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Things to Do

Discover the captivating charm of Bedford! Our guide unveils an array of activities and attractions for any length of stay, from a day to a weekend or more. Be amazed by the delightful diversity Bedford offers, and stay informed with our Upcoming Events and News pages, or subscribe to our Newsletter for the latest updates. And visit our Summer in Bedford directory for a wonderful range of things to do over summer 2024!


To explore Bedford properly, it goes without saying that a map is a good idea! Our online BedfordBID map will help you find your way around town. And if you prefer to do it the old-fashioned way, our use-and-keep pocket maps are available from Bedford Central Library in Harpur Square, The Mercure Hotel on St Mary’s Street, Premier Inn at Riverside and The Higgins Bedford on Castle Lane.


Shopping in Bedford? Where do we start! This is when we hand it back to you. In our Business Directory you will find shops galore. Food and drink, fashion and clothing, health and wellbeing, for mind and body, tech galore, books and galleries. It’s all there – promise!!

Boutique Planet shop interior with dresses, clothes, shoes and accessories

Bedford Swan Hotel pan-fried fish with kale

Food & Drink

There can never be too many places to grab a bite, a coffee or hot drink, something yummy, a smoothie, glass of wine, a beer or a cocktail. Luckily there is a myriad of places to sit down or takeaway. Finding the perfect place starts here!


There are plenty of places in Bedford to have a pamper, with salons aplenty. Get yourself polished, buffed, painted, shaped and trimmed. And for any aches and pains, we have complementary therapists, masseurs, herbalists and Chinese medicine.

Bedford Swan Hotel & Thermal Spa spa pool and fountain

Higgins Museum original frontage, heritage timber and brickwork

Heritage & Culture

As you may have discovered already, Bedford dates back to 886. Which means there’s some serious history here. And which also means that there are churches, museums, historic houses and monuments, galleries and tours to celebrate how our town was put on the map.

Take a look at the floor mural on the pavement opposite Nandos near the traffic lights. Scan the QR code on the pink plaque next to it and follow prompts to crack codes along the High Street to be in with a chance of winning a £25 voucher.

The Vault Game painted onto Bedford High Street

A hand drawn map showing the Art's Trail in Bedford town centre.

Hit the Bedford Arts Trail

Bedford has long been a town of art, history, free thinkers, musicians, so as you would expect, it is packed with tours, exhibitions, displays and events reflecting this. Bedford Arts Trail, created by Jo Spyropoulos and sponsored by The Eagle Gallery, is a beautifully illustrated and comprehensive map all of our galleries, bookshops, museums, monuments, theatres and special places which make up our cultural mix. Dotted in between are cafes, restaurants, and shops to make your tour of Bedford a complete one.