Bedford is a town situated along the River Ouse, with a 12th-century castle and gorgeous Victorian architecture. Just 50 miles from London, it’s also a commuter town and has the local economy to show for it: plenty of local independent eateries, pubs and shops line the waterfront.
Bedford is thought to date back to the 9th century, and this history is evident all over the town. The Bunyan Museum tells the story of the author of the Pilgrim’s Progress who was imprisoned at Bedford Castle, and the Higgins Bedford Museum displays glorious Turner watercolours and ancient artefacts found in the area.
All in all, for a town with a population of under 100,000, it’s a bustling and multicultural place to live.
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Bedford town centre is small enough to cover on foot or by bike. Like many towns of its size, Bedford has grown rapidly in recent years, and the town’s transport links could be a reason why. The A421 expressway makes an easy route for commuters to Cambridge and Milton Keynes.
The town plays host to two railway stations: Bedford Midland and Bedford St John’s, where there are good links to London, Brighton and Gatwick Airport. Expect to be in London by train in as little as 40 minutes, or in Milton Keynes in around an hour.
Although Bedford’s average house price of £300,000 is above the national average, the town has a high rate of home ownership. Many people relocate from London after having children, and so the area has plenty of families – also in part due to its fantastic schools.
The Castle Quarter is popular with families due to its green open spaces like Russell Park, which becomes a hub for the community in the summer months. Similarly, the Prime Ministers’ Area is well known for its sense of community and summer street parties. Schools in both areas are very good, with both private and state schools well-rated by Ofsted.
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