Trains to Bedford
Take a train to Bedford, a historic market town in the heart of England. Discover a town that weaves its rich history, shaped by the river, from the Normans to the Georgians, with a thriving cultural scene and modern-day appeal.
Culture and heritage
From its earliest days to the present moment, Bedford’s historical heritage deeply shapes the essence of the town.
In the early Middle Ages, Bedford thrived as a crucial market town, supporting its surroundings. Its history, influenced by the River Great Ouse, included a bustling inland port for wool and lace trades. Brewing, championed by Higgins & Sons Brewery and Wells & Co 's Eagle Brewery, began in the Victorian era and continues in the modern Brewpoint brewhouse and tap room in the north of town. The 1900s brought the brickworks industry, welcoming Italian immigrants.
Discover history at River Street and St Paul’s Church , the believed burial site of 1st-century King Offa. Wander along Castle Lane to the remaining mound of 12th-century Bedford Castle.
Bedford’s rich heritage shines through at The Higgins Bedford bringing together the Cecil Higgins Museum and Bedford Museum in the historic Castle Brewery, telling the history of brewing and offering fascinating insights into the town.
Learn about John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, in the Bunyan Meeting Free Church built in 1850.
The wartime Twinwood Aviation and Glenn Miller Museums are worth the trip outside town (open Sundays only) to understand Bedford's role in World War II.
Bedford is a charming town with a rich history and plenty of things to see and do, making it a great day out. Explore museums and learn about the town's past, or take a leisurely stroll through the many parks and gardens.
Make time to visit the award-winning Bedford Park , north of the town centre, with a lake, fountain, gardens and paths. Follow the tree trail, enjoy every type of sports pitch or court and visit its charming Pavilion Cafe .
By the river, walk or cycle along the tree-lined Victorian Embankment and cross the pedestrian Butterfly Bridge to Longholme boating lake or the bandstand.
To the east of town, don’t miss Priory Country Park alongside the River Great Ouse with its riverside trails, lakes, meadows and gardens. Expect plenty of family fun with rowing boats, fishing, woodland trails, a children's play area and a café. During the summer months, take a river cruise on the John Bunyan Boat departing from Priory Quay.
Make the most of your day out in Bedford with a walking tour from Bedford Tour Guides, guaranteed to show you the vivid history of the town.
For local history, visit The Higgins Bedford museum in the heart of town, uncover captivating displays spanning Celts and Romans to brewing and World War II.
Food and drink
Indulge in Bedford’s delicious food and drink scene with traditional pubs to charming tearooms, from local treats to international cuisine offering a spectrum of dining experiences.
Reportedly where afternoon tea originated in the 1840s, Bedford offers a taste of history. Enjoy homemade soup or coffee with cake at Cloverdale Retreat café overlooking the lake in Priory Country Park. For classic charm, try Anna’s Tea Room at the Swan Hotel for an elegant afternoon tea.
Bordering the river, Riverside Bedford shopping area offers an inviting dining hub. Choose from well-known chains or support local with family-owned Turkish Mediterranean Olive Tree and the monthly pop-up Eat Feast street food market.
After working up an appetite, refuel at one of Bedford’s riverside pubs. For a traditional Sunday Roast, the Embankment wins hands down, or back in town try the more budget-friendly Brewhouse and Kitchen where you can catch the sport on screen all in one place.
Sports and outdoors
Bedford’s green spaces and waterways make it the perfect place to spend time enjoying outdoor activities.
The River Great Ouse is a focal point for outdoor activities. Walk along the riverside promenade taking in Russell Park, Mill Meadows and Embankment Gardens with the view of the Butterfly Bridge.
Cheer on crews from Bedford Rowing Club training on the river before taking to the water yourself with rowing lessons. Spend an afternoon paddling along with canoe and kayak rentals or try stand-up paddleboarding. Anglers can cast a line for pike, perch, chub, barbel and carp in the river’s waters.
Walkers and cyclists will love the picturesque Ouse Valley Walk, with a section of the 250-mile sea to source route running through Bedford. Bedford Borough Council provides walking and cycling guides for every level, so you can easily get your steps in.
Support local teams like Bedford Town FC and the Bedford Blues Rugby Club with four teams that compete at the Goldington Road ground. For running and other events, head to Bedford International Athletic Stadium . The site also doubles as a public leisure centre.
Swimmers have a choice of pools including Robinson’s in the heart of town.
Music and nightlife
Bedford's music and nightlife scene is a testament to its unique energy. Live performances, comedy clubs and local gigs resonate with the town's artistic spirit and set it apart from other destinations.
Known for its indie music scene, enjoy comedy nights and live music at Bedford Esquires , a renowned independent venue, or dance the night away to their resident and guest DJs.
Experience a wealth and breadth of entertainment at the Bedford Corn Exchange . Listen to original live music, laugh with celebrity comedians, marvel at psychics, cheer on wrestlers, and appreciate ballet and symphony orchestras.
Witness an equally diverse theatrical palette at The Quarry Theatre , from Shakespeare to interactive comedy dining experiences. For family-friendly shows, head to The Place . Catch imaginative productions from drama to musicals that will delight all ages.
Don’t miss Bedford River Festival , held every other July. Second only in size to Notting Hill Carnival as a free family event, it’s well worth the effort.
Within walking distance of Bedford station, mostly north of the river, the town centre is filled with traditional pubs. Check out The Rose , the oldest pub in Bedford, The George and Dragon or the vintage style The Wellington Arms.
Engage in retail therapy with a visit to Bedford's numerous arcades and markets, all within easy reach of the train station. From independent boutiques in delightful Edwardian shopping arcades to shopping centres with big retail brands, enjoy a fabulous diverse shopping experience.
From the station, head to pedestrianised Midland Road for big retail brands, then refuel at independent cafes like The Bedford at number 49.
Further on, The Harpur Centre’s 60 stores offer a range to please everyone from fashion to gifts, along with restaurants and a cinema.
A must-see is The Arcade , a beautiful, Edwardian ‘Crystal Palace’ housing independent boutiques, florists and art studios. It’s also home to Arcadia Sweetshop , the oldest shop in Bedford, as well as edgier ventures like Slide vinyl record shop, and Rewind retro merchandise shop with matching upstairs gaming arcade, perfect for entertaining teens.
Bedford Market , in St Paul’s Square, dates back to the 10th century, with market day on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Buzzing with farmers’ stalls offering tasty local produce as well as artisan makers, fashion and bric-a-brac, it is the cornerstone of Bedford’s identity.
Finally, if antiques and collectables are your thing, visit St Cuthberts Arcade , another box of creative retail delights.
Which train services run direct to Bedford?
LNR trains arrive and depart from Liverpool Lime Street station, as well as Liverpool South Parkway station. Liverpool Lime Street is the main station serving the city centre and is the key interchange point for travellers using the Merseyrail network.
The Merseyrail network consists of three lines: the Northern Line, Wirral Line, and City Line, which provide commuter rail services connecting various parts of the Liverpool City Region.
When is the best time to travel to Bedford by train?
Take the train to Bedford for a journey that is both comfy and convenient. Direct trains depart from Bletchley and take approximately 25 minutes. Prices start from just £6.50 one-way.
When is the best time to travel to Liverpool by train?
It’s wonderfully cheap and easy to travel to Bedford by train. By opting for off-peak times to travel, you’ll enjoy less-crowded trains and cheaper ticket prices too.