Bushmead Priory


The Priory Church of St Mary commonly called Bushmead Priory. Built in 1195 a rare survival of the complete refrectory of an Augustinian priory, with fine timber roof and notable 14th century wall paintings. Bushmead was disbanded at the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the property passed to Sir William Gascoigne, a retainer of Cardinal Wolsey.

Please call to find out opening times, entry by prebooked guided tours only.

Located off B660, 2 miles South of Bolnhurst, Bedfordshire MK44 2LD Tel: 01234 860000


Castle Mound

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The Castle Mound is all that remains of Bedford castle, an 11th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, destroyed by Henry III after his siege of 1224.  Today the motte still stands, forming part of an archaeological park restored in 2009.

The mound is located adjacent to The Higgins, in Bedford town centre, just off The Embankment.

De Grey Mausoleum, Flitton

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Among the largest sepulchral chapels attached to any English church, this cruciform mausoleum houses a remarkable sequence of 17 sculpted and effigied monuments, spanning nearly two and a half centuries (1614-1859), to the De Grey family of Wrest Park.

The De Grey Mausoleum is attached to the mid-15th-century parish church of St John at Flitton, Bedfordshire. It was first built in the early 17th century, before being expanded in 1704.The mausoleum contains a remarkable collection of funerary monuments.

Open from 2 pm - 4 pm on the first Sunday of each month between April and October, and on one Wednesday a month between June and August (see website for dates)

High Street, Flitton, Nr Ampthill, Bedfordshire, MK45 5EJ Tel: 01525 860000 (Option 2)


Elstow Abbey

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Elstow Abbey was founded in 1078 by the Countess Judith, niece of William the Conqueror. It became the eighth richest of the 106 Benedictine nunneries existing at the time. It retains many Norman features and in its hey-day, the building was twice its recent size. It is unusual in having a completely separate, 13th century, bell tower. John Bunyan was also baptised in the font to be found in the abbey.

Close to the historic 11th century Elstow Abbey is Elstow Tea Garden– the entrance is immediatly opposite the ruins of the former cloisters and Hillersden Mansion. The tea garden provides a relaxing, welcoming space where you can experience the atmosphere of this lovely, historic English village, whilst enjoying good food or, if you wish, just a cup of tea.
Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday – 10am to 4pm (Mid April to the end of September)

 Church End, Elstow, Beds MK42 9XT Tel: 01234 261477 abbeyelstow@gmail.com


Houghton House

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Houghton House today is the shell of a 17th-century mansion commanding magnificent views, reputedly the inspiration for the ‘House Beautiful’ in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.
It was built around 1615 for Mary, Dowager Countess of Pembroke, in a mixture of Jacobean and Classical styles: the ground floors of two Italianate loggias survive, possibly the work of Inigo Jones.
Information panels describe the house, its owners and the surrounding hunting estate. 
Open daily from 10 am until 6 pm or dusk

Hazelwood Lane, Ampthill, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK45 2EZ

Ice House and Lime Kiln

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Both the historic Ice House and the Lime Kiln located in Bedford’s Cultural Quarter, are now accessible through organised guided walks with the Bedford Association of Tour Guides.

The Ice House is an underground, man-made chamber inside the Castle Mound at the heart of the historic site of Bedford Castle. It was built by the Higgins brewing family in the mid-1800s and would have been used to store ice throughout the year. The central well is over 4m deep, large enough to have stored ice for use in all of the inns of Bedford when it was built.

The Lime Kiln was built in the mid-13thcentury to make quicklime, which was used in a number of medieval industries, including lime mortar for building with stone and in agriculture to help break down heavy clay soil.

Access to both locations is possible through guided tours given by the Bedford Association of Tour Guides.


Mowsbury Hilltop Fort


Mowsbury Hillfort and Hill Meadow are unknown treasures to most Bedfordians. The Hillfort is a scheduled monument and county wildlife site. It is owned by Bedford Borough Council and managed as a public amenity site.

The early Iron Age Hillfort was built with a single defensive bank and ditch around the perimeter, there is a medieval moated site inside the Hillfort. On view is a wide variety of habitats including wild flowers, mixed deciduous woodland, a series of ponds and a moat.

The Friends of Putnoe Wood & Mowsbury Hillfort help manage the site for all to enjoy.


Stevington Mill

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A postmill originally built around 1770, it was still in use until then 1930’s. Constructed around a central post so that it can be turned to face the wind, this impressive postmill is the only complete windmill left in the county.

For an inside view of the postmill, visitors can obtain a key from the Royal George pub in Silver Street, Stevington Tel 01234 822814  (A small returnable deposit is required)

2 Windmill Lane, Stevington MK43 7QZ

St Pauls

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For over 1000 years there has been a St Paul’s in the centre of Bedford. The present church, the fifth church,  dates mostly from the fifteenth century with some earlier and later additions, when the building was enlarged in the mid-19th century.

Set in the heart of Bedford in St Paul’s Square, St Paul’s is now a thriving parish church of cathedral proportions with a spire that can be seen from all over the town. We welcome thousands of visitors and pilgrims from far and wide every year. 

The church is renowned locally for its beautiful interior and has many features of important historical significance. Church welcomers are on hand to assist visitors or alternatively, come and enjoy some quiet space away from the noise of the town centre. 

St Paul’s is open every day Monday to Saturday from 10.00am to 4.00pm and on Sunday afternoon after morning service from 2.00pm to 4.00pm. 


Willington Dovecote and Stables

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16th-century stone dovecote and stable building belonging to the National Trust commissioned by Sir John Gostwick, who served as Cardinal Wolsey's Master of Horse. They were completed around 1541 with the dovecote boasting an impressive 1,500 nesting boxes lining the walls. The cote and contemporary adjoining building known as 'The Stables' are thought to have been built with stone scavenged from nearby buildings demolished at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries.  The Stables has features, clearly visible, which indicate the original use may have been for accommodation or domestic purposes. Together they are all that remains of what was once a range of buildings that made up Gostwick's estate. Opening hours are limited and admission by written appointment only; phone for details.

The dovecote has open afternoon days on the last Sunday of the month from April to September and a variety of other events and openings. Special tour evenings with talks and light refreshments can be arranged on Friday evenings.