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Top places to live in Bedfordshire Bedford

There's a huge buzz around Bedford right now. And it's not surprising, this riverside gem is packed full of independents and gorgeously grand red brick properties and terraces. Aaaand, there's a super jolly annual river festival. Cute, right? Top 200 Places to Live series.

Bedford

WHY?

At one point Bedford wasn’t even an option, but this pretty town, built around the River Ouse, has seen its star rise stratospherically in recent years – so get in on it while you can. Characterful winding back streets, arcades with independent shops and perfectly positioned riverside eateries are the order of the day. Oh, and the commute is pretty good, and the house prices still very reasonable. Sold?

EAT

Gosh, where to start!  For coffee with a twist, there’s Coffee with Art, or the quirky town favourite – the Coffee House. There’s a great craft beer scene, too, so you could try the Bedford Brewhouse and Kitchen (with its own microbrewery), of Beerfly. For a smarter drink/cocktail there’s Bear and Tales. And for dinner there’s uber-hip Herd, the Fatcap Smokehouse, or for something with a bit more spice, Thali and Tandoor is a good option. And we mustn’t forget the riverside – for a chilled rosé and fine dining on the river, it’s got to be Pen & Cob.

SHOP

Independents are the name of the game in Bedford. A few examples include Slide Records, Rogans Books, Made in Bedford at Number 13. High-end menswear store Maysons is a winner, as is delightful boutique Epanoui. And for the gourmands? Clarke Butchers, The Blue Glass Wine Merchants and La Rondine bakery are worth checking out. There are also great markets: Bedford Farmers Market (twice a month), the Gourmet Market (every Thursday), and the quirky Handmade in Bedford Market, on the 1st Saturday of each month.

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

The Higgins, a sort of slick historical and community learning hub and exhibition space is housed in buildings previously used as a brewery, exhibition space and museum. There are still exhibits, but also now great initiatives, such as art classes, talks and children’s activities. 

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE

You can purchase wonderfully grand mansions at very good prices for the county, with well positioned, Victorian terraces (often ‘do-er uppers’) UNDER £500k, Bedford sure is a bargain. For more great local properties, check out Artistry Property Agents and Fine & Country.

HOT PROPERTY

SCHOOLS

Independents include the fantastic Bedford Girls’ School (prep & senior), Bedford School (boys prep & senior); Rushmoor School, St Andrews School (co-ed prep, girls senior) , Pilgrims Pre-Prep,  Bedford Modern (co-ed prep & senior) and Polam (nursery & prep to 9-years-old).

BEST KEPT SECRET

Thousands of people descend on the town for the annual River Festival, complete with live entertainment, family friendly activities, dragon boat racing, and more bunting and communal cheer than you can shake a pint of cider at.

COMMUTE

56.5 miles. Trains take 50 minutes to an hour from Bedford to St Pancras.

View the full Top 200 Best Places to Live

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