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
Ampthill Micro Museum
Possibly the smallest museum in the world, Ampthill micro museum takes you through 1,000 years of history. From Norman times to the modern day, journey through a small town's massive history. The walls show a floor to ceiling timeline from Saxon times to present day.
The Ampthill Roll of Honour is displayed on the side of the building outside.
Monday – Friday 10am to 5pm
Saturday 10am to 4pm
1 Bedford Street (above Ampthill Fireplaces), Ampthill, Bedfordshire MK45 2LU
Tel: 01525 841199
Bromham Mill & Gallery
The present mill is a late 18th or early 19th century rebuilding in brick, timber and stone on the site of earlier mills. It had two waterwheels, however only one remains and was restored in 1980.
The site is available for group guided tours, baking lessons and craft activities. There is a meadow and picnic area and cycling and walking routes.
The onsite café sells fresh coffee and home-made cakes and there is a vibrant monthly market selling Artisan Food, Crafts and more on the first Saturday of the month 10am to 3pm from March to December.
There is also a whole host of events throughout the year including photographic exhibitions and folk music concerts.
Bromham Mill and Gallery, Bridge End, Bromham, Bedford MK43 8LP Tel: 01234 824330
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
The Eagle Gallery are delighted to announce it has now opened at their new premises. At the heart of Bedford’s town centre, nestled between the Eagle Bookshop and the Quarry theatre, and only a stone throw away for the High Street, the Gallery now joins the exciting expanding cultural quarter of Bedford.
Welcoming and vibrant, the Eagle Gallery is unique in the region, being run by a non-profit making collective of 45 local artists, who are all directly involved in all aspect of the running the gallery. Now in its fifteenth year, the gallery takes great pride in exhibiting and selling only original artwork. The collective includes award winning and internationally renowned artists as well as nurturing fresh talent in the community.
Embracing a wide range of artistic styles and practices, the gallery exhibits painting, prints, photography, mixed media, jewellery, textiles, ceramics and more. No two visits are the same as every day will see different artists in the shop, available to talk to visitors about their work and offering a fresh perspective on whatever is currently on show. Exhibitions change every month with up to eight solo or group one-week shows in the year.
Tuesday – Saturday 10am to 5.30pm
Sundays 11am – 3pm
20 St. Peter’s Street, Bedford MK40 2NN Tel: 01234 327571
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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. It contains collections of 17th century furniture and artefacts to demonstrate how people lived their lives during the 1600s.
There is a beautiful green outside the museum and picnics are welcome.
Open April – October Saturdays & Bank Holidays 1pm – 4pm
209 Church End, Elstow MK42 9XT Tel: 01234 266889 Email Moot.Hall@bedford.gov.uk
John Bunyan Museum & Library
This museum tells the story of the humble 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.
Explore Bunyan’s life and times; see 17th Century Bedford, hear Bunyan tell his story, and discover more about how one man’s story touched the world. With family trails, holiday activities, and exhibitions there is plenty to see and do.
See the artwork at the Basement at Bunyan Gallery, with a programme of community art exhibitions and workshops.
Visit Bunyan Meeting church, built in 1850 it 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.
Tuesday to Saturday from 11am – 4pm February until the end of October (closed on Good Friday)
Saturdays only November and January. Closed December.
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For more details contact the Curator, Nicola Sherhod
Tel: 01234 270303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bunyan Meeting, Mill Street, Bedford MK40 3EU
The museum tells the extraordinary story of the Panacea Society, a remarkable religious community founded in Bedford in the early twentieth century by Mabel Barltrop. For 90 years, members of the Society quietly lived, worked and worshipped God. Although they took care to reveal little about themselves to outsiders, the Society’s name became familiar to many through their national advertising campaign to open Joanna Southcott’s Box, a curious cultural icon of inter-war Britain.
The Panacea Museum incorporates several beautiful Victorian buildings and a small chapel, set within beautiful gardens, that formed the original community’s ‘campus’.
Groups can visit the museum for a Tour by prior appointment, during Museum opening days and times. Their community outreach programme offers talks and object discovery sessions to groups who may not be able to visit the museum or would like to learn more about the Panacea Society.
Thursday – Saturday 10am to 4pm
9 Newnham Road, Bedford MK40 3NX Tel: 01234 353178
Stockwood Discovery Centre
Beautiful gardens, interactive exhibitions and the largest carriage collection in Europe! There’s so much to discover at Stockwood! Boasting a thrilling programme of exhibitions, an award-winning carriage display, an outdoor children’s play area and breathtaking walled gardens.
The museum galleries bring the stories of local people to life, dating back from prehistoric times to the present day!
The Garden Café is open every day, serving up delicious homegrown food, using fruit and vegetables from the garden. You can also have Afternoon Tea.
4 November – 5 April Open daily, 10am – 4pm
6 April – 31 October Open daily, 10am - 5pm
London Road, Luton, Bedfordshire LU1 4LX Tel: 01582 548600
The Higgins Bedford, an art gallery and museum at the heart of Bedford Town Centre, showcases wonderful and varied collections of fine and decorative arts drawn from the nationally significant collection of British watercolours, drawings and prints, alongside unique groups of work by the designers William Burges and Edward Bawden.
Displays of archaeology, social history and ethnography demonstrate how Bedfordshire has developed over time. These collections inspire a busy programme of temporary exhibitions, active learning and events.
Exhibitions and displays in 2020/2021 include Edward Bawden: Architectural Elements, RAE Bedford and Concorde, Under the Same Sky, Warden Abbey Revealed and Airship Dreams. This year’s exciting programme of events celebrates Refugee Week and Dementia Action Day, while offering wellbeing activities, talks, tours, plants sales, and family-join activities during every school holiday.
Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 5pm
Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays: 2 - 5pm
Closed on Mondays
Castle Lane, Bedford MK40 3XD Tel: 01234 718618
The Shuttleworth Collection
The Shuttleworth Collection is an aeronautical and automotive museum located at the Old Warden Aerodrome. The Collection displays some of the last airworthy aircraft of their type remaining anywhere in the world. Vintage aircraft: 1909-1950s, Vehicles: mostly Edwardian, early dogcarts and 1930s-1940s cars, Motorcycles, penny farthings and a 1904 Aurora.
Agricultural exhibits: working Chaff Cutter, living van and tractors can also be found at the museum. Throughout the year there are many events that encompass flying displays and vehicle parades which draw crowds from all over the world.
Open 7 days a week inc Bank Holidays
Summer opening 9.30am to 5pm (last admission 4pm)
Winter opening 10am to 4pm (last admission 3pm)
Old Warden Aerodrome Nr Biggleswade Bedfordshire SG18 9EP Tel: 01767 627 927
The Twinwood Museums
On August 27th 1944, the world famous big band leader Glenn Miller performed a special concert at RAF Twinwood Airfield. Later that year, on December 15th, he boarded a small aircraft outside Twinwood Control Tower - destination Paris - but Major Glenn Miller was never seen again. This sparked a mystery that has fascinated the world ever since.
Over the years, thousands of people have visited the airfield Control Tower - now known as the Glenn Miller Museum - to pay homage to this legendary musician and band leader, and it has become somewhat of a shrine to his fans from around the world.
Visitors to Twinwood Airfield can explore six museum buildings on the site, including:
The Glenn Miller Museum
Beautifully restored Control Tower museum with displays detailing the history of RAF Twinwood during WWII and our link to the legendary band leader.
The Twinwood Aviation Museum
Holds a large collection of wartime uniforms and equipment. Also has an incredible walk-in shop display, a much-loved 1940s “Home Front” house set-up, and charming “Toy Museum”.
Summer Of ’44
Living history display of a RAF airman’s billet. The display is an exact replica of how it would have appeared during the 1940s.
World War One Display
A small (but growing!) collection of artifacts and memories from The Great War.
Britain’s only wartime Fire Service museum, in the form of a utility fire station built in the 1940s, complete with accurate dioramas and vehicles.
The Transport Museum
WWII workshop with offices, housing a selection of military vehicles of the Second World War.
Open Sundays and Bank Holidays from May 3rd 2020 to September 25th 2020 10.30am to 4pm (Apart from 23rd & 30thAugust and 6th September)
RAF Twinwood Farm Airfield, Bedford MK41 6AB
Tel: 01234 824773, 07914 093552 or 07914 093553
Wardown House, Museum and Gallery
Wardown House, Museum and Gallery is a Grade II listed building situated in the beautiful grounds of Wardown Park.Formerly the home of the Scargill family, then a World War I military hospital, the house is now a museum. But not just any museum, this house transports you back in time, to a Victorian family home.
Every room tells a story, with interactive displays, a treasure trove of local curiosities and the largest hat collection in the UK! The Morning Room art gallery displays inspiring exhibitions throughout the year and our Dining Room café, overlooking Wardown Park, serves up the most delicious coffee and cake. You can even treat yourself to an Afternoon Tea.
1 November – 13 February Open daily, 10am – 4pm
14 February – 31 October Open daily, 10am - 5pm
Old Bedford Road, Luton, Bedfordshire LU2 7HA Tel: 01582 546722