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Bedford Local Information: 10 top things to know... more

  • 1. History

    Sites of historic importance in the town include the remaining motte of Bedford Castle and the Saxon towers of St Peter’s and St Mary’s Churches. The castle was built after the Norman conquest of 1066 and destroyed in 1224. It is believed the town got its name from a Saxon chief known as Beda.

  • 2. Now

    This county town is situated on the River Great Ouse. It is a historic town that also boasts many modern features and attractions. The University of Bedfordshire attracts thousands of students into Bedford, bringing a lively student scene to the town. Bedford offers a good mix of countryside and open spaces with plenty of restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs and shopping faci...Read morelities. The town is known as the ‘Home of afternoon tea’ and boasts a wide selection of venues offering this service. Read less

  • 3. Events

    Kites from all over the world are seen flying in the skies above Bedford during the annual Kite Festival in June. This event includes workshops, demonstrations, entertainment and more. The River Festival takes place over two days in July on the banks of the River Great Ouse. The event includes a carnival, music, activities on the water, fireworks and more.

  • 4. Attractions

    The John Bunyan Museum tells the story of the author, pastor and preacher through reconstructions and collections of artefacts from his life. The remaining motte of the 11th century Bedford Castle is situated in the town centre and is free to visit. There is a car park near the site. The nearby Woburn Safari Park is a very popular attraction where visitors can view the animal...Read mores on foot or in a vehicle. There are talks and feeding times, activity areas, a tree top action trail and more. The Marston Vale Forest Centre, just outside the town, is the starting point for those wanting to enjoy the Millennium Country Park. The park includes footpaths, cycle paths, a wildlife and sensory garden, wetland trail and more. The Glenn Miller Museum is housed in the original control tower at the airfield where he was last seen alive in 1944. The Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Bedford Museum is closed for a major refurbishment project but is due to open again in late 2012 or early 2013. Read less

  • 5. Things To Do

    The Oasis Beach Pool includes wave machine, flumes and other fun water features. The Robinson Pool includes six-lane competition pool, a diving pool and a teaching pool as well as a gym and other sports facilities. There are plenty of facilities for playing golf in this region, including the Bedford Great Denham Golf Village, the Bedford and County Golf Club and the Mowsbury G...Read moreolf Course. Facilities for active adventure include bodyflight, an indoor facility where visitors can enjoy the thrill of skydiving in a wind tunnel; Kempston Outdoor centre for climbing, abseiling, canoeing, archery and more; and Flow House, a unique venue with facilities for surfing and other board water sports using a special Membrane Ride Surface. Green spaces to visit in the town centre include Bedford Park, Russell Park, Embankment Gardens and Mill Meadows. Box End Park is an open-air facility covering 100 acres. Visitors can experience wakeboarding, kneeboarding and waterskiing at this site. Read less

  • 6. Business

    The two main shopping centres in the town are the Harpur Shopping Centre and the Howard Centre, offering a selection of high street names and independent stores. The town centre itself is mainly pedestrianised and includes department stores and specialist retailers as well as a great selection of places to eat and drink. Bedford has a twice-weekly charter market, a general ma...Read morerket in Kempston on Thursdays and Sundays, and regular farmers’ market, gourmet market and home and garden market. Read less

  • 7. Transport

    Bedford is easy to reach by road, due to its close proximity to the M1. Main roads the A1 and the A6 also give good access to the north and south, while the A421 and A428 give access to the east and west. Train services are good from Bedford into London and other major towns and cities in the UK. Bedford Mainline Station is just a 10-minute walk from the town centre. The near...Read moreest airport is London Luton, which is about 20 miles away and easily reached by road or public transport. There are also direct trains from the town to London Gatwick Airport. Read less

  • 8. Entertainment

    Bedford Corn Exchange offers a packed programme of live events, including comedy, theatre and music. The Bedford Comedy Club operates from this venue. The Palace Theatre has a 130-seat auditorium and offers shows from its home companies as well as touring companies. Bedford Theatre also offers shows from visiting companies. The Mill Theatre is home to five companies, who stag...Read moree a selection of productions throughout the year. This theatre is situated in a converted watermill. There are plenty of venues for live music in the town including Esquires and the Kings Arms. Read less

  • 9. Famous Landmarks

    Moggerhanger Park, on the outskirts of town, is a Grade I listed house and gardens covering 33 acres. The house dates back to the 1790s and is open to the public. Bedford Town Bridge was officially opened in 1813, to replace a medieval bridge that had been demolished. The bridge was widened in 1940 to cope with increased traffic. Renovations were also made to the bridge in the...Read more 1980s. Read less

  • 10. Interesting Fact

    The practice of afternoon tea is said to have been invented in Bedford in the 19th century by Anna Maria Russell, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. The duchess was finding she was lacking in energy in the afternoon, as in those days people only had breakfast and then an evening meal. Her solution was to have tea and a light snack in the afternoon, and before long friends were joining...Read more her for this activity. Read less

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