancient buildings, and enjoy walking in the footsteps of the Nobel-nominated author W.G. Sebald, who describes his journey in his book The Rings of Saturn. This is where our walk comes to an end, so why not reward yourself with something to eat at one of the excellent cafes that line the street.