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15 Best Things to do in Bedford

Nestled along the River Great Ouse, which provides a charming waterside lifestyle, Bedford is a town that incorporates historic charm and plenty of exciting attractions.

From lush parks to engaging museums, coupled with its green spaces like Bedford Park, make it a noteworthy destination in Bedfordshire; there is something for everyone here.

This article aims to provide locals and visitors with a comprehensive and engaging guide to Bedford’s top attractions by blending personal experiences, helpful information, and user reviews.

Read on and discover why Bedford is a hidden gem, packed with some excellent things to do!

Whether you’re moving here or just visiting, Bedford’s diverse offerings ensure you’ll find plenty to love.

1. Bedford Park: A Green Oasis

Bedford Park
Bedford Park.

When you first step into Bedford Park, you can’t help but admire its Victorian elegance and vast greenery. A favourite among locals, this park hosts lively events and quiet spots perfect for picnics.

Don’t miss the summer concerts at the bandstand – they’re a treat! According to the local newspaper, Bedford Independent, it’s the best place for a leisurely afternoon of entertainment.

The park is also rated very well on Tripadvisor, garnering a 4.5 rating.

2. Cinemas: For the Movie Buffs

Bedford doesn’t disappoint when it comes to a cinematic experience, making it a great option when the weather is not cooperating. Plus, there are at least seven cinemas to choose from!

The Vue in Riverside Square offers the latest releases in stunning 3D, while Cineworld, near the River Ouse, provides a cosy setting with IMAX and 4DX options.

Both venues are highly rated on Google for their comfort and advanced technology. Grab your popcorn and enjoy the show!

3. Quarry Theatre: A Cultural Delight

The Quarry Theatre, Bedford
The Quarry Theatre, Bedford.

Situated in a characterful building, a former chapel, the Quarry Theatre is a hub for local quality entertainment. From plays to live screenings, it’s a cultural haven.

The intimate setting and historic vibe make every visit special.

The atmosphere is always electric for those attending the many performances, and the theatre acoustics are excellent.

Check out more via the Quarry’s Instagram page.

4. Bedford Corn Exchange: A Historic Venue

The Bedford Corn Exchange, with its grand architecture and rich history, is the town’s premier event space.

It hosts everything from comedy nights to classical concerts and is a versatile venue that never fails to impress.

Frequented by big names since WWII, it continues to be a cornerstone of Bedford’s entertainment scene.

5. John Bunyan Museum: A Step Back in Time

History buffs will thoroughly enjoy the John Bunyan Museum.

Located in Bedford’s Cultural Quarter, close to other attractions, it offers an educational dive into the life of the famous author of “The Pilgrim’s Progress.”

Through interactive exhibits and well-preserved artefacts, you can immerse yourself in the inspiring story of how Bedford’s famous preacher and author was imprisoned for his beliefs.

John Bunyan Museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the man, Bedford and 17th-century England.

6. Bedford International Stadium: Sports Enthusiast’s Haven

For sports lovers, the Bedford International Stadium is a must-visit.

It boasts top-notch facilities, including an international standard running track and various courts.

Whether you’re participating or spectating, the energy here is palpable.

Locals praise its well-maintained grounds and community and national events like the National Athletics League championships.

7. Higgins Museum & Art Gallery: A Cultural Feast

Art and history intertwine at the Higgins Museum & Art Gallery.

This venue showcases impressive collections of decorative arts and local history and hosts numerous temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

The museum’s blend of contemporary and classical pieces and engaging displays ensures a rewarding visit.

Google reviewers frequently commend its family-friendly atmosphere and informative exhibits and have rated it with 4½ stars.

8. Great River Ouse: A Riverside Escape

River Ouse, Bedford
Great River Ouse, Bedford

Exploring the Great River Ouse (one of the longest in the UK) is a tranquil way to experience Bedford.

Whether you’re on a river cruise, a canoe adventure, or just gently gliding along on a paddle board, the scenic beauty of this river is captivating.

Other activities include renting a barge and soaking up the relaxing atmosphere while drifting past charming villages and lush landscapes.

Anglers will find plenty of spots along the river for a peaceful day of fishing.

Even a gentle stroll alongside the water is enjoyable no matter the season.

9. Priory Country Park: Nature’s Retreat

Priory Country Park is an expansive 360-acre green space ideal for walking, fishing, and birdwatching.

Priory Park is one of four Bedford Borough Council-managed parks awarded a Green Flag. The Green Flag Award scheme recognises quality parks and open spaces in the UK.

With its beautiful lake and woodland trails, it offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of town life and work pressures.

It is a massive hit on Google, receiving over 3,600 positive reviews for its well-maintained grounds and serene environment.

10. Bedford Castle Mound: Historical Insights

The remnants of Bedford Castle provide a fascinating glimpse into the town’s medieval past.

Though only the mound remains, the site offers panoramic views and historical plaques detailing its storied history.

First built as a motte in the 11th century, it was an important administrative centre. The castle was sadly destroyed during a siege in the early 12th century.

Today, the site’s informative displays and scenic lookout make for an interesting visit and offer a unique glimpse into Bedford’s Medieval past.

11. Panacea Museum: A Unique Story

Explore the intriguing history of the Panacea Society at the Panacea Museum.

This museum tells the story of a unique religious community (a Christian group formed in the early twentieth century) that believed Bedford was the site of the Garden of Eden.

The exhibits are captivating, and Google reviewers praise the engaging storytelling and well-preserved artefacts.

An organised tour is a great way to get the most out of your visit.

Numerous exhibitions, events, and talks are held annually, so there is always something different to complement your experience when you visit.

12. Oasis Beach Pool: Family Fun

Oasis Beach Pool
Oasis Beach Pool

Fancy getting wet?

For a fun day with the family, head to Oasis Beach Pool.

This leisure complex features water slides, a wave machine, a beach-style pool, fountains and a bubble burst experience, providing endless entertainment for the whole family.

It is the perfect place to hold a children’s party, and there are dedicated rooms available, but you need to book well in advance.

Check out the great reviews Oasis receives on Facebook.

13. Bedford Swan Hotel: Riverside Elegance

Perhaps this location right in the centre of Bedford is one adults will enjoy the most.

Even if you’re not staying the night, the Bedford Swan Hotel is worth a visit.

Overlooking the River Great Ouse, it is undoubtedly a pretty location.

Partake in a spa treatment to fully unwind and relax during your stay.

The Pen and Cob, the on-site British brasserie, is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. It is also well known for its delicious afternoon tea service.

Guests on TripAdvisor often mention the excellent service and beautiful setting.

14. Harrold-Odell Country Park: Riverside Beauty

Take a short drive from Bedford and discover the Harrold-Odell Country Park.

Located in the charming village of Harrold, the park is a year-round haven managed by Bedford Borough Council.

Another of Bedford’s attractions that sits alongside the River Great Ouse, this dedicated Nature Reserve is home to various managed habitats.

Spanning 144 acres, it offers serene beauty with two picturesque lakes, a river meadow, and diverse wildlife.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or a place to explore nature, this park provides a tranquil escape amidst stunning landscapes.

15. Woburn Safari Park: Experience the Adventure

Woburn Safari Park
Woburn Safari Park

Just 20 minutes from Bedford, no visit is complete without an exhilarating adventure that brings you up close with wildlife from around the world.

Drive through expansive reserves where lions, tigers, and bears roam freely, creating unforgettable encounters.

The excitement doesn’t stop there – explore the walk-through enclosures, enjoy interactive animal talks, and let the kids burn off energy at the adventure playgrounds.

With its blend of safari thrills and educational experiences, Woburn Safari Park guarantees a fun-filled day for the whole family.

Find out what other people think of the park via Tripadvisor

Inspired to Move to Bedford?

Thinking about making Bedford your new home? You won’t regret it!

Bedford offers a rich tapestry of activities and sights, making it a delightful place to live or visit.

To ensure a smooth transition, you’ll need a reliable removal company.

Lund Conlon Removers & Storers, with years of experience, is your go-to choice in the area.

We offer in-person and virtual surveys to assess your moving needs and provide a detailed quotation within 48 hours.

Let us handle the heavy lifting and make your move stress-free. Contact Lund Conlon Removers & Storers today for a hassle-free moving experience!

For more details on moving services, visit Lund Conlon Removals.


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