Museums & Galleries

306th Bombardment Group Museum

On entering the Museum visitors are greeted by both air and ground crews, along with the workhorse of those times, a 1942 Jeep.

The displays are a collection of memorabilia and photographs from the World War II airfield based in Thurleigh, Bedford. They are complemented by almost 40 mannequins dressed with uniforms or clothing of the period. The 306th are commemorated by a large collection of memorabilia, photographs and appropriate layouts including a G.I bride scene. Other displays feature the Royal Air Force, the wartime home, Home Guard and Women's Land Army. Wartime sights and sounds are recaptured and unique to this type of Museum, there is a small area set aside for quiet reflection, containing a Remembrance Book to all the young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. The building itself is of interest being one of the few remaining on the original airfield built during World War 2.

The museum is open every weekend and bank holiday from March to October. At any other time by prior arrangement.

Bedford Autodrome,Thurleigh Airfield Business Park, Thurleigh, Bedfordshire, MK44 2YP
Thurleigh, Bedford MK44 1QU | Tel 01234 708715 |

Cowper & Newton Museum

Visit the house in Olney where one of England’s favourite poets William Cowper lived for twenty years, and imagine domestic life as he experienced it in late-Georgian times. Enjoy his tranquil and historic gardens and the celebrated summer-house where he wrote, and where he used to meet his neighbour, the preacher and former slave trader John Newton, author of the hymn Amazing Grace.’

Orchard Side, Market Place, Olney MK46 4AJ Tel 01234 711516 

Elstow Moot Hall Museum

Step into the world of John Bunyan when you visit this delightful 15th century timber-framed market hall, set on the village green, in the centre of the delightful village of Elstow. The Moot Hall was originally built to serve Elstow Abbey as a market house but is now a museum.

209 Church End, Elstow MK42 9XT Email

Glenn Miller Museum

Twinwood Airfield was a WWII training airfield. During the war many famous entertainers of the era used RAF Twinwood to fly from, because it was the closest airfield to Bedford – the secret headquarters of the BBC during WWII. It was from RAF Twinwood, that Glenn Miller, the legendary WWII bandleader boarded the plane that mysteriously disappeared, sparking a mystery that has fascinated the world ever since. The old airfield lay dormant for decades until the present owners decided to restore crumbling buildings and create a lasting memory to Glenn Miller and those RAF personnel who served at RAF Twinwood.

The Glenn Miller Museum, Twinwood Events Ltd, Twinwood Road, Clapham, Bedfordshire, MK41 6AB

 John Bunyan Museum

This museum tells the story of the Bedford man who wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress, one of the greatest novels in the English language. During his remarkable life Bunyan was a soldier, tinker, preacher and dissenter, spending 12 years in Bedford prison for illegal preaching. Museum visitors walk through Bunyan’s life and times; see 17th Century Bedford, hear Bunyan tell his story, and visit him in prison. Family friendly trails are available to help children explore the museum.

Bunyan Meeting church was built in 1850, and stands on the site of Bunyan’s original church where he was minister from 1671 to 1688. Scenes from The Pilgrim’s Progress can be found on the bronze entrance doors and stunning stained glass windows.

Mill Street, Bedford MK40 3EU Tel 01234 270303

Panacea Museum

The Panacea Museum tells the story of the Panacea Society – a remarkable religious community formed in the early twentieth century.

The Society was founded in 1919 by Mabel Barltrop, a 53-year-old widow who lived in Bedford and for 90 years, members of the society quietly lived, worked and worshipped God in their community.

The Panacea Museum is in 'Castleside', a beautiful Victorian house that was part of the community's headquarters.

9 Newnham Road, Bedford MK40 3NX Tel 01234 353178

The Higgins

The Higgins Bedford reopened in June 2013 after a major redevelopment project uniting three previous cultural venues on one site: Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford Museum and Bedford Gallery.
The buildings themselves date back 200 years and have their own rich history of occupation and use, even before they became used for their more recent cultural past. The Gallery showcases wonderful and varied collections including the Cecil Higgins Collection of fine and decorative arts, with its world-class watercolour and print collections and unique groups of work by the designers William Burges and Edward Bawden. The museum itself explores the inspiring stories of local people and encourages a ‘sense of place’ for Bedford and the surrounding area. Using collections of archaeology, social history and ethnography, The Higgins Bedford shows how the town of Bedford has developed.

Castle Lane, Bedford MK40 3XD Tel 01234 718618

 Twinwood Aviation Museum

The Twinwood Aviation Museum holds a large collection of RAF and USAAF uniforms and equipment, along with artefacts
recovered from German and Allied aircraft crash sites. The museum also has exhibits dedicated to fighter groups
such as the "Night Fighter" training unit that was based here, and the 339th Fighter Group, 8th USAAF.
Other exhibits include walk-in reconstructions of wartime shops and houses, and other items illustrating the more personal
aspects of our aviation history and the "Home Front", giving the visitor an insight into the horrors and hardship faced
by the families at home. Take a peek into the 1940's house and be transported back to a typical family home during the war.
RAF Twinwood Farm Airfield Bedford MK41 6AB Tel: 07914 093552 or 07914 093553

Eagle Gallery

Situated in the vibrant Castle Road quarter of Bedford, a short walk from the town centre. With the initial idea and the continuous support of the Eagle Bookshop owner Peter Budek the gallery celebrated its 12th birthday last year. The gallery is unique in the region, being run by a non-profit making collective of artists from Bedfordshire and neighbouring counties who are directly involved in all aspects of the gallery. We exhibit and sell only original artworks covering a wide range of work: paintings, printmaking, collage, ceramics, textiles, stone carving, jewellery, sculpture and photography. A new exhibition is put up every month with eight solo or small group one-week shows during the year. In May/June 2018 the Eagle Gallery is organizing an open studio event under the title “How do we do it”; the event includes demonstrations and talks by artists as well as outside studio visits

101 Castle Road, Bedford MK40 3QP Tel 01234 346995