Museums & galleries
The Higgins Bedford
Castle Lane, Bedford, MK40 3XD
Tel. 01234 718618
The Higgins Bedford re-opened on 21st June 2013, the longest day of the year, with a Dawn til Dusk celebration.
The art gallery and museum has recently been transformed in a £5.8m redevelopment, which has increased temporary exhibition space and united three cultural venues on one site: Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford Museum and Bedford Gallery.
The opening of The Higgins Bedford provides the finishing touch to the magnificent Cultural Quarter. The opening will further boost regeneration which has already seen the exposure and interpretation of archaeology in the grounds of Bedford Castle, and newly opened restaurants, bars and shops adding to the vibrant atmosphere.
John Bunyan Museum
Mill Street, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK40 3EU
Tel. 01234 270303
The John Bunyan Museum tells the story of John Bunyan (1628 -1688), the renowned author, pastor and preacher. Visitors to the museum are able to take a walk through Bunyan’s life and times. See 17th Century Bedford, hear Bunyan tell his story and visit him in prison. There are lots of family friendly trails to help visitors explore the museum, including a photo-trail and quiz.
The Pilgrim's Progress, his most famous work, has been translated into over 200 languages, many examples of which can be seen in the museum. The museum showcases some of the objects owned and used by Bunyan from the anvil he used as a tinker, to the jug believed to have been used by Bunyan’s blind daughter to take ale or soup to her father in prison.
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 11.00am - 4.00pm
March to end October
Rock City Art
26 Castle Lane, Bedford MK40 3US
Tel. 01234 910448
Dedicated music photography gallery selling and exhibiting limited edition photography from the last 5 decades.
Full credit card facilities to purchase the display artworks in the gallery, as well as books and photography.
Educational courses in photography and lighting techniques.
The South Bank Arts Centre
Bedford College, Cauldwell Street, Bedford
Tel. 01234 291415
The South Bank Arts Centre houses the College’s gallery and theatre. It is also a first class teaching facility and arts hub with up-to-date industry standard media and music suites including TV and recording studios with all the latest equipment. Many of these facilities are available for hire.
The art gallery showcases inspiring and contemporary work by staff, students, local artists and external practitioners and our exciting programme of work covers a wide range of disciplines that include graphics, painting, installation and textiles. The gallery space is open to the public during College open hours and has a Costa Coffee bar allowing you to relax and take in the surrounding artwork.
The Panacea Museum
9 Newnham Road, Bedford MK40 3NX
Tel. 01234 353178
This museum tells the story of the Panacea Society – a remarkable religious community formed in the early twentieth century. The Society was founded in 1919 by Mabel Barltrop, a 53-year-old widow who lived in Bedford.
The Panacea Museum is in ‘Castleside’, a beautiful Victorian house that was part of the community’s headquarters. It tells the story of the Panacea Society and other similar religious groups. The museum also incorporates several other buildings, set within the gardens, that formed the original community’s ‘campus’.
Groups of eight or more people can visit the museum for a private tour by prior appointment on any weekday. A tour of the whole site takes between one and two hours and can be tailored to meet the needs of your group. In addition, the museum offers customised tours and activities for education groups, art groups and local history groups.
Please contact the museum for information at email@example.com. Group tours and activities are free of charge.
The museum has a small café which serves tea, coffee, soft drinks and a selection of cakes and snacks.
General Opening Hours
Museum and Gardens
Open February half term to October half term
Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 10.00am – 4.00pm
April - September
Monday - Wednesday from 10.00am – 4.00pm.
The Panacea Art Exhibition takes place July 16th to October 2015. Paintings and Drawings collected by Members of the Panacea Society.
Or visit tp see the Panacea at Play, an exhibition exploring the parties and plays staged by the Panacea community between 1929 and 1932.
Bedford Creative Arts.
I-Create Studios, 104 Midland Road, Bedford MK40 1QE
Tel. 01234 273 580
Bedford Creative Arts is a contemporary arts charity. They deliver a programme of artist commissions and residencies, events, projects, and workshops that cater for a wide audience and provide new opportunities for artists.
Cardington Airship Hangers
“It may be seen as rather a simple fact, but before you build an airship, you need somewhere to build it in. This is the main factor, which dictates the design and size considerations of an airship. The simple fact is that the size of the ship is dependent on the size of the shed it is built in.
Today, the two Cardington Sheds can be seen dominating the skyline for many many miles around.”
The Glenn Miller Museum
Twinwood Road, Bedford, MK41 6AB
Tel. 01234 350413
Twinwood Control Tower has been meticulously restored, and now houses the museum in honour of the band-leader, who took his ill-fated last flight from this air base. Downstairs is an audio and visual exhibition dedicated to Glenn Miller. Also an RAF room, and an aviation art gallery.
Old Warden Aerodrome & Park, Biggleswade
Tel. 01767 627950
Eight hangars housing approximately 40 aircraft dating from 1909 to 1942. Vintage and veteran cars, motorcycles, bicycle and carriages. During thesummer months most of the exhibits are shown off during the regular flying displays. Also here is The SwissGarden, which takes you back to the early 19th century, when an interest in ornamental gardening and picturesque architecture first came together; and the Birds of Prey Centre with its collection of some 300 birds.