Bedfordshire Travel Guide

Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire - © Peter Roberts

Introduction and Overview

The Bedfordshire Travel Guide examines the local attractions and places of interest for visitors along with outlining useful tourist information. The area guide features travel information on local transport and travel, facts & figures, entertainment, events, maps and accommodation.

The county is located in the East of England region, close to London and inevitably gets the 'commuter county' label thrown at it, whilst the close proximity to London allow it to be commuter county to an extent, the county itself has some interesting attractions for visitors to consider.

Bedfordshire is seen as the gateway to the Midlands in the north and East Anglia to the East.

There is a nice rural landscape here out of the major towns and this makes for some areas to display a scenic rural setting. The attractions for visitors in the county include stately homes, gardens, nature reserves, country parks and animal parks.

Essentially Bedfordshire could be thought of in two main areas the mainly agricultural north where you will find the Great River Ouse and the setting for the countryside in the county and the more industrial southern part of which Luton is the centre, this area is altogether more urban and a contrast from its northern cousin.

The Bedfordshire countryside not only provides a great location for those wanting to relax, unwind and get away from it all, but it is also the scene for making Bedfordshire very well suited and situated for outdoor activities.

The Chiltern Hills here are a great place to enjoy going walking or cycling. The Icknield Way long distance path runs through Luton in the south of Bedfordshire on its way from Warden & Gallery Hills to Dunstable.

Luton is the largest town in Bedfordshire, located 30 miles north of London. Luton is known for the Luton International Airport and industry that is well established there.

During the 19th century the town was well known for the hat industry whilst in the 20th century the town established itself in the engineering and car manufacturing industries.

Labelled by some as a commuter town to London, there are other aspects to the town worth mentioning.

To the southern part of the town is Luton Hoo; which is located in 1,500-acres of landscaped parkland famously designed by Capability Brown, the famous country estate includes gardens, lakes, whilst the main house is now a luxury hotel & spa.

Cultural events include the Luton Carnival usually held in May annually; visitors can be street processions with dancing, street performers, samba troupes and a mix of music, arts and culture.

Local attractions include the historic St. Mary's Parish Church with over 850 years of history, the Hat Factory, a leading arts and entertainment venue, Wardown Park Museum, Stockwood Discovery Centre, Whipsnade Zoo and Woodside Animal Farm.

Bedford is the county town of Bedfordshire, located 20 miles north from Luton located on the River Great Ouse. Historically a market town, Bedford became a centre for engineering during the 19th century and is the second largest settlement in Bedfordshire after Luton.

Local attractions include the Bedford Corn Exchange, an entertainment venue with comedy, music, dance and theatre, The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, St Paul's Church, Bedford dating back to the 13th century and the remains of Bedford Castle with the Castle Mound and Castle Gardens.

Visitors can explore the areas outside of the town and discover a number of scenic villages that include traditional countryside pubs, farms, gardens, fetes and churches.

The town of Leighton Buzzard is located 20 miles from Bedford close to the Chiltern Hills. The market town still hosts regular weekly and monthly markets including traditional general and farmers markets.

The town is famous for being the place where the Grand Union Canal first opened, the town includes a number of historic buildings including on the High Street whilst in the town centre, the 15th century Market Cross is located.

The Church of All Saints is a parish church that dates back to the 13th century and is noted for its fine architecture and a 190 foot spire, making it an impressive sight.

At the Grand Union Canal visitors can enjoy a cruise on a narrow boat, enjoy a scenic walk along the towpath, go fishing or cycling or simply relax beside the canal side and watch the world go by.

The Leighton Buzzard light railway is a heritage railway, offering trips for visitors through the Bedfordshire countryside.

The market town of Dunstable is located in southern Bedfordshire 25 miles from Bedford, once a Roman town, the town includes a number of fine historic buildings.

One of the best known is the Priory Church of St Peter (Dunstable Priory) founded back in the 12th century, it is a Grade I listed building and forms an impressive sight, it is regarded as one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in England.

Ashton Square is the traditional venue for the town markets where visitors can still find a choice of market stalls on several days each week.

The town centre includes a number of pubs, inns and restaurants offering visitors a choice of food and drinks. Shopping facilities include the Quadrant Shopping Centre with a choice of high street stores.

Whilst Bedfordshire is not as well known for its tourist attractions as some of the other counties in England it nonetheless offers visitors with some historic attractions, cultural ones and attractions for the whole family to see and enjoy it offers many fun days out.

With its road, rail links and airport links at Luton it is well connected transport wise for visitors from the UK and abroad.

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