Situated within an hour of London and the airports at Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted and East Midlands, Bedfordshire and neighboroughing Buckinghamshire are two counties rich in heritage and attractions.
You will find all you want here - whether you are seeking country villages, market towns, fine architecture, magnificent gardens, great shopping, thrilling sporting activities or just a quiet walk in the country.
Try visiting some of our most popular towns and villages:-
1. Bedford, a fine and ancient county town well known for its connection to John Bunyan, is located on the River Great Ouse and visitors to the town can stroll along the beautiful embankment enjoying the floral displays by day and the floodlit bridges by night.
2. Olney, in the west of the area is a beautiful market town well known for its connection to William Cowper and John Newton but also famous for its annual pancake race. Don't miss market day on Thursdays.
3. Ampthill,south of Bedford has a fine Georgian High Street and over 200 listed buildings. Its literary claim to fame is its proximity to Houghton House and the steep hill nearby both of which are said to be the basis for places within John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.
4. Old Warden and Ickwell, further east are delightful Bedfordshire villages. The former was built in a traditional Swiss style [see also Shuttleworth Collection] whilst the latter features a central village green where cricket is played and Maypole dancing is still performed annually.
5. Sandy, on the A1 near the Bedfordshire / Cambridgeshire border, is a small market town with Roman origins. Now possibly most well known for being the home of the RSPB headquarters it is also on the Greensand Ridge, Bedfordshire’s premier long distance walk.
For fine architecture and gardens you will be spoilt for choice in the StayinBeds area but the following are just three of the best!
1. The grandeur of Woburn Abbey dominates its wonderful 3000 acre parkland which is grazed freely by herds of deer but which also is home to the Woburn Safari Park. Originally founded as a Cistercian Abbey in 1145 it has undergone many changes over the centuries but remains a home to the Dukes of Bedford as well as a wonderful showcase of art and architecture.
2. Castle Ashby House, whilst technically in Northamptonshire, is easily visited from many of the StayinBeds accommodation locations. Popular for its gardens the Estate also boasts a Rural Shopping Yard and tea room.
3. Wrest Park is the subject of a twenty year revitalisation plan by English Heritage and part of the House is now open as well as the extensive gardens and woodland walks. The gardens include a long water leading to the Archer Pavilion.
There are numerous gardens open in the area each year and the NGS Yellow Book scheme will point you towards those that are open during your stay. In addition do visit the following.
• the gardens of Ascott House near Leighton Buzzard,
• the Swiss Gardens at Shuttleworth,
• Kathy Brown’s garden at Stevington,
• the Country Park at Harrold and Odell,
• Willen Lake in Milton Keynes
• and the parks in Bedford itself are all beautiful in their own right and worthy of a visit.
For the more active guests [and those happy to watch!] we suggest the following:-
• Drag racing at Santa Pod
• Palmersport at Bedford Autodrome – track days and race tuition
• The Snozone at Milton Keynes – indoor snow slope for boarders and skiers alike
• Grafham Water – for watersports
• Bodyflight – indoor skydiving and surfing
• The College Equestrian Centre – national and local equestrian competitions
• Golf at Woburn, Bedford and County and various other courses throughout the area.
• Gullivers Land in Milton Keynes provides entertainment for adults and children alike.
Whilst a more relaxing and informative time can be had here:-
• RSPB centre at Sandy
• Duxford Imperial War Museum
• Bletchley Park
• Whipsnade Zoo
• The various museums in the area including Bedford, Olney and Milton Keynes
Finally being situated betwixt Cambridge and Milton Keynes a day can always be well spent visiting the old City of Cambridge with its magnificent Colleges, punting on the river or just enjoying the quaint streets and student culture. Or visit the new City of Milton Keynes, known as the City of Trees, with its vibrant shopping centre and theatre district!
So if you are visiting purely for pleasure or maybe on business, perhaps at Cranfield University, the Technology Park or the Open University there is lots to see and do in the StayinBeds area. Enjoy your visit!