Although Bedfordshire is one of England's smallest counties it accommodates some of its loveliest rural landscapes, including many fine market towns and several magnificent stately homes.


Riverside Walk - Bedford © TAB

Located within the London commuter belt, Bedfordshire is still very much in-touch with its agricultural roots, and is famed as the birthplace or one of England's first modern petrol driven tractors, the Ivel. The Ivel tractor was developed in 1902 by Daniel Albone, who named it after one of the county's rivers.

South Bedfordshire is characterised by the chalk hills of the Chilterns and the valleys of the River Great Ouse. This area has strong associations with John Bunyan the author of The Pilgrims Progress, which is set in the rolling downs of the Chilterns.

Bedfordshire boasts a wide range of interesting places to visit. If you enjoy nature and wildlife then Wipsnade Park Zoo is an ideal destination, where more than 2000 animals roam free. There is also an animal kingdom at Woburn Abbey, plus the headquarters of the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) based in Sandy.

'Bedford, as I have said, is a large, populous and thriving Town, and a pleasant well-built Place ... it is full of very good inns, and in particular we found of good Entertainment here.'

Daniel Defoe (1724), "Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain"

County Town:

Bedford - distance from London 57 miles (91 km)

Nearby Counties:

Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire

Train Operators:

East Midlands / First Capital Connect / London Midland

Nearest Airport:

Luton (International)

Major Roads:

M1, A1

Highest point:

Dunstable Downs - 244m high


Flit, Hiz, Ivel, Lea, Ouse, Ouzel

County Flower:

Bee Orchid

Local Delicacies:

Bedfordshire Clanger - pasty with savoury filling at one end and a sweet at the other.
Bedfordshire Wigs - round, spongy gingerbread cakes. The thick rim resembled the curl of a Georgian wig.

The Meaning of Bedfordshire

First recorded in 1011 as "Bedanfordscir". Meaning the shire or county of Beda's river crossing.

Map of Bedfordshire


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