To experience the quiet of the English countryside, why not hop on a private jet to Bedford? This midsize English town, little more than an hour north of London, has plenty to offer the traveler. It’s notable for its large number of churches, including St. Paul’s Church, in the town square, which dates back to the 13th century. The River Great Ouse flows through the center of the town, and boating is a popular pastime. The town has, in fact, produced several Olympian rowers.
The Embankment, which follows the path of the river, is a pleasant place for an evening walk, and you can hire a rowboat on the small nearby lake. The bucolic English countryside is close at hand, whether you prefer hiking, cycling, or just a leisurely drive. And, like any midsize town, Bedford offers an array of modern shopping and entertainment options. For a relaxing jaunt away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life, Bedford can’t be beat.
Must see: Bletchley Park, the center of British codebreaking in World War II that was the site of Colossus, the world’s first programmable digital computer, is located just a half-hour drive from the city. The site is now a museum that displays codebreaking equipment as well as German Enigma encryption machines; The National Museum of Computing, where a reconstruction of the Colossus computer is on display, is located on the same site.
Lodging: The Knife and Cleaver–This cozy, pet-friendly inn, located just outside Bedford in the village of Houghton Conquest, offers easy access to the town and the surrounding countryside.
Cuisine: Bedford is known for its wide variety of restaurants, due to its large immigrant population. Walk down Tavistock Street and you’re sure to find something you like.
Ground Transportation: Much of the city center is easily walkable. Otherwise, calling for a licensed minicab is your best option rather than trying to hail a taxi.
Packing Tips: If you’re bringing any electronics, be sure to pack a travel adapter or two to fit British outlets.
Recommended Books: John Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress in 1678 while imprisoned in Bedford for holding unsanctioned religious services. The novel, a Christian religious allegory, has been continuously in print ever since its publication.
Currency: The British pound is the local currency.
Calling Code United Kingdom: 44
Best Travel Dates: The biennial Bedford River Festival in July draws hundreds of thousands of people to the area, with concerts, boating, fireworks and other activities. Bedford hosts numerous festivals throughout the summer months.