Bedfordshire Attractions

Bedfordshire offers visitors a range of local attractions in the region offering visitors a choice of places to discover. The county includes a number of attractions including museums, galleries, historic buildings, safari parks, zoos, theatre, concerts and events. Bedfordshire’s location in the East of England means the scenic English countryside and the great outdoors are all within reach located close by to the main towns of Bedford and Luton and local towns and villages in Bedfordshire.

We have outlined a number of interesting attractions and places to visit for visitors to the Bedfordshire region, these include:

Woburn Abbey has been in the Russell family since 1547. The old abbey buildings were made into a house in 1619 and the improvements made by the family over the years has resulted in one of the finest historic stately homes in the UK. The current house at Woburn Abbey boasts silver, ceramics, paintings, furniture, including some famous works by well known artists. The extensive gardens at Woburn Abbey of around 3,000 acres are mainly Victorian in their character and have in them a deer park, ponds, maze and even a Chinese dairy

Houghton House is a three-story stately home built in 1621. This would have been an impressive house in its prime displaying signs of the emerging Jacobean style in Britain at the time. The property has passed from Lady Pembroke who died in 1624 to the Bruce family, who had it until 1738 when it was sold to the Russell family. Houghton is now a ruin and is administered as an ancient monument by English Heritage.

The Shuttleworth Collection are essentially three attractions based around the Victorian mansion of Shuttleworth House. The first of these attractions is a wonderful collection of vintage airplanes dating all the way back to the earliest days of flight. Unusually the majority of Shuttleworth's planes are still airworthy and are flown regularly in flying displays held between spring (May) and autumn (October). The displays include modern aircraft in addition to the older machines.

The second main attraction at Shuttleworth is the collection of vintage and classic vehicles going back to an 1898 Panhard et Levassor. There is an extensive collection here and a workshop where you can witness the cars and bikes being worked on there. There is also a separate coach room for horse-drawn carriages.

The third attraction at Shuttleworth is the Swiss Garden which is a 10 acre Victorian garden centred about a tiny Swiss style cottage. The Swiss Garden boasts a wide array of rare shrubs and trees. There are exotic structures such as an Indian kiosk, grotto and mock chapel that are incorporated in to the garden. With three attractions in one, Shuttleworth presents an interesting place to visit.

Woburn Safari Park allows visitors to drive their cars through the animal enclosures which give you the chance to see the animals first hand. Here you could come up close to an Eland, Antelope, Rhino, Giraffe, Ankole, Zebra, Elephant, Camel, Bison, Ostrich, Lion, Tiger, Wolves and Black Bears. There are a wide variety of animals to see here, in addition there are five adventure playgrounds for children with opportunities for hands on experiences. Visitors wanting to learn and find out more can go to one of the animal talks and demonstrations take place through the day.

The Higgins Art Gallery is located in a Victorian Mansion. There are Watercolours, Prints, Drawings and changing exhibitions from the gallery's collections. Watercolour artists featured include Gainsborough and Freud. The print collection features some international artists including such as Rembrandt, Whistler and Picasso. The Decorative Art Gallery features silver, ceramics, glass and textiles from the various centuries.

Theatre and culture fans can try the Bedford Corn Exchange complex is a multi-purpose venue. There is a varied programme of live events to enjoy featuring top performers from music, comedy and theatre. They also have one of two UK residencies of the Philharmonia Orchestra outside London. With a full programme of different events most people are likely to find something to suit their tastes here.

The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is located in Dunstable in Bedfordshire, it is the largest zoo in the UK, home to over 2,500 animals. The zoo is one of the largest wildlife conversation parks in Europe, located in over 600 areas of scenic Bedfordshire parkland. The zoo includes over 200 species of animals, from African lions, rhinos, penguins, zebras, giraffes, chimpanzees, tigers, hippos and much more. The zoo hosts a number of events through the course of the year workshops and talks, visitors can see feeding of the animals and learn more with the informative talks. The zoo plays a leading role in animal conversation. There are a range of eateries at the zoo, serving a choice of hot and cold food, snacks and drinks.

Wardown Park Museum is located close by to Luton town centre. The museum is located inside a historic Victorian house inside a landscaped park. Visitors can explore a number of galleries and displays among then are the threads of life gallery looking at the 17th century, Luton the hat town, looking at the history of the town in hat making and the Luton life gallery looking at the history of and lives and times of the people of the town. The museum hosts a number of special exhibitions and has a changing temporary exhibition covering a range of areas.

Leighton Buzzard Railway is a light railway originally built after World War I, today it operates as a historic railway. The railway houses a range of narrow-gauge railway stock of historic importance. Visitors can enjoy a trip on the heritage railway, the trip last a total of 70 minutes from Page’s Park to Stonehenge Works taking visitors into the Bedfordshire countryside. There is a railway shop offering souvenirs and gifts along with the Dobbers Buffet, where visitors can find a range of hot and cold foods, snacks and drinks.

It is recommended that prior to visiting Bedfordshire; visitors do their research and ensure any sights and attractions they plan on visiting are actually open on the days you intend on coming. The transport is also worth checking as maintenance and engineering works can mean a restricted service on public transport and the road network.

Bedfordshire in the East of England offers visitors a destination that is relatively close by to London, sometimes overlooked as a commuter county, the county has a number of attractions of note for visitors. The county includes market towns and villages with own charm and character, where visitors can enjoy the best of the great outdoors combining Bedfordshire with the attractions of the county town of Bedford and the charm of the towns and villages in the region. There are a choice of historic attractions including historic houses, museums and galleries. The attractions in Bedfordshire ensure visitors can enjoy a short break, weekend away or a longer stay here.

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