History and Heritage
Birthplace of the Church of England in Dunstable and John Bunyan author of ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ and in more recent years the late Ronnie Barker. Bedfordshire is steeped in history, the county has seen many Kings and Queens of England holding court and hunting in the great forests. Queen Eleanor was laid to rest in Dunstable, Catherine of Aragon was incarcerated at Ampthill and during the Second World War many crowned heads of Europe took refuge in Bedfordshire.
Bedfordshire is host to many famous entertaining cultural events such as the carnival and Mela in Luton, the Riverside Festival in Bedford and Canal Festival in Linslade. For a real vintage experience, visit the Shuttleworth Collection where aircrafts are kept in full flying order and can often be seen flying the skies above Old Warden.
Activities and Attractions
With a host of activities there really is something for everyone visiting Bedfordshire. If you’re looking for a day out like no other than a visit to Edible Ornaments should be top of your list if places to visit. With a range of chilli options from chilli chocolate afternoon tear to chilli tours and cooking experiences this will be a day out like no other.
If you’re animal lovers then Bedfordshire will feel like home with two major animal attractions to visit. Woburn Safari takes you on a wild ride through the Northern Plans, Savannah Grasslands and Kingdom of the Carnivores where you can see lions, tigers and zebra in the wild. If one day visiting animals isn’t enough then a Whipsnade Zoo provides the solution. With a huge range of animals and activities you’re guaranteed a great day out at Whipsnade.
If you’re looking for attractions for a rainy day the Stockwood Discovery Centre is the answer to your prayers telling the stories of the real people behind the collections, exploring the history from prehistoric times to the evolution of Stockwood House and the Farley estate.
If you’re looking for a tranquil day out enjoying the Bedfordshire countryside there’s a range of activities from walks around the Dunstable Downs, Wrest Park and the Shuttleworth collection of vintage aeroplanes.
If you’re looking to stay active cycling and walking is made easy with numerous paths and cycle ways through beautiful countryside as well as excellent indoor or outdoor sport facilities including canoeing, polo and kayaking on the river Great Ouse where lazy trips in the John Bunyan river-cruise boat are also on offer in the summer and available to hire for private and corporate events.
Food and Drink
There is no shortageof great places to eat and drink in Bedfordshire. Spanning all styles and cuisines Bedfordshire’s eponymous dish is the Bedfordshire Clanger. A light pastry with both savoury and sweet filings, a meal on its own made and served today at Gunn’s Bakeries, Biggleswade, Sandy and Bedford. Relax by the beautiful River Ouse at the renowned 18th Century Old Swan Hotel and enjoy the finest local and seasonal ingredients at their 2 AA Rosette River Room Restaurant, or treat yourself to afternoon tea in the grounds of Woburn Abbey.
Afternoon Tea was popularised in the 1840s by Duchess Anna Maria, wife to the 7th Duke of Bedford. The Mansion House at Luton Hoo where the spectacular Werner Restaurant continues to forge an unrivalled reputation for creating exciting dishes with a modern twist offers a dining experience like no other.
(Photo: VisitEngland/Diana Jarvis)