Skip to content

Summer in Bedford

We’re excited to welcome visitors from across the UK to Bedford town centre this summer to enjoy the fun at the River Festival and Bedford Festival of Motoring – it’s going to be awesome! There’s lots more to do over the summer holidays and we’re delighted to signpost families to businesses, events, activities and places to eat and drink that will make the summer fun for everyone!

Bedford River Festival cartoon map of locations
Bedford River Festival and Bedford Motoring Festival

Come and enjoy this wonderful free family event over the weekend of Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st July.

Animal Safari Day Image with an elephant a lion, monkey and parrot.
Bedford Animal Safari Trail

Coming soon!

Lego Day promo image with the words Lego Day and coloured lego in the background.
Lego Day

Coming soon!

The Higgins Museum

Visit The Higgins Museum and Art Gallery for free children’s activities over the summer holidays such as Sunday Crafternoons and the Puggle Club. Plus you’ll find wonderful art galleries with world-class paintings. Entry to the museum is FREE! of charge.

Books on shelves surrounded by gifts in the John Bunyan Museum gift shop.
John Bunyan Museum

Visit the John Bunyan Museum to discover all about the life and times of Bedford’s own famous preacher John Bunyan. The museum is free to enter and shows what life was like in the 17th Century. Crafty Thursdays take place throughout the holidays. (£2)

Bedford Central Library

Bedford Library is a great place to bring the family and foster a love of reading. Visit the Library Cafe and treat the family to a delicious cake or a bite to eat! The Library runs Saturday Lego Club, Wednesday Crafternoons and Sunday Funday.

Bedford Central Library Summer Reading Challenge

Marvellous Makers is the theme for the Summer Reading Challenge 2024 at Bedford Borough Libraries. It runs from Saturday 13 July through to Saturday 7 September and promises to be a free and exciting programme designed to keep children aged four to eleven engaged with reading throughout the summer holidays.

Vue Cinema in Riverside

Mighty Mornings cost just £2.95 and run from 10am throughout the school holidays. They feature favourite movies and cartoons with a big screen experience. The latest blockbuster family friendly films run all day and are £1 cheaper if booked online. Parking is £1 in River Street car park when your token is validated.

The Quarry Theatre and Bedfringe

The Quarry Theatre is a small, cosy theatre that’s welcoming and a delight to visit with children. There are fantastic children’s theatre productions, workshops and classes and even a toddler’s event running through the summer. Check out Bedfringe, Bedford’s own Fringe Festival which takes place from 18th to 28th July.

John Bunyan Boat sailing on River Great Ouse
Take a ride on the John Bunyan Boat

The John Bunyan Community Boat cruises up and down the scenic River Great Ouse. There’s a wide variety of lovely family cruises to choose from including Eye Spy Cruises on a Tuesday afternoon and History Cruises too. There’s light refreshments available on board and toilet facilities. Or you can book a delicious afternoon tea cruise as a treat!

Harpur Centre Kids’ Club

Once a month the Kids’ Club takes place in the Harpur Centre Basement. There’s always a great theme to each event and it’s FREE! The Club takes place from 10am to 4pm and is suitable for ages 3 to 15 years.

Junior Parkour Classes

Recently opened in the Harpur Centre, Spiral Freerunning provide high quality educational and fun parkour sessions. Parkour is a sport which encourages physical and mental health and are dedicated to all, regardless of background. Classes are available from ages 6+.

Marvellous Minds Holiday Club

At Marvellous Minds in The Arcade, sign up for their English and maths based holiday club. Fun and immersive, children will be grouped with those of similar ages and activities will include arts, crafts, writing and quizzes.


At Smiggle you’ll find all sorts of goodies to keep busy minds active. From colouring and activity sets, fidget toys, kiddy tech, soft toys… the list goes on. Smiggle is located in the Harpur Centre so pop in – maybe before the holidays and you’ll be fully prepared!

The Works

The Works truly lives up to its name! Stocking books, toys, games, stationery, arts and crafts, plus gifts and giftwrap. You’ll also find stationery and office supplies. Perfect for older students who’ll perhaps be spending the summer revising and preparing for GCSE and A-Levels…….

WH Smith

WH Smith is another place to visit for busy hands and minds. Not to mention preparing for back-to-school!! Books (fiction and non-fiction), toys, games, jigsaws, stationery, DVDs, along with magazines for all interests.

Geek Retreat

Geek Retreat is a ‘geek culture’ gaming cafe and events hub, sharing love for all things geeky. From games and superhero movies, sci-fi and more. Find all of this plus food, snacks and drinks at Geek Retreat Bedford in the Harpur Centre.


At B&M you’ll find games and toys for kids of all ages, including, of course, the young at heart. There is plenty of fun to be had by everyone, with pools, adventure sets, games, tents, bicycles and more! Not forgetting picnic rugs, bags and kits for those long summer days…

Close Encounters

Close Encounters stocks comics, graphic books, games, storage and action figures. You’ll also find comics from as Marvel, DC, Manga and Image. There are also signed copies as well as merchandise – including their very own Close Encounters Tote Bag.

What’s on this week?

All Events