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Having decided to live in Bedford, against London, St Albans or Harpenden, I would just like to share the good things that this town has going for it. I am doing this because I really think that Bedford is somewhat of a secret at the moment and one that deserves to be shared and enjoyed by others. The Telegraph recently declared Bedford a property hotspot for 2012, and, beyond the improved rail links that have just been announced, it is not difficult to get a sense of why when you know the finer details of this town. It has many beautiful parks, a picturesque embankment along the River Ouse, it has good state and private education facilities, it is home to the Philarmonia Orchestra, who regularly host classical concerts, it is a market town with an excellent weekly market of good and fine food stuffs, it has an annual regatta, one of the biggest in the UK, it is seeped in history, it has an abundance of character houses, including many elegant Victorian terraces, and actually, in my experience, the people are very friendly and community minded. It is only thirty five minutes or so on the fast train into London. Just the other day, it only took me one hour and ten minutes to get from outside my door to Highbury tube station. The only down side is the town centre shopping area which really could be updated and replenished with new shops, which apparently is a priority of the Council and this is something that will only happen the more people move to the area and invest in it. There are many nice areas to chose from (and, like anywhere else, some not so desirable). Perhaps the nicest area is Castle Road Area. This runs parallel to the embankment and Russell Park. All the houses are stunning, Victorian houses, (think Crouch End but without the prices) and there are many interesting local facilities, including a great tapas bar, a deli with fine wines and cheeses, etc, an Italian supermarket, an organic fruit and veg store, lovely coffee shops, a cupcake shop, a Waitrose that has opened five minutes away, and lovely salvage shops, great for finding interesting bits and bobs for the house. Another area that is full of character is Prime Ministers, it is next to the stunning Bedford Park, and is close to the train station, and has a couple of coffee shops, including a wonderful Italian delicatessen that makes the best Italian cakes ever! Please visit for yourself and see. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Bedford is a much underrated town! At it's heart lays the beautiful Victorian embankment, adjacent to which lies Russell Park. Further down the river, you'll find the stunning Priory Country Park, acres and acres of meadows, lakes and woodland, just a mile and a half from the town center and fully open to the public free of charge, year round. There are many good pubs in Bedford if you avoid the high street- The Kings Arms, The Wellington, and The Devonshire Arms to name a few. In addition to this, resturants like 4, Eat Fish and Indiya offer sophisticated cuisine at reasonable prices. Despite difficulties in the last few years, the shopping aspect of Bedford is improving, with many independent shops, such as Charisma and Bamboo recently opening. There is a notorious night scene in Bedford with music on offer to suit most peoples tastes- rock, dance, indie, R'n'B etc, and being out and about in Bedford at night is far safer now than it once was. Bedford also offers several other parks, many cafes, several gyms and swimming pools, and athletics stadium, a fast train to London (40 mins), and ethnically is one of the most diverse towns in the country. The town also boasts a bi-annual river festival- one of the largest outdoor festivals in Europe.
I live in Bedford and have done my whole life apart from a few years in Birmingham when my parents divorced and my mum moved away. I was born here and am a Bedfordian. Bedford is approximately 50 miles north of London which is one of the things I do really like about the town, you can hop on a fast train and be there in 45 minutes. Close city's are Milton Keynes and Cambridge. According to the 2001 census Bedford population was 147,925. The town has some nice areas of beauty, it has a large park with a pond it it and lots of space to relax, play games and also tennis courts and 2 playgrounds in it. The river is lovely, its well kept and a great place to spend a summer day, its the best thing about the town. The shops in Bedford are not very good and its not a fashion hot spot, it has the basic fashion retailers and Debenhams is the biggest department store in the town but it has a lot of cheap shops, more pubs on the high street than shops (or so it seems anyway) and it has no music shops in the town, yes none, if you want CD's or DVDS you have to go and get ripped off at W H Smiths or get it second hand at CEX. If your young and like to go pubbing and clubbing there are a lot to choose from but if your more into theatres and concerts you will find a lack of good performances, it has the corn exchange where old artists, tribute acts and comedians play but no upcoming or famous artists. There is one cinema but its very grubby inside, doesn't always show the latest films and is not easy to get too unless you drive. Areas to avoid in the town are Queens Park and Midland Road, they are renowned for violence and drugs, Bedford does have a murder every few months or so and it always seems to happen in these areas. Nicer areas to live are Putnoe, Brickhill and near the river and park. Bedford is an ok town, I don't hate it but I don't love it and I would not recommend it to anyone who doesn't live here.
So.. Bedford. It is located near to Luton and Milton Keynes, around a 25 minute drive to each which is handy. The trains are also good connections with trains to London leaving every 15 minuted. Shopping wise, Bedford is terrible perhaps the worst place to even attempt to shop! Even if we do have one or two decent shops, the chances of you finding anything in them that you want is impossible because they are all so small! The 'big' shops ( as in big names, not size) Bedford has is: River Island, Next, Accesorize, Debenhams, M & S, BHS, Boots, Argos, Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, New Look, Primark, several phone shops, TKMaxx, ELC, Wilkinsons. This is basically it. And once again the shops are mostly tiny! There is quite good history behind the town of Bedford though and there is quite a lot to do with that. There is a place called the 'castle mound' which you can walk up and there is a free museum at the top of it. There is also a small art gallery. The tourist info is quite handy, so if you are visiting pop in there and they will tell you what's going on. This weekend we just had the River Festival which is HUGE in Bedford, it's over 2 days and there is a parade and several stages with lots of different things going on. There is also a fairground and a massive firework display and boat races, it's great fun! Also, if you have kids, check out Bedford Butterfly Park and whipsinade zoo or Woburn Safari Park, I still have good memories from all those places!
A mad tour...... The Old Chapel on Mill Street, to become a restaurant/bar downstairs & a club upstairs. Lurke Street car park where two Bosnians decided to steal a fast car and drove it through the barriers and over the edge of the fifth floor to their death - it was an automatic... The Oasis beach pool - a chuffing big pyramid out of context with the other scenery ! Demolish It Now Building THE BUS STATION !! IT IS DISGUSTING AND DANGEROUS. Most of the town centre. Don't forget the car parks. Oasis, it's got terminal concrete cancer, sick building syndrome and bad feng shui. County Hall - it suits the councils mundane attitude & dead ideas. They just like spending our taxes on £150 a bottle Champagne dinners for themselves. what lovely people. Plaza Hmm - the County Council Offices near Kingsway because it is seriously fucked up in many many ways. Also the Plaza - for obvious reasons - not least the fact it is a seedy, nasty little dive that smelt like a kennel on the one occasion I dared to go there! County hall - what a testemony to tasteless concrete architecture The police station It's very grey and has lots of policement inside If you need to go there it takes ages to get served I don't think it's nice to stay there either The tower block at DeMontfort Uni Polhill. It's dated and too tall for the area, and also badly decorated inside. The Plaza, for reasons stated above. My house. Bedford College - bomb it! Burn it! Bury it! The Best Things The river's quite pretty with Swans, and the villages round and about are pleasant. Trains to London go very regularly so it's very easy to get out of Bedford, which is a good job as it's one of the dullest places I've ever had the misfortune to live in. Lidl - what a great supermarket. The Limehouse - what IS that all about? Also Bedford's's only 8 miles from Car lton, where The Fox pub runs its legendary pub quiz every Thursday night. The music & the bars. It has potential to become quite a club & pub central town. But the council dont like it (even though it does attract people from MK & other areas) The people are great, and so is the atmosphere, just start talking to someonw and you'll make friends no probs! The diversity and lack of snobs - of course EVERYONE ignores all the little public school boys and girls who concentrate on nothing more than sipping Pimms down the Executive Club (sad place) while still unwrapping the car Daddy has just bought them for their 12th birthday ! Other than that though people in Bedford are great - we've got our psychos, weirdos, crackpots and mad people but everyone else seems to be geniune and nice - therefore avoid all places other than Esquires and the Hobgoblin. Maulden Wood where the bluebells in springtime do bloom the heart with gladness... Excellent music provision at all levels, good medical provision, easy to get to London, Oxford, and Cambridge. The Worst Things I've been told of so many "dodgy" areas in Bedford I don't know where to start. I've been approached by countless mobs of arseholes looking to cause trouble. The bus services are crap. The one way system is off another planet. And while there are a lot of very nice people in Bedford who are friendly, outgoing and only too pleased to help, I think they're in the minority. The centre of town seems permanently overrun with school kids in Kappa gear skiving off school to have a fag and piss about or look after their kids. The nightlife is limited, it's far too expensive for what it offers. All the shops are being shut down so it's not even like you can shop properly anymore and it's always messy. The attitude. It's not what you know or how hard you are, it's who you know in this town. Everyone is always trying t o be better than everyone else. If you move here from other places it is a hard place to make friends because of loads of attitude which can make it really unfriendly. Don't look at people and don't smile at strangers on the street because they'll think you're being a bit funny with them. Trying to look different by the way you dress really stigmatises you here. Getting beaten shitless on a Saturday night, smell of rotting cabbages from September to November, losing your heart to 16 year old art students. Too many people trying to fill the baggy jeans with attitude.
Right from the outset of this opinion I’ll state that I’m probably slightly biased. I was born and bred in Yorkshire and moved here, to Bedford, when I was 9 – 13yrs ago. Although many people boast about how great Bedford is I’m afraid it really doesn’t impress me. For those of you who don't know Bedford is roughly 1hr north of London and sits at the end of the Bedford-Brighton railway line. It's a relatively old market town (although the Market is now almost no existent) and is probably best know as the town where John Bunyan was born, imprisoned and preached. It's know as 'Little Italy' because of the large numbers of Italians that live in the town (hence the abundance of Italian Restaurants and Pizza Places). They arrived here after the end of the Second World War to work in the London Brick Works, which is actually in Stewartby - just a few miles from Bedford. If you're looking for attractions that celebrate Bedfords interesting past you'll find they're sadly lacking. Firstly there's the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery which has a museum attached to it. This is located close to the center of town where the castle used to be. Unfortunately all that's left of the castle is the mound. The museum itself does have some interesting displays showing some of the local history; you only need to leave yourself half a day though as its not very big. Another museum to visit is the Moot Hall, this is a VERY small museum located next to Elstow Abbey (the church where John Bunyan preached) - there's nothing much left of the original abbey but the church and the Moot Hall are both well worth visiting. However, the bus service to Elstow is not very frequent so it's either a long walk or taxi. Sadly, these are really the only cultural places to visit in a town which has so much history. However, if you're into more 'Green' places to visit you'll fi nd the Bedford Butterfly Park just a few miles north of Bedford. They house a reasonably large collection of Tropical Butterflies, have a Nature Reserve with a walk, and a very nice coffee shop. Again, the public transport to this attraction is extremely limited. Also along similar lines is the Priory Marina Nature Reserve. This a large reserve consisting mainly of lakes. These lakes were man made but offer a large variety of wildfowl and other interesting wildlife. There are several paths around the main lake and 'finger lakes' which are well worth exploring. This Park is situated to the East of the town center and has a Beefeater Restaurant which serves some very delectable food. Sadly, limited public transport is available although it is a very pleasant walk along the River Embankment to reach this Park. This really sums up the bulk of the main tourist attractions in Bedford. Once you've spent 2 days looking, and travelling, to these places you'll probably be a little peckish. Well, don't get too excited as Bedford doesn't offer many unusual or quaint places to eat. There's plenty of Pizza Places, Indian Takeaways, Chinese Takeaways, the usual MacDonalds, Burger King and Pizza Hut but sadly lacking in much else. If you're wanting a really nice meal out somewhere I would suggest the Barns Hotel and Restaurant, they quite pricey but really do provide some excellent cuisine. Accommodation in Bedford is also sadly lacking, there's the Swan Hotel, and the Moat Hotel both with pretty high star ratings, but then it's basically down to the small hotels and B and B's. The two hotels I mentioned are both located in the town center and lay on opposite sides of the river. Nightlife and entertainment are in a slightly better state than the hotels. There's Chicago's, The Plaza and Esquires all in the town center then Enigma situated slightly out of town at the Aspects Leisure Complex. Don 39;t get too excited about this complex there's Bowling, Cinema, Laser Quest, Enigma, a few restaurants and of course MacDonalds. There are however, plenty of good pubs around, there's loads scattered down the High Street just to start you off. On the whole safety wise it's not too bad although there are some areas which aren't very safe at night. My main advice would be to stick to the busy areas and stay in a group. Public Transport in Bedford is quite a joke at times. Although there is a good train service from London to Bedford the buses are a different story. At the present moment Bedford Bus station looks like something from a third world country - smelly, dirty, very few seats, and the toilets........don't even go there. The other major laughable element in Bedford is the shopping. Apart from the usual Boots, WH Smiths, Woolworth, Marks and Spencer etc, there really isn’t much else. If you’re staying in Bedford and want to go shopping I advise a 30min drive down the road to Milton Keynes, there you’ll be able to spend a whole day shopping. I think if you tried to spend a whole day shopping in Bedford you’d go round all the shops at least 3 times. On whole though I suppose that Bedford isn't really too bad a place to visit although I really don't think its much of a 'tourist' town. Sure there are a few decent places to visit, but I think just a few days would be enough to cover the whole town - that it unless you want to check out ALL the pubs.
Bedford will now be bestowed with eternal infamy because of those lovely pictures on the front of the 'The Mirror'. We are not here to talk about this though, so let us get on with weighing up what Bedford has to offer for anyone looking to visit somewhere, or I though that I may help people via my opinion if they are deciding whether Bedford is a great place to live. I will start with the touristy bits, and I am going to try something new in this opinion, (run for cover) in that I am going to try little sub sections, something that I don't usually go in for. Let’s see what damage it will cause then! History: Bedford is a historic market town. I always scoff when I read the signs that say this, but in this case it is actually true. Firstly there is a market, but more on that later! Secondly, Bedford is historic in the fact that we have a Duke of Bedford residing in Woburn Abbey, not so far away from Bedford, say around fifteen miles. This is a trip in itself as the safari park and the great house in all it's splendour are open for the public most of the year round. Woburn Abbey is a great stately home to visit for any tourists interested in that kind of thing as there is art, and other fine items to see in the house. You will probably have found Bedford or definitely some of the surrounding villages in the Doomsday Book so it is a historic town without a doubt. Believe it or not, there used to be a castle in Bedford almost slap-bang in the town centre. However, you cannot see this anymore as all that is left is the mound that it sat on, which the county have tried to make nice with a lot of different flowers, but it still doesn't look that great as it seems to be a haunt for the other side of society if you know what I mean. One other thing that will crop up in this opinion is the fact that the author of Pilgrims Progress, John Bunyan used to live in Bedford and there are a few places that may have had an influence on the book. Museums: As a historical town, Bedford has a fair few museums to commemorate different occasions. The Cecil Higgins museum is one that most people might like to visit, as it has a lot of art in it that is worth quite a lot of money. Owned by the Cecil Higgins trust, I am fairly sure that it is open all year round and you can enter for a princely sum. John Bunyan also has a museum in recognition of his life near the town centre. In case you don't know the story John Bunyan was not a religious conformist around the 1700's, and was put in jail in Bedford because of it. He wrote the epic book Pilgrims Progress whilst in Bedford jail. The museum chronicles this struggle through life that he had. Shopping: I will say it straight away. Shopping is not Bedford's strong point. There are a fair amount of shops around the Town centre in the indoor Harper Centre and also along Silver Street. You will find all the usual high street outlets like Marks and Spencers, (which pales in comparison with the one in Milton Keynes, an eighteen mile drive) Dixons, Boots etc. If you live in the Bedford area, you can definitely get by on the shopping facilities that Bedford has to offer, but the problem is that you often cannot find what you want. It is a normal town centre. It is not really a brilliant place to visit for it's shopping, and as I have said, Milton Keynes is not far away at all and offers infinitely better shopping potential. Nightlife: To be fair to Bedford, it does have quite a lot of Nightlife. It has three nightclubs for a start. These are 'The Plaza', which is rumoured, (I am seventeen remember) to be not one of the better nightclubs around. You do have 'Enigma' though, which is one of the best nightclubs in East Anglia apparently. I have been to an under-eighteen’s night to 'Enigma' and it is certainly very nice in there, with a massive sound system, three different bars, seating areas and a massive dancefloor. My brother, (who is alexsread on Dooyoo) tells me that it is not overly cheap to drink in there, although they apparently have a variety of drinks including spirits and cocktails. There is also a music club called 'Esquires' that I regularly visit which has live bands on that play punk and metal mainly. This club deals with the alternative scene as the dress code equals anything goes. Some really good bands have played there as well like Oasis a few years ago. There are also a plethora of pubs, as the high street is jam-packed with them. You could probably go in ten pubs on a pub crawl down the high street, and theme bars like 'Pitchers sports bar' and 'Yates' have nightclub style music and dancing, or for the conservative sports fan, a widescreen T.V complete with Sky. You cannot fail to have a decent time out on the town. Eateries: There are a lot of restaurants in Bedford as well that varies in food styles. You can obviously find a Macdonald’s, Burger King and various chip shops that are open late if you what a nice bag of chips after a night out. There are some nicer restaurants though. 'The Barnes hotel' on the way out of town towards Sandy has a good Sunday roast deal, and going up to Goldington, you can find a Brewers Fayre eatery which serves good food. There are also various Italian restaurants, and even a restaurant that serves Mongolian foodstuffs, having a massive open cooker that the chefs use to cook your choice of food in front of your eyes! This is called the 'Sizzling wok', on 'Broadway', (not quite New York, but still) at the top of the High Street. This part of Bedford is excellent, as you can always find somewhere that suits your tastes. Hotels: There are quite a few hotels in Bedford that are of high quality. 'The Swan Hotel' is probably the pick of the bunch with three stars and two crowns from the tourist board. I am fairly sure it ha s a resteraunt as well. 'The moat house' has the pick of location sat at the bottom of the River Bridge; (picturesque in itself) sat on the Embankment, (more in a minute). I think this hotel has three stars as well. Just don't expect anything like The Ritz! Other attractions: There are plenty of other attractions. The Embankment offers a lovely riverside walk, an area that looks great in the summer. There is also the Aspects complex that has a cinema; with multiple screens showing the latest films. It also holds the 'Enigma' nightclub, and also the ten pin bowling attraction called 'Megabowl' If you enjoy swimming you will be more than pleased as Robinson Pool offers a normal swimming pool complete with diving boards, and 'The Oasis' offers the attractions of a fun pool complete with slides and a rapids section. It also has a restaurant that serves a variety of snacks, and also the most outlandish design for a swimming pool, housed inside a massive corrugated metal pyramid that you cannot fail to miss. It certainly gives the skyline a bit of character! You will find golf courses just outside of the town, ranging in difficulty, so it is impossible not to find something to do if you are visiting. The thing about Bedford is that it is not exactly glamorous. It has its good points, but it also has its downers. The town for example is not exactly clean with graffiti all over the place and also and amazing litter problem. More to follow. What there is if you want to live in Bedford: There is plenty of housing to be had without a doubt. There are many projects around that are building more and more houses so you probably won't find it too difficult to find somewhere to live. However, with all town centres, prices of housing are high, especially as the price of a house has been booming of late. There are a number of out of town settlements popping up, which will probably offer cheaper housing though. If you have children, you will be more than interested in the state of the education system. Well the problem is that if you look at league tables, the schools don't appear to be doing too well. However, there are some public schools like Bedford Modern and Dame Alice, (a girl’s school) which are exceptional educational facilities. There is also three De Monfort College campuses’ around the town so the education service in Bedford certainly offers choice as to where you want your children to study. Transport links are excellent in Bedford. There is a competent bus service that runs all around the county at regular times during the day. You will also find that the rail links are very good as well, as Bedford is a main station on route to London and onto Brighton, so for commuters, this is a massive plus point, baring in mind that Bedford is only fifty miles away from the capital. Road links are also excellent with the M1 easily in reach so getting to places like Milton Keynes and Birmingham is not a round about trip. With its location, i.e. quite close to Birmingham, and very near to London, you probably won't find it much of a problem to get to your chosen destination. Do bear in mind though that the train station and especially the Bus station are horrible places that are dirty, and you do often get some rather bizarre people hanging around them. I will finish with healthcare. I am not entering this debate, so I will stop at saying that there is a hospital and numerous doctors’ surgeries around. So as it is, you can see that Bedford has a lot of facilities and attractions to offer a person who wants to visit or live in Bedford. However, on too many occasions you have to question the quality of these attractions. Add to the fact that although the authorities have tried to clean the place up, you still get a lot of litter making the place look dirty, and to be honest the town does have some area's that y ou are not advised to visit at night. This is the truth about the town and having lived three miles from the town for all my life, you have to trust what I tell you. This is an insider's view as it were. I thank you for reading my opinion, and I hope it was of some help to people looking for somewhere to visit. I welcome comments on the opinion as per usual.
Bedford hit the National headlines recently, with that horrific photograph of the bodies in the Hospital Chapel. The story ran all week and the Spotlight was most definitely turned on the historic County Town – for all the wrong reasons. But Bedford isn’t all bad – honest! It has become and extremely cosmopolitan town with a large Italian community as well as areas like Queens Park, where Asian and West Indian ethnicities dominate. Add to this a Polish and Slav ‘enclave’ and a number of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, you can see that modern day Bedford definitely has an international flavour to it. This is reflected – as you might expect – in the Restaurants in the town. Whatever happened to the good old English Restaurant? Ah you say, did we have any? Well Bedford’s culinary delights include a host of excellent Italian eateries, Greek Tavernas, plus a cornucopiea of Indian, Chinese and ethic establishments Without doubt, Bedford’s most famous son is 17th Century Puritan preacher and author of ‘Pilgrims Progess’, John Bunyan. Born just outside the town boundary in the parish of Elstow, Bunyan served 12 years in Bedford Prison for his religious beliefs and teachings, during the reign of Charles II. The legacy of his work lives on throughout the world and in the Town today his name adorns the ‘Bunyan Museum’, ‘Bunyan Meeting’ church rooms and even the‘Bunyan Sports Centre’ bears his name. And with that seemless link, I give you – Bedford’s Sporting heroes. The Sydney Olympics saw two of Bedford’s finest come to the fore. Who can forget that fantastic rowing Gold medal won by our ‘oarsome foursome’ led by Super Sir Steve Redgrave? But wait, Bedford’s own Tim Foster was a key member of the crew. A long time member of the Town’s ‘Star Club’, Foster was in his second Olympics, but this achievement eclipses any other in his career. And he’s a nice, modest guy too. Athlete Paula Radcliffe just missed out on a 10000 metres medal – coming 4th in the final after leading most of the way. Paula – a member of Bedford & County Athletics Club and a former pupil at Sharnbrook Upper, north of the town – is established as Britain’s top female distance runner. She recently signed up with Nike to the tune of a reputed £600,000 sponsorship package! Money has definitely dogged the town’s Rugby club in recent seasons. Bedford RFC – the Blues - were one of the sport’s ‘juggernauts’ during the 1970s, Their finest hour coming in 1975 when they lifted the Rugby Knock Out Cup (now the Tetley Bitter Cup), beating Rosslyn Park at Twickenham 28-12. With the advent of professional rugby, the club has been ‘on the brink’ since a disasterous takeover by Boxing promoter Frank Warren, followed by an even worse tenure in the hands of a Sports Management company almost saw the club out of business. Now in Division 2 and able to keep their heads above water, the ‘Blues’ are still in the top 15 or so top clubs in England. Giant killing was the name of the game for another of Bedford’s sports club. The ‘Eagles’ - Bedford Town FC - made a habit of upsetting the odds during the 1950s and 60s. Defeating Norwich City, Watford, Brighton amongst others in the FA Cup, but they made the headlines when in 1955/6 they held the mighty Arsenal to a 2-2 draw and just went down 2-1 in the replay. The club folded in 1982 as their ground, The Eyrie’ was sold. But a new club has risen from the ashes and continues to rise through the footballing ‘pyramid’. Currently in Division One of the Ryman League and looking good bets for promotion, the new ‘Eagles’ could yet fly to heights not reached by their predecessors The town also b oasts three highly regarded Public Schools in Bedford School itself, Dame Alice Harpur (for girls) and Bedford Modern. All of these schools produce top level academic results, plus a host of talented sports players. Both of the Boys public schools compete against the very best at Cricket and regularly provide players who go on to play senior Minor Counties level with Beds or progress to the First class game at neighbours Northanmptonshire. Add to this Bedford College and the de Montfort University campus (one of the top centres for P.E studies in this country), you can see this is also a place that the learned can thrive. The Town centre is attractive with the Great River Ouse running though it. Tree lined, the banks of the river can make an excellent summer’s stroll or you could use your time in meandering through the town’s many parks, enjoying the floral displays. If Shopping is your ‘bag’, then in Bedford it is plentiful. Maybe not quite as exciting as in the large mega Shopping Centres that abound in or outside the big cities. The Harpur Centre and surrounding areas, house the usual High Street names, Littlewoods, Woolworths, Marks & Spencers, Next etc, with the added attraction of a Market on both Wednesday and Saturdays. Specialist electrical, craft, photographic shops and boutiques can be found as you wander around the largely pedestrianised precinct. Plenty of watering holes too in the town centre area with the ‘trendy’ club bars like Yates’, a huge Wetherspoons’ aptly named the ‘Pilgrims Progress’, coffee bars and bistros just by the main shopping areas. Bedford is as thriving a town as there is in the area, housing around 150,000 people and a centre of industry and commerce for nearby Bucks, Cambs, Herts and Northants. As a centre to discover the area, Bedford would be an excellent choice. Cheaper to stay in that the likes of Cambridge, but just a 30 miles journey away from that legendary seat of learning. Plus the beautiful tranquil Bedfordshire countryside to discover. Loads of picture postcard villages and established tourist attractions like Woburn Abbey, Althrop House (Princess Diana’s family home)and Luton Hoo all within easy reach. So like I said, Bedford is not all bad – far from it. Take a look.
I live in the county of Bedfordshire & although not in the county town of Bedford itself I occasionally visit. My main gripe with Bedford is that it needs to clean up its act. As it is the county town I think it has somewhat of a reputation to uphold and quite frankly, it is not doing that. There are nice parts to visit in the town, but there are too many parts that need cleaning up. Considering that it was being considered as a tourist town, the planners should be looking at what they can do to improve Bedford's image. At the moment, the main attractions such as the riverside etc., are being overshadowed by the dingier parts of the town that no-one likes to walk through after dark. Of course many, many towns and cities have this problem I realise, but if Bedford wants to be thought of as somewhere overseas visitors would like to put at the top of their list for visiting then it needs to get it's act together!