‘It’s time to go to Bedford’ may just be the only sentence containing the phrase ‘it’s time to go to bed’ that can generate actual excitement and enthusiasm in your kids. It’s a minor miracle. Indeed, this historic market town in Bedfordshire has a lot to offer. Reliable as ever, the experts (that’s us, here at Plum Guide) are on hand to give you the lowdown on the best things to do in Bedford with kids. We’ve been doing this for a while now and, along with our expert knowledge and guidance, we also have a marvellous selection of hand-picked homes on offer. You can start your search for homes in the UK today.
Take a trip to Priory Country Park
Priory Country Park, Bedford, UK
First on the list, we all know that those wide, open green spaces are a godsend. Sometimes, the little ones just need to run and let off steam. Priory Country Park is a great choice. With the Great River Ouse flowing through, there are 360 acres of luscious lakes, meadows and woodland that guarantee your kids will run out of breath before they run out of places to explore. This place is a favourite for dog walkers and families. Don’t be surprised to see otters, squirrels, herons, ducks (don’t forget the bread) and plenty of other birds. There’s also the ‘Cloverdale Retreat’ - a lovely coffee house offering up a much-needed caffeine hit to keep you going, as well as plenty of treats for the kids.
Visit the Higgins Art Gallery and Museum
If you’re looking for things to do in Bedford with kids, a museum is always going to be welcome. Cue the Higgins Art Gallery and Museum. While the watercolours and exhibitions praising architectural elements (leave that to us) may prove too yawn-inducing for the younger ones, there is enough here to keep them entertained for a rainy afternoon. One of the exhibits takes you all the way back to Bedford during prehistoric times - just like Jurassic Park, but a little more tame. If the dinosaurs won’t cut it, there are also plenty of arts and crafts events held here throughout the year.
Enjoy a day at Herring Green Activity Farm
If the dinosaurs at Higgins weren’t enough, how about birds of prey? Just outside the town centre, you'll find Herring Green Activity Farm. Here, you can get up close and friendly with falcons, owls, hawks and eagles. There’s an abundance of things to do throughout their daily programme including ‘pat a pet’ (getting to play with rabbits and the like), flying displays, tractor rides, the critter show (zooming in on bugs and insects) and an alpaca meet and greet. Just reading through this list is exhausting.
There’s even an archery session which, on second thought, may not be the best idea. If you are in need of a respite and break from the madness, there are the tea rooms and other amenities that can make for a very pleasant lunch. All in all, it’s a top day out that’s guaranteed to thrill kids of all ages.
Partake in indoor activities
Raining? That’s the problem with the UK isn’t it. There’s a lot of that. But not to worry - Bedford has plenty of indoor activities on offer. Alongside the Higgins Art Gallery and Museum, there are two cinemas that will no doubt be showing the latest Pixar hit with a bucket-load of popcorn (sweet or salty?), as well as a shopping mall with all your necessary and familiar high street favourites. How long they can bear being dragged around the shops we’ll leave up to you. As a bargaining tool, why not leverage two hours of shopping with a trip to the Oasis beach pool? Located right in the heart of Bedford, this leisure pool guarantees hours of fun with a large pool, two flumes, a wave machine and bubbles.
Take the family to Woburn Safari Park
Lionness at Woburn Safari Park, Bedford
If you fancy heading further afield, why not take a day trip to Woburn Safari Park? Just a 25 minute drive from Bedford, it’s not far enough for the ‘are we there yet’ comments to kick in. Here, you can drive your car through sweeping parkland reserves on your very own safari. You’ll find all kinds of animals including Berlinga the Macaque (does fancy windscreen wipers from time to time), Mirijam the Southern White Rhino, Casper the Giraffe and Mishka the Tiger. Doors locked please.
Alongside the safari, you’ve got plenty of outdoor play areas for the kids to let off steam. Rest assured, these are well separated from the lion enclosures. There’s also the opportunity to ride the miniature train, as well as dragon boats on the lake. Still got energy left in the tank? Woburn is also the site of a Go Ape Center. Swing and zipline your way through the canopy, just like the monkeys you saw on your safari adventure. We’re pretty sure they’ll sleep well after this one.
Catch a ride at the Leighton Buzzard Railway
Last up on our list of things to do in Bedford with kids, Leighton Buzzard Railway. This heritage narrow-gauge steam railway is about a 40 minute drive from Bedford so the ‘are we there yet’ comments are a potential risk here. However, should you make it, you’ll be treated to a thoroughly enjoyable train ride. As the little steam engines chug along, you can watch some of Bedfordshire’s finest scenery roll by. Look out for special events over Easter and the Summer holidays, including a visit from Thomas and friends. He gets around doesn’t he?