15 Best Things To Do In Bedford, England

15 Best Things To Do In Bedford, England

By will

Bedford, England is an amazing city full of wonderful things to do and see. From exploring the Embankment to enjoying a pint at the White Horse Pub, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a fun day trip or an extended stay, Bedford has a variety of attractions to keep you entertained.

In this article, I’ll take you through 15 of the best things to do in Bedford, England. From shopping centres to steam fairs, there’s something for all ages to enjoy. So come along and explore the best that Bedford has to offer.

Visit the Bedford Park and Gardens

Path in Bedfords Park
Photo by Glyn Baker

Bedford Park and Gardens is a must-see destination in Bedford, England. Its sprawling grounds and stunning scenery will take your breath away! This iconic park is located in the heart of Bedford and is home to over 40 acres of breathtaking greenery, manicured gardens, and a tranquil lake.

It’s the perfect spot for a romantic stroll, a leisurely picnic, or a relaxing afternoon. The park is open year-round and has plenty of activities to enjoy, including a café, a play area, and a wide range of wildlife to observe.

The park is also host to many events throughout the year, including outdoor concerts, theatre performances, and even a special annual fireworks display. Bedford Park and Gardens is a great way to spend an afternoon, and it’s sure to provide you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Explore the Embankment

River Great Ouse embankment
Photo by Jonathan Billinger

Stroll along the Embankment for an enchanting view of the River Great Ouse.

Along the walk, you can pick out Bedford’s many landmarks, including the swans, Georgian houses, and the castle mound.

The Embankment is a great spot for a romantic picnic, as it’s lined with attractive flowerbeds and a range of trees.

There are plenty of benches to stop and take in the tranquil atmosphere, and it’s a great spot to watch the rowing boats take to the river.

The Embankment also offers a range of activities, such as the popular boating lake, or take a leisurely stroll and spot the many birds that call the area their home.

Whatever you choose to do, the Embankment is sure to provide a memorable experience.

Experience the Bedford Castle Mound

Castle Mound at Bedford
Photo by M J Richardson

Experience Bedford’s charming castle mound, a captivating reminder of the town’s long history, as you amble along the Embankment.

Dating back to the 11th century, the castle mound is a stunning reminder of Bedford’s past. Rich in culture and heritage, the mound is a great spot to soak up some local history and enjoy the breathtaking views of Bedford.

You can also take advantage of the carefully manicured gardens and open green spaces, perfect for a sunny day stroll. The ornamental pond and the majestic trees make it a picturesque spot to relax and take in the sights.

Enjoy the views of Bedford Castle from the top of the castle mound. The castle mound is a great way to get in touch with the town’s rich history and culture.

Explore the remains of the once bustling castle and take a step back in time. It’s a great place to explore and learn about the history of Bedford.

Take a Stroll Through Priory Country Park

Sculpture within Priory Country Park, Bedford
Photo by Robert Kerr

Take a peaceful walk through Priory Country Park, a tranquil oasis nestled in the heart of Bedford.

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Covering nearly 300 acres, the park offers a variety of activities for visitors and locals alike, including walking trails, a lake, tennis courts, a children’s play area, and a sensory garden.

The park is known for its abundance of wildlife, including birds, fish, and hedgehogs. It also offers plenty of opportunities for picnics, barbecues, and other outdoor activities.

The park also contains the ruins of Bedford Priory, a former Cluniac priory founded in 1066. Visitors can explore the ruins and learn about the history of the area.

There are also several events held in the park throughout the year, such as concerts, festivals, and markets. The park is also home to a variety of sculptures, including the Bedford Peace Mound, a sculpture created by artist Louise Burrell.

Priory Country Park is a great place to spend a day exploring and enjoying the beauty of Bedford.

Tour the Bedford Museum and Art Gallery

Discover Bedford’s fascinating past and culture at the Bedford Museum and Art Gallery. Located in the heart of the town, this museum offers a wide range of galleries full of engaging exhibitions and displays.

Explore the life of the local people from the Iron Age to the present day and discover the history of the area. Learn about the famous Bedfordshire Regiment and its involvement in two world wars, as well as the many local industries that have been prominent in the region.

The museum’s art gallery also showcases a wide selection of works by local artists, as well as pieces from international artists. There are also interactive activities for children, such as a discovery trail and a craft space.

For art lovers, the museum offers regular exhibitions and talks on a variety of topics. The Bedford Museum and Art Gallery is a great place to get an enriching insight into the history and culture of Bedford.

Visit the John Bunyan Museum

Leaving the Bedford Museum and Art Gallery, I was looking forward to visiting the next stop on my tour of Bedford, England – the John Bunyan Museum.

This museum celebrates the life and work of the famous English author, John Bunyan, who wrote the beloved classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress. The museum is housed in the former home of Bunyan’s daughter, Mary, who inherited the house after his death in 1688.

The museum offers an interesting insight into Bunyan’s life and work, with displays of manuscripts, books, and personal effects. There’s also an audio-visual presentation that gives a unique look at the author and his work. There are also a number of interactive displays that provide a great way to learn more about Bunyan and his work.

Visitors can also take part in guided tours of the museum that offer an in-depth look at the life and times of the author. The museum is a great place to visit to learn more about John Bunyan and his famous book, The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Explore the Iconic Harpur Square

Right in the heart of Bedford lies Harpur Square, an iconic gathering place for locals and visitors alike. It is home to a variety of cultural attractions, including art galleries, theatres, and a variety of eateries.

Of these, the most recognisable is The Harpur Centre, a shopping mall with a wide range of stores, eateries, and services. Other notable attractions include The Higgins Bedford, an art gallery and museum, and Bedford Park, a large public park with a wide variety of plants and wildlife.

The Square also features a variety of events and festivals throughout the year. From the annual Bedford River Festival to the Bedford Mela to the Bedford International Street Fair, there is always something going on. Additionally, the Square hosts a variety of outdoor concerts and performances, making it a great spot to catch some live music.

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Whether you’re looking to shop, explore Bedford’s culture, or just enjoy the atmosphere, Harpur Square is certainly worth a visit.

Shop at the Harpur Centre

Take a stroll through the Harpur Centre and enjoy all the shopping, dining, and entertainment options it has to offer.

Located in the heart of Bedford, the Harpur Centre is a bustling shopping mall that’s home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and activities.

From high-street fashion and jewelry stores to the latest gadgets, the Harpur Centre has something for everyone.

The centre also offers an excellent selection of cafes and restaurants, ideal for a light lunch or dinner.

There’s something for every palate, from Italian and Mexican to Chinese and Indian.

The centre also hosts a variety of events, from live music performances to art exhibitions.

It’s the perfect place to soak up some culture and have a great time.

Relax in Russell Park

Russell Park is a tranquil oasis for locals and visitors alike to enjoy the beauty of Bedford, England. It’s a great place to take a stroll, have a picnic, or just sit and appreciate the calming atmosphere of the park.

Located in the center of Bedford, Russell Park is a popular spot for people to relax and enjoy the outdoors. The park is filled with lush trees, colorful flowers, and a large pond that provides a beautiful backdrop for a peaceful day.

One of the highlights of the park is the beautiful Rose Garden, which has been lovingly maintained for over a century. There’s also a playground, a cafe, and a bandstand, which hosts regular events throughout the year.

It’s the perfect spot to spend a lazy afternoon, and many locals visit the park regularly to take a break from their busy lives.

Take a Tour of the Bedford Corn Exchange

Why not visit the Bedford Corn Exchange and explore the vibrant market and unique architecture?

The Bedford Corn Exchange is a busy market located in the centre of the city and is home to a wide variety of stalls selling everything from clothing and food to books and crafts.

The building itself is a historic Grade II listed building that’s been standing since 1864 and has a beautiful, ornate interior. It’s a great place to explore and pick up some unique items.

The Corn Exchange also hosts regular events such as art and craft fairs, music performances, and food festivals.

It’s also home to a number of cafes, so visitors can relax and enjoy a bite to eat while admiring the building.

There are also plenty of opportunities to take part in activities, such as guided tours and workshops, making it an ideal destination for those looking to learn more about Bedford’s history and culture.

Try Traditional Fish and Chips at The Swan

After learning all about the Bedford Corn Exchange, I was ready for a delicious traditional meal. The perfect place to go for traditional fish and chips is The Swan, a local pub in the heart of Bedford.

The Swan has been open since the 1700s and is renowned for its delicious fish and chips. The fish and chips at The Swan are cooked to perfection, with a crispy batter and succulent fish inside. The chips are cooked in beef dripping, giving them a unique flavor. The fish is served with a generous helping of mushy peas and tartar sauce, making for a mouthwatering combination.

The atmosphere at The Swan is warm and inviting, with locals gathering to enjoy a tasty meal and a pint of beer or cider. It’s a great place to go with friends and family to get a taste of authentic British cuisine.

Enjoy a Pint at The White Horse Pub

Heading to the White Horse Pub for a pint is a great way to end the day in Bedford. Located in the centre of the town, the pub has been around since the 17th century and is a historic landmark in the area.

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The pub is steeped in tradition, and it’s easy to while away an afternoon enjoying some of the delicious local beers on tap.

The atmosphere at The White Horse is always welcoming and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax and wind down or a lively night out, the pub has something for everyone.

The food menu also offers a variety of traditional pub fare like fish and chips, homemade pies, and hearty soups.

With its unique charm and inviting atmosphere, The White Horse Pub is the perfect spot to end a day of exploring Bedford.

Take a Boat Trip Along the River Great Ouse

Take a scenic boat trip along the River Great Ouse and experience the beauty of Bedford from the water. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a fun day out with friends, a boat trip on the River Great Ouse is a great way to explore the city.

You’ll be able to take in the gorgeous views of Bedford’s historic buildings, such as St Paul’s Church, as you drift along the gentle waters. Plus, you’ll get a chance to get up close to the wildlife that inhabits the river, such as swans, ducks, and herons.

You can even take a guided tour, which will have a knowledgeable guide to point out interesting sights and tell you stories about the city’s history.

Whether you opt for a leisurely cruise or a more adventurous journey, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

Explore the Bedfordshire Steam and Country Fair

Experience a unique slice of Bedfordshire’s culture and history at the Bedfordshire Steam and Country Fair!

Enjoy a day out filled with horse-drawn carriages, steam-powered engines, and demonstrations of traditional crafts.

From magnificent steam engines and vintage tractor displays to a wide variety of crafts and activities, the Bedfordshire Steam and Country Fair has something for everyone.

The fair is held annually in the springtime, and visitors can take part in activities such as horse-drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo, and a variety of craft demonstrations.

There are also a range of historic vehicles on display, as well as a live music stage and a selection of food stalls.

The fair is a great way to explore the area’s rich history and culture, and a great way to spend a day out with friends and family.

Go Shopping at The Mall Shopping Centre

Treat yourself to a shopping spree at The Mall Shopping Centre! With a wide variety of high-street and designer shops, it’s the perfect place to find the perfect outfit for any occasion.

From the latest fashion trends to classic timeless pieces, there’s something for everyone, no matter your style or budget. You can browse the racks at popular stores like Topshop, Zara, and H&M, or you can splurge on designer items at stores like Michael Kors and Prada.

The Mall also has a selection of jewelry stores, shoe stores, and home goods stores, so you can find the perfect accessories to complete any look.

The Mall Shopping Centre also offers a variety of services to make your shopping experience even more enjoyable. You can take advantage of free personal shopping sessions, in-store makeovers, and even book a private shopping suite for a special occasion.

Plus, the Centre regularly hosts events, such as fashion shows, live music, and art exhibitions, so you can take a break from shopping to enjoy some of the other activities.

The Mall Shopping Centre is the perfect place to find the perfect outfit and have a great day out.


I’ve had a wonderful time in Bedford, England!

From exploring the Bedford Castle Mound and admiring the Bedford Park and Gardens to taking a boat trip along the River Great Ouse and going shopping at The Mall Shopping Centre, there’s so much to do!

It’s easy to see why Bedford is considered an ideal place to visit, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and friendly locals.

I’m already looking forward to my next visit and can’t wait to experience all that Bedford has to offer.

About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.