Surrounding Villages

The town of Bedford itself is surrounded by many beautiful villages, all with a wealth of history of their own. Below we take a look at just a few and what makes them worth a visit. It would also, of course, be rude not to sample some of the food and beverages on offer at the local traditional public houses.


Bromham Mill 1.jpg
Situated on the River Great Ouse, Bromham bridge has 26 arches spanning the river leading to the 17th century mill which has been restored to full working order. Bromham heritage trail gives an interesting insight into early village life. Home of the annual Bromham Show and Bromham Mill Apple Day. The beautiful St Owens Church is also well worth a visit and the surrounding walk is a must.

The Swan Bridge End, Bromham MK43 8LS Tel: 01234 823284

The Prince of Wales 8 Northampton Rd, Bromham, Bedford MK43 8PE Tel: 01234 822447 


Cardington Sheds.jpeg

The Cardington sheds, which can be seen dominating the skyline for many many miles around, are a poignant reminder of Great Britain’s race for supremacy of the skies; these magnificent structures were built to house the R100 and the ill-fated R101 airships.

The R100 was dismantled following its successful flight to Montreal after the R101 destined for India crashed on its maiden flight on 6th October 1930 at Beauvais, France. Of the 54 passengers and crew aboard only six survived.

The mass grave and memorial to the victims can be found in the village church cemetery.

Cardington was also the home of the 18th century prison reformer John Howard.

The Kings Arms 31 The Green, Cardington MK44 3SP Tel: 01234 838533 


A picturesque village surrounded by beautiful woodlands and delightful walks. It was renowned for its straw plaiting and a factory was in the High Street. The ladies each day would take their plait to the Flying Horse public house, from where a carrier would take it to Luton to be made into hats. There is also evidence of a Roman road running east-west through the village. In the Domesday book of 1086, the village is called Clopelle, which means “tree-stump hill”. You cannot visit Clophill without also seeing the beautiful Wrest Park in Silsoe just a few minutes away.

The Flying Horse 2 The Green, Clophill, MK45 4AD



The birthplace of John Bunyan, Elstow is a beautiful village with a row of Tudor cottages from the 17th century. The Abbey, the Green and Moot Hall museum are all well worth a visit. Elstow was also well known for lace making, a lace school was held in a cottage on the High Street, and around 1628 an Elstow man started weaving rush mats from rushes gathered from the Elstow brook.

The Red Lion, 470 High St, Elstow, Bedford MK42 9XP Tel: 01234 359687

Great Barford

Great Barford lock enabled Bedford to once again be open to the sea. Mentioned in the Doomsday book, Great Barford was an important site, probably as a means of crossing the river, the area of the original ford was dug up in 1973 and a bridge has been here since at least the 15th century. Today the bridge, with its 17 arches, spans the Great Ouse and acts as a gateway to this lovely village. Great Barford also boasts the very popular Golden Cross Chinese Restaurant.

The Anchor Inn High St, Great Barford MK44 3LF 01234 870364 



On the village green stands the circular lock-up, a miniature provisional prison. These were used from the late middle ages until the 19th century; the lock-up still retains its original padlock. The Harrold bridge, originally a 13th century pack-horse bridge, has 6 arches spanning the main river with a further twenty covering the flood plain. Harrold is also home to a wonderful country park with the delightful Teazels cafe onsite.

The Muntjack 71 High St, Harrold MK43 7BJ Tel: 01234 721500 

Oakley Arms, 98-104 High St, Harrold, MK43 7BH Tel: 01234 721499 


Formerly an estate village surrounded on three sides by the river Great Ouse – an ideal spot to join the Ouse Valley Way walk. Oakly bridge is of particular interest as it dates from 1852. If you fancy some coffee and cake, O for Coffee is the perfect stop off. There is also a bi-yearly carnival which happens to be this year on Saturday 15th July.

Bedford Arms 57 High St, Oakley, MK43 7RH Tel: 01234 822280 


Stevington Windmill.jpg

Stevington is an ancient Domesday village known for its beautiful 200 year old post mill and Kathy Browns wonderful gardens. In the heart of the village is a 14th century cross; it is thought that John Bunyan may have been referring to the cross when he wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress. The Holy Well situated under the churchyard wall has never been known to freeze or dry up.

The Royal George, 8-10 Silver St, Bedford MK43 7QP Tel: 01234 822184

The Red Lion, 1 Park Road, Bedford MK43 7QD Tel: 01234 823946



Turvey is a beautiful example of limestone dwellings on the border of Buckinghamshire. At All Saints Church – which has been described as ‘one of the finest and oldest churches in the Diocese of St Albans’ – you will find some of the most marvellous surviving alabastar monuments in the country.

Ye Three Fyshes, Bridge St, Turvey, Bedford MK43 8ER Tel: 01234 881463 

The Three Cranes, High St, Turvey, Bedford MK43 8EP  Tel: 01234 881365