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Things to do in Bedfordshire

The county of Bedfordshire, situated 30 miles from London, is the gateway to the Midlands and East Anglia.

Great Barford Packhorse Bridge and Church
Great Barford Packhorse Bridge and Church

Set in a rich rural landscape of gently rolling countryside, meandering rivers and pretty villages, the county is an attractive place with many areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Dunstable Downs
Dunstable Downs

Bedfordshire is great for walking, cycling and horse riding - along internationally known trails such as the Icknield Way, or short family oriented circular walks.

Bridge over the river Great Ouse embankment, Bedford
Bridge over the river Great Ouse embankment, Bedford

There are lots of attractions in the county, including stately homes, gardens, woodland walks nature reserves, country parks and world-famous animal parks.

You can find Bedfordshire Tourist Information in the Historic County town of Bedford, set on the banks of the River Great Ouse.

Buildings along the river Great Ouse embankment, Bedford
Buildings along the river Great Ouse embankment, Bedford

The town has many fine buildings, the Bedfordshire Museum gives information on north Bedfordshire and the adjacent Cecil Higgins Art Gallery is well worth visiting.

Elephant walking in ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
Elephant walking in ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

An attractive landscaped riverside walk stretches from one side of the town to the other, and many regattas and events take place on the river, which is navigable to the sea at the Wash.

Bedfordshire offers a wide range of family activities.

Examples are: a day out to Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, or a visit to the unique Whipsnade Tree Cathedral, which contains many tree species planted in the plan of a medieval cathedral.

The Whipsnade View
The Whipsnade View

The town of Sandy is set against a backdrop of green hills, parkland and woodland, the area was once the centre for market gardening in the county.

The RSPB Lodge, Sandy Heath
The RSPB Lodge, Sandy Heath

You might like to visit the RSPB nature reserve in Sandy, to walk the trails through 104 acres of woodland and heath land with formal and wildlife gardens, gift shop & picnic area.

Bedford Embankment and Bridge
Bedford Embankment and Bridge

Luton Central Library in St. George's Square, has a wide variety of tourist information.

Stevington Sunset
Stevington Sunset

Luton is a lively place, perfect for entertainment and activities in and around Bedfordshire. Luton has its own airport, it is a vibrant multicultural town, it is over 1000 years old, and is a major regional cultural and economic centre.

Edlesborough Church
Edlesborough Church

If you are visiting Woburn, don't miss the Woburn Heritage Centre. A small museum is housed in the old church of St Mary's telling the history of Woburn village, past and present.

The village is home of the famous Woburn Abbey which has been the home of the Russell Family, the Dukes of Bedford, for over 450 years.

Woburn Abbey
Woburn Abbey

Woburn Safari Park is an ideal day out for families, who will enjoy the exciting drive through the reserves, where some of the world's most exciting animals roam.

For a fun day out why not take a leisurely canal boat cruise on one of the many inland waterways that criss-cross the area or play a round of golf at one of the counties many courses?

Bedford Embankment at sunset
Bedford Embankment at sunset

Throughout the County there are some great places to eat out, many villages and hamlets offer a wide variety of pubs and inns, often serving home cooked meals using locally produced ingredients.

Bedfordshire has a variety of good shopping, attractions and sporting facilities for all ages.

Days out in Bedfordshire

  • Bromham Mill and Gallery
    There was a mill on the site of Bromham Mill since before the domesday survey in 1086.
    Bromham Mill and Gallery
  • Cecil Higgins Art Gallery
    The Cecil Higgins Art Gallery is closed for redevelopment. You can find out more about our plans on our website. The Gallery is due to re-open in 2012/13.
    Cecil Higgins Art Gallery
  • Dunstable Downs, Chilterns Gateway Centre and Whipsnade Estate
    If the number of kites flying is any indication, Dunstable Downs offers windy walks and wildlife in all seasons. Gliders soar over the glorious landscape and ancient monuments abound.
    Dunstable Downs, Chilterns Gateway Centre and Whipsnade Estate
  • Higgins Art Gallery & Musuem
    Housed in the former Higgins and Sons Brewery, Bedford Museum is situated within the picturesque gardens of Bedford Castle, beside the Great Ouse Embankment.
    Higgins Art Gallery & Musuem
  • Leighton Buzzard Railway
    With its sharp curves, its steep gradients, its level crossings and its unique roadside running, the Leighton Buzzard Railway takes you back to a more relaxed age of transport.
    Leighton Buzzard Railway
  • Moot Hall
    Elstow Moot Hall (or Green House as it was formerly known) was built in the late 15th century as a market-house in connection with the village fairs.
    Moot Hall
  • Swiss Garden
    A visit to the Swiss Garden takes you back to the early 19th century, when an interest in ornamental gardening and picturesque architecture were first combined.
    Swiss Garden
  • Wardown Park Museum
    Wardown Park Museum is situated 1.5 miles from the centre of Luton in a beautiful landscaped park. The first floor galleries house the Luton Life displays which explore the stories of Luton people over the past 150 years.
    Wardown Park Museum
  • Wild Britain
    You'll discover one wild day out at Wild Britain (formerly Bedford Butterfly Park).Starting your visit in the tropical jungle, become a Safari Spotter and earn your free badge.
    Wild Britain
  • Woburn Abbey
    Experience living history at Woburn Abbey, home to the Dukes of Bedford for over 300 years and still home to the 15th Duke and his family today.
    Woburn Abbey
  • Woburn Safari Park
    Lions, tigers and bears - you will find your favourite animals at Woburn Safari Park.
    Woburn Safari Park
  • Wrest Park
    Fans of baroque and classical architecture are in for a treat at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire with its French inspired mansion, baroque pavilion and Chinoiserie garden pagoda.

    Wrest Park
  • ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
    Escape the urban jungle and head for Whipsnade for the perfect family day out.
    ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Places to Visit in Bedfordshire

  • Ampthill
    The ancient market town of Ampthill is situated under the brow of the Greensand Ridge. It is a town that enjoys the rural surrounds of open and wooded countryside, interspersed by small attractive villages.
  • Aspley Guise
    Aspley Guise is an attractive village situated amongst sandy hills on the edge of the pinewoods of Aspley Heath.
    Aspley Guise
  • Bedford
    Bedford is the charming county town of Bedfordshire, 30 miles west of Cambridge.
  • Biggleswade
    The name Biggleswade is derived from Biccel - an Anglo-Saxon personal name and waed, an old English word for ford. The Great North Road and the waterways gave rise to Biggleswade's early prosperity.
  • Clophill
    Lying in the Vale of the River flit, surrounded by woodlands is the village of Clophill. Entrance to the village from the A6, takes you past the Flying Horse pub, an important station during the stage coach era.
  • Dunstable
    Dunstable is the oldest charter town in Bedfordshire. Located on the beautiful Downs, in a gap within the Chilterns, it is proud of its rich history and heritage.
  • Harlington
    The village of Harlington sits on the southern edge of the district, bordered by an area of natural beauty including the chalk downs of Sundon Hills Country Park and the vale of the River Flit.
  • Leighton Buzzard
    Leighton Buzzard is a quintessential market town in the Chilterns near Milton Keynes and is infamous for the Great Train Robbery
    Leighton Buzzard
  • Lidlington
    The name 'Lidlington' derives from the Old English meaning 'the farm of Lytel's people'. A record of the village appears in the Domesday Book of 1087.
  • Luton
    Luton is a large town in Bedfordshire with a population of around 240,000. It is 30 miles north of London and is best known for its airport.
  • Marston Moretaine
    The village of Marston Moretaine, also spelt Marston Moreteyne, with its 3,700 residents is in a scenic part of Bedfordshire, between the major conurbations of Milton Keynes and Bedford.
    Marston Moretaine
  • Moggerhanger
    A hill top village dominated by the Church of St. John The Evangelist, which was built in 1860-61, of French influence. The Church has a chancel tower with a pyramid roof and high apse adjoining.
  • Northill
    The parish of Northill encompasses Ickwell, Lower and Upper Caldecote also Hatch and Thorncote, all in the heart of market garden country, Northill was originally known as North Givell meaning the northern part of territory of the River Ivel.
  • Old Warden
    Old Warden's history can be traced back to Roman times. A Cistercian Abbey was situated near the Cardington Road and a small part still stands, identified by its Elizabethan chimney.
    Old Warden
  • Pertenhall
    We have just received a description of Pertenhall from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
  • Potton
    Potton is an ancient market town centred around a very attractive Market square adorned by redbrick 18th century buildings. Dominating the square is the neo-Georgian Clock House, built in 1956 it now houses the library.
  • Roxton
    We have just received a description of Roxton from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
  • Sandy
    For centuries Sandy was the centre for market gardening and it still remains vital to the town today. Excavations indicate that Sandy was once a Roman settlement.
  • Steppingley
    Steppingley is a rural village in Bedfordshire, England. It stands on high ground in the centre of a small parish of about 562 hectares on the Greensand Ridge, and is mentioned in the Doomsday Book.
  • Sutton
    An historic and picturesque village situated a few miles from Potton. A tributary of the River Ivel crosses the road where Sutton's medieval twin arched packhorse bridge spans the ford.
  • Swineshead
    We have just received a description of Swineshead from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
  • Woburn
    Woburn is surrounded by wooded countryside and parkland with the Greensand Ridge running through the north western part of the parish. The town takes its name from its Saxon settlers - Wo meaning twisted or crooked - Burn meaning a stream.

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