Bedford is currently served by two train stations, Bedford St Johns and Bedford railway station, the latter of which is the largest and most commonly used. A popular route for travellers is to take the train from London St Pancras to Bedford. Trains are frequent and the average journey time is around 51 minutes, making it a convenient trip for travellers from the capital. Please note that the journey time will increase or decrease depending on which company you travel with. For example, Thameslink trains are considerably slower as they are primarily commuter services. Alternatively, the East Midlands Train only stops at a couple of stations between Bedford and London, speeding up your overall travel time. You can also travel from Gatwick Airport to Bedford, making it very convenient for those looking for an alternative route home from a busy airport.
Public transport in Bedford
Bedford is served by a variety of public transportation options, including buses, taxis and a few bicycle hire points. The town’s relatively compact nature makes it a great destination for walking around, however, if you’re going to be travelling to the more rural parts it is a good idea to plan your transportation ahead of time. Bedford isn’t a town known for its faultless public transport, so if you’re used to London’s ridiculously good bus service, you might find Bedford to be a little inefficient.
Getting around Bedford by bus is a possibility, but as previously mentioned most of Bedford’s main sights and attractions are easily accessible by foot. However, if walking isn’t an option you will find that the majority of bus stations are concentrated outside the Bedford railway station and the dedicated bus depot located in the centre of town. Prices can be a tad pricey and they vary depending on the company, though it’s balanced out when journeying into the nearby rural villages.
Taxi services are available throughout Bedford. However, it must be said that long queues often form outside the few available vehicles at the town centre taxi ranks. With this in mind, it is usually best to pre-book a licenced mini-cab as they are generally cheaper and faster. Uber presents a consistently good option thanks to the overall lower fees and convenience. For some travellers, hiring a car is a true way to gain autonomy over your visit and Bedford hosts a number of car rental agencies. Being able to explore the rural landscape at your own leisure is definitely worth hiring a car for.
It is possible to hire a bicycle in Bedford, but it’s not akin to somewhere like London. It is well worth the effort though, especially if you are a keen cyclist, to begin with as Bedford truly is a wonderful town to explore on two wheels. Take the time to ride through the parks and enjoy the quaint scenery at your own leisure or choose one of several bike trails for a cardio workout or to see the sights that way. There are short trails that are about 1-2 miles and long trails that reach almost to 12 miles. The choice is yours!
Bedford does have one rather novel means of transportation that any visitor in the summer should use a boat. For a small fee, you can hire one from a rental venue on Priory Lake. Other boating options include a ride on the Artful Dodger, found at the Danish Camp Visitor Centre which offers a cruise on the River Great Ouse and lasts about two and a half hours with refreshments, including a licensed bar. It is also possible to hire a boat for private use for a maximum of four adults, or two adults with four children. The other option is the Bedford Community Boat, used primarily by community groups and local schools, but which runs regular trips for the public. Choose between four different cruises, lasting from two to four hours, with family price tickets ranging from £25 and £35.
Things to do in Bedford
In Bedford, you’ll find a wealth of activities suitable for everyone and easily accessible by foot. From the Bedford railway station, walk 15 minutes due west until you get to the river, flanked by a wonderful walking path. The path offers connecting routes to the town centre and gives you access to some of Bedford’s unique landmarks. These include the Panacea Museum, a Victorian-era home, and the historic site of the 11th century Bedford Castle. Nowadays the site is more of a mound than a castle, but the history behind the once formidable fortress is fascinating and well worth an inclusion on any itinerary. When you’re feeling peckish, you can find fine dining, Tudor-style pubs, even Asian cuisine along Bedford’s riverside.
When booking a hotel in Bedford, consider choosing one of the establishments overlooking the beautiful River Great Ouse. A number of these hotels provide excellent amenities, top dining and luxury spa facilities to boot. If you prefer the peace and quiet, you can choose to stay in suburban Bedford, where you’ll find quaint B&B’s and small hotels. Conversely, there are of course larger chain hotels with a more central location for easy and convenient access to the beauty that is Bedford. For a family-friendly trip with sophisticated entertainment, visit Bedford with Trainline and save on your rail tickets today.