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Housing

Good housing certainly isn't in short supply in Luton. The town centre has a wealth of period architecture, with well over 50 buildings listed as grade II. Here, the dwellings are typically Victorian or early 20th century. With bags of character and charm, they are ideal for people looking to enjoy an urban lifestyle.

As you head out of the centre, the housing generally becomes progressively more contemporary, with a choice ranging from 1950s and 1960s developments, to brand new executive homes.

There are prices to suit most pockets, and they are significantly lower than for similar accommodation in London and other parts of the South East. Prices in the lively rental market are also highly competitive.

But Luton isn't just known for the quality of its housing stock - it's also working hard to improve the quality of home life. One recent innovation is Home Zones. Essentially residential streets where people and cyclists come before vehicles, the biggest – Lewsey Home Zone – covers 13 streets.

Shopping

Right at the heart of the town, the Arndale Shopping Centre has 130 stores, three integrated car parks with 2,300 spaces, The Arndale Playgroup and Crèche and the Luton Shopmobility scheme. The surrounding traditional shopping streets and Luton's famous markets perfectly complement the Centre, and act as yet another testament to the town's diversity.

Transport

With the sheer pace of modern life, Luton's superb transport links are proving more valuable than ever to people travelling into, around, and out of the town.

Situated just off the country's primary M1 motorway, only a few minutes from the M25 and 30 miles from the centre of London, Luton has excellent road connections. No fewer than three railway stations serve the town. The capital is just 24 minutes away. Looking further afield, there are fast national rail connections to Leeds, Sheffield and beyond to the north, and a direct service to Gatwick and Brighton to the south.

Those with their eyes on international travel need go no further than London Luton Airport. Currently the UK's seventh largest, it's also the fastest growing airport in the country, handling more than six million passengers every year. Its expansion is hardly surprising, given the ever-increasing number of routes to a wide range of destinations from Athens to Zurich as well as a wide range of cities in the UK.

When it comes to getting around the town, there is a vigorous policy to increase the attractiveness of cycling as a healthy, non-polluting alternative to the private car. The strategy includes the provision of a cycle-friendly infrastructure and setting priorities for action.

Business

Today, Luton has a broader economic and commercial base than ever, with a host of major national and global businesses offering the local community an extensive range of career prospects.

Vauxhall Motors maintains its long-standing presence in Luton, with UK headquarters and a European Customer Care Centre based in the town. Its sister company IBC also has a major manufacturing facility here. Other names on the impressive list of local employers include Anritsu, Barclays Bank, Ernst & Young, Interbrew, ntl, Rexam, Siemens and Whitbread. Alongside these can be found the various major airline and travel companies associated with the airport, such as Britannia Airways, easyJet, Alteon, Monarch, Ryanair and Thomson Travel.

As if that wasn’t enough, AstraZeneca – one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers – and BAe Systems have chosen to develop state-of-the-art facilities at the Capability Green business park. And indeed, high quality business centres like this are playing a major part in attracting such prestigious organisations to Luton.

The effect on the landscape has been dramatic; and the effect on the local workforce equally so, as Luton’s skilled, ambitious workforce embraces the town’s ever-expanding job opportunities.

Education

The University of Luton’s contribution to the town’s economic renaissance cannot be ignored. With its emphasis on professional and vocational courses, extensive business links and strong teaching standards, it has twice finished top of the annual national graduate employment tables. This is hardly surprising when you learn that some 97% of the university’s 12,000 students find work suited to their degrees within six months of graduation.

It’s a university with universal appeal. Some 140 countries are represented among the student population, giving the university a diverse, multicultural flavour to rival the wider town’s – which is why focus groups have found students describing the environment as ‘lively’, ‘friendly’, ‘busy’, ‘sociable’, ‘modern’ and benefiting from ‘a good ethnic mix’.

Moreover, the university’s success is mirrored at all academic levels. To start with, the Children’s Information Service takes a supportive, progressive approach to pre-school teaching and childcare. From there, the 70 or so nursery, infant and junior schools, and 12 high schools ensure that the town’s future is well looked after. Between school and university, the country’s oldest 6th form college and Barnfield FE College share a reputation for excellent teaching standards. And finally, to prove that age is no barrier to learning, the University of the Third Age has a number of groups active here.

Environment

One of the first big surprises awaiting newcomers is the sheer amount of greenery in and around the town. It’s a little-known fact that Luton is home to several nationally significant sites of special scientific interest, such as areas of Bronze Age grassland and wildlife sites with an illustrious range of wildflowers and butterflies. Plus, as well as being situated within the breathtaking North Chilterns area of outstanding natural beauty, the town itself houses seven landscaped parks. So it’s easy to lose yourself in natural splendour.

With around 600 hectares of parks and public open space, there’s plenty of opportunity to relax. The nationally renowned Stockwood Park alone features period gardens, a leading crafts museum, stable complex and extensive golfing facilities; and Wardown Park, on the River Lea and at the heart of the town, offers everything from sporting facilities to a museum, gallery and formal gardens.

That said, it’s by venturing out a few miles that you’ll discover the true delights of the surrounding countryside. Nestling among the gently rolling hills and downs are unspoilt villages and places of national interest such as Woburn Abbey and Whipsnade Wild Animal Kingdom. All of which makes Luton an ideal place to get closer to nature, without ever straying far from the town.

Culture

Amongst the landscaped parks and hundred or so listed buildings, Luton plays host to a thriving cultural scene that represents all parts of the community.

Undoubtedly the biggest event on the cultural calendar is Luton International Carnival, which has been held since 1976 and is more popular than ever. Now the largest one-day carnival in Europe, it attracts upwards of 140,000 people to the town on the late May Bank Holiday and stands as an unmistakable symbol of Luton’s pledge to cultural harmony.

Cultural events throughout the year are just as diverse, ranging from the highly regarded Symphonia Academica classical music concerts and community festivals to the annual, internationally renowned Filmstock film festival. All the while, the Library Theatre nourishes the soul with everything from music, cinema and comedy to professional, amateur and children’s theatre.

Crucially, to ensure Luton’s cultural future is as rich as its past, the ‘Hat Factory’ Arts and Media Centre has devised an exciting ‘start-up’ initiative to assist cutting-edge local creative business and community arts organisations. The same venue also houses a performing venue, exhibition and conference centre, and accompanying restaurant and café.

Leisure

There’s certainly no shortage of sporting action in Luton. Football fans can follow the fortunes of Luton Town FC at Kenilworth Road, and the town is also home to two rugby union clubs – Luton RFC and Stockwood Park RFC – a number of fledgling basketball teams and an athletics club.

For those looking to participate rather than spectate, Stockwood Park’s athletics track is open to everyone from the casual jogger to the hardened competitor, and its 18-hole golf course has been voted the best public course in the South East.

A number of health clubs offer top quality health and fitness facilities, as do seven leisure centres, four of which incorporate swimming pools. Over 130 outdoor pitches, greens and courts provide amenities for sports such as football, rugby, cricket, bowls, hockey, tennis, badminton and netball. And anyone keen to take to the skies can do just that, with gliding, hang-gliding and paragliding over the Dunstable Downs.

There’s as much here to exercise the mind as the body too. The nationally significant hat and lace collection at the Luton Museum and Gallery in Wardown Park is a proud product of Luton’s textile and hat making heritage. The same museum contains a collection of ancient artefacts including a collection of Roman coins that’s recently been declared a national treasure. Similarly, the Mossman collection of horse-drawn carriages in Stockwood Craft Museum and Gardens is one of the finest displays of its kind in the country.

Entertainment

When the sun goes down, Luton really comes to life. So after a hard day’s shopping in the town centre, a full suite of entertainment awaits.

Family entertainment begins at the Galaxy Centre, which is home to the country’s first town centre multiplex cinema, plus a bowling complex.

Food lovers will find a pleasing variety of restaurants and eateries around the town, with cuisines ranging from traditional English to French, Thai, Greek, Italian, Chinese and Indian.

Luton’s pubs and bars range from the quiet to the lively; the traditional to the ultra-modern; from low-priced to highly sophisticated. And the burgeoning club scene is just as diverse and impressive, with a number receiving national recognition and one rated among the UK’s true superclubs.

All in all, a night out in Luton has something for everyone. And even on those rare occasions when it’s London or bust, Luton’s location once again comes into its own, with the West End no more than 40 minutes away.

Let the good times begin!

About Dunstable

Local Information

Dunstable Town Council - Comprehensive listing of entertainment and services.

First Capital Connect Trains - Train timetables and booking information.

Bus - Bus timetable information.

Business Directory - Phone book for businesses in Luton, Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard

Up My Street - General information on Dunstable from upmystreet.com

Weather for Luton - BBC Weather

Shopping

For a town of its size, Dunstable has a surprising variety of shopping options, with five principle shopping areas within walking distance of the crossroads.

Whether your preference is for modern precincts, retail parks or open air shopping, the town offers you a choice... with plenty of things to create a most interesting day out.

If you have the time you might like to visit the recently reconstructed clocktower in the market area, stroll in the parks or walk the Downs which form part of the Chiltern Hills. For the more energetic there's a host of leisure facilities from Superbowl to golf, fitness centres to childrens playgrounds, and plenty of pubs, fast food outlets and restaurants.

The Outdoor Market operates every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday

Transport

With the sheer pace of modern life, Dunstable’s superb access to transport links are proving more valuable than ever to people travelling into, around, and out of the town.

Situated just off the country's primary M1 motorway, only a few minutes from the M25 and 30 miles from the centre of London, Dunstable has excellent road connections. No fewer than three railway stations serve the Luton. The capital is just 24 minutes away. Looking further afield, there are fast national rail connections to Leeds, Sheffield and beyond to the north, and a direct service to Gatwick and Brighton to the south.

Those with their eyes on international travel need go no further than London Luton Airport. Currently the UK's seventh largest, it's also the fastest growing airport in the country, handling more than six million passengers every year. Its expansion is hardly surprising, given the ever-increasing number of routes to a wide range of destinations from Athens to Zurich as well as a wide range of cities in the UK.

Education

Dunstable is very fortunate in the fact that it has a wide selection of schools, catering for all age ranges. Currently there are 10 lower schools, five middle schools and 3 uppers as well as a college of further education. For full details of all schools please click here and you will be re-directed to the education section of Bedfordshire County Councils website.

Eating Out

It is to Dunstable's benefit that its historical tradition has created a legacy of interesting buildings, ideal for conversion to hotels and eating places. By way of contrast, the town has its fair share of modern fast food outlets, cafe's and continental restaurants which reflect a more modern era and a much extended range of options... In short, Dunstable caters for all tastes!

You can hop from a Norman King to a Burger King... and from a Black Cat to a Hungry Horse in a matter of minutes!

Leisure & Pleasure

Libraries
Dunstable's main library is located in Vernon Place just behind the North / South high street and adjacent to Asda Supermarket.

in addition to acting as a reference library and housing a substantial collection of publications, the library acts as a focal point and catalyst for a significant variety of arts functions including the town's art gallery, Citizone and photo archive. To obtain more details of the Library's activities 'phone 01582 608441

Sports Clubs and Grounds
There are over 180 acres of parks, gardens and open spaces to enjoy in Dunstable, thirteen which include football pitches used on a regular basis by local adult and youth football teams. In addition there are two cricket squares, a bowling green and four hard tennis courts.

Private sports clubs include Dunstable Downs Golf Club, located on the western edge of the town, Dunstable Cricket Club, now located in nearby Tottenhoe, Dunstable Football club with its ground off Brewers Hill, Dunstable Tennis Club and the Dunstablians Rugby Football Club.

Local Environment

Dunstable is positioned in the Northernmost area of the Chiltern Hills which presents mile upon mile of outstanding open countryside with significant environmental interest.

For anyone visiting Dunstable a trip to the nearby Dunstable Downs, managed by the National Trust, is a must! For a start, its free! There are stunning views over several counties on a clear day and you can watch gliders being launched skyward from the London Gliding Club, hang gliders and paragliders offering colourful displays and kite flyers testing their resolve against the natural elements.

Toilets are provided. The Visitors Centre carries an extensive stock of refreshments and houses an interesting presentation of the area's history. There's plenty of space for picnics and a host of walks along the rim and base of the slopes with a wide variety of natural fauna and flora including orchids, cowslips and rare butterflies to experience.

Blows Downs to the West of the town was recently acquired for the community by the Wildlife Trust, funded by Dunstable Town Council and the National Lottery. The Downs area, together with acres of open public areas, marked rights of way, ample parks and well-maintained gardens, provide something in and around the town for residents and visitors all year round!

About Northampton

Northampton Facts

Northampton is a large market town and a local government district in the English East Midlands region. Northampton is situated 67 miles (108 km) north of London on the River Nene, and is the county town of Northamptonshire.

The district has a population of 200,100, whilst the urban area has a population of 189,474. By this measurement, it is the 21st largest settlement in England and is the UK's third largest town without official city status – after Reading and Dudley. Northampton is the most populous district in England not to be a unitary authority, a status it failed to obtain in the 1990s local government reform.[citation needed] Northampton's population has increased greatly since the 1960s, largely due to planned expansion under the New Towns Commission in the early-1960s.

Traditionally Northampton was a major centre of shoemaking and other leather related industries. Shoemaking has almost ceased though the back streets of the town still retain the pattern of small shoe factories surrounded by terraced houses for outworkers. Northampton's main industries now include distribution and finance, and major employers include Barclaycard, Euro Building & Maintenance, Panasonic, Travis Perkins, Coca Cola Schweppes Beverages Ltd, and Carlsberg Expansion Northampton's population has increased greatly since the 1960s, largely due to planned expansion under the New Towns Commission in the early-1960s. Other factors are the rail link and the busy M1 motorway that both lead direct to London. Northampton is within 70 miles of central London, and by train it takes approximately 1 hour to journey between the two. This transport link to the South East has proved attractive, with already high house prices in and around London rising rapidly since the 1990s causing many people to move increasingly further away from the area in order to commute from more reasonably-priced housing.

Most of Northampton's housing expansion has taken place to the east of the town with developments such as Canterbury Court, and on the western outskirts at Upton and to the south adjacent to an improved junction on the M1 at Grange Park, a development of some 1,500 houses actually in South Northants Council area.

Northampton (since 2006) is within one of the government's designated expansion zones and a new wave of development is being overseen by the West Northamptonshire development Corporation (WNDC). Their goal is the development of up to 37,000 new dwellings within the borough of Northampton and the infrastructure and services that will be required to service the increased population.

Transport

Expansion has already started with new roads and housing developments in West Northampton at Upton and St Crispins (2007). A lot of the expansion will be on brownfield sites such as Ransome road Far Cotton (an inner suburb) and within the existing borough boundaries. The WNDC will also oversee the redevelopment of Central Northampton into a primary regional centre that will service the expanded population, that will be comparable to UK cities such as Coventry and Nottingham with a population of approx 300,000 by 2018-2021 Transport Northampton is situated near junctions 15, 15a and 16 of the M1 motorway. The A45 and A43 go through the town and the A14 is close by to the north. By rail, Northampton railway station is served by the Northampton Loop of the West Coast Main Line, and has regular services to London and Birmingham provided by Silverlink Trains (to London) and London Midland (to Birmingham). Virgin Trains also provide some services to London and the north, with a small number of Pendolinos running each day. Sywell Aerodrome is the nearest airfield; for international links, East Midlands Airport and Luton Airport are quickly accessible by the M1, and Birmingham International Airport is accessible direct by train.

Transport within the town exists in the form of buses run by two main companies; The Stagecoach Group and The First Group, both of which offer a reasonable service with average wait times of between 10 to 30 minutes.

Bus travel into and out of Northampton is provided by The Stagecoach Group and National Express with Stagecoach providing travel to the outlying villages and towns and National Express covering major routes between urban centres in Britain.

Northampton is the terminus of an arm of the Grand Union Canal which snakes across Britain that allows navigation to the River Nene and the North Sea. Although no longer used for freight, the waterway is still popular with narrowboat owners with many stopping at the outlying villages of Gayton, Blisworth and Stoke Bruerne.

Leisure and Culture

The town is noted for its many parks, which include:

As well as two indoor shopping centres (The Grosvenor Center and Peacock Place), the town also claims to have Britain's largest market square, which dates back to 1235. The square and surrounding shopping streets used to host the annual St Crispin Street Fair, held during the October half-term school holiday from 1993 to 2005. Away from the town centre the main suburban shopping areas are Wellingborough Road and the Weston Favell Centre. There are retail parks at Riverside and Towcester Road. The main leisure area is Sixfields, which includes bowling, restaurants and a cinema.

The Derngate and Royal theatres are situated next door to each other in Guildhall Road, opposite Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. They have been recently renovated and reopened to the public in November 2006. The Deco is a theatre/conference centre based on the Grade II listed former Cannon Cinema, in Abington Square. There is a smaller museum in a former mansion within Abington Park.

The old Fishmarket opposite the market square has been renovated by the NAC (Northampton Arts Collective) and now has a large gallery space, retail units, a cafe and art studios. Since its re-opening it has been host to many community events, gigs and exhibitions - including hip hip handmade (arts fair/market), Stitch and Bitch (alternative sewing workshops), MFS (Music For Squares) local magazine launch and an exhibition of the Northampton Carnival costumes. The NAC hope to use the Fishmarket to create a focus for the arts in Northampton.

History

Until the removal of council funding caused its closure and liquidation, the Northampton Roadmender was a leading venue for art and music in the region. It has since been brought by the Purplehaus group [1] and recently reopened.Four cinemas are also located in the town: Vue (formerly UCI) at Sol Central, Cineworld (formerly UGC, and before that Virgin Cinema and before that MGM) at Sixfields and the Forum Cinema at Lings Forum.

Every year, Northampton hosts the Balloon Festival, normally held at Racecourse Park. The festival has been held since 1990. Notable Buildings

The information above and more is available on Wikipedia

About Bedford

Education

Bedford is home to five public schools run by the Harpur Trustcharity, endowed by Bedfordian Sir William Harpur in the sixteenth century. These are:

Smaller private institutions include Rushmoor School (boys aged 3-16, girls 3-11) St. Andrew's School (girls aged 3-16, boys 3-9), and Polam School, none of which are part of the Harpur Trust.

Bedford hosts a campus of the University of Bedfordshire, which prior to 2006 was a campus of De Montfort University which is now just based in Leicester.
 

History

 
Bedford was a market town for the surrounding agricultural region from the early Middle Ages. It was the seat of the Barony of Bedford. In 919 Edward the Elder built the town's first known fortress, on the south side of the River Ouse and there received the area's submission. This fortress was destroyed by the Danes. William II gave the barony of Bedford to Paine de Beauchamp who built a new, strong castle. The new Bedford Castle was razed in 1224 and today only a mound remains.
Bedford traces its borough charter in 1166 by Henry II and elected two members to the unreformed House of Commons
 

Features and Events

 
The River Great Ouse passes through the town centre, and is lined with attractive gardens known as The Embankment. Within these gardens stands a war memorial to the fallen of the First World War, opposite Rothsay Gardens. The memorial was designed in 1921 by the sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger and depicts a Knight vanquishing a dragon.
 

Bedford's principal church is St Paul's, in the square of the same name at the historic centre of the town. It has a tall spire which is one of the main features of the town. There was a church on the site by 1066 and work on the present structure began in the early 13th century in the early English style, but little remains from that period other than the south porch. Additions were made in the 15th century and the John Bunyan and John Wesley both preached in the church. In 1865-1868 the tower and spire were completely rebuilt and the two transepts added and lesser alterations have been made since. From 1941 to the end of the Second World War the BBC's daily service was broadcast from St. Paul's.

The Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, housed in the recreated Victorian home of the Higgins family of Victorian brewers and in a modern extension, has notable collections of watercolours, prints and drawings, ceramics, glass and lace. Adjacent to the Cecil Higgins Gallery is Bedford Museum, which has local history collections.

Bedford Hospital is a district general hospital that operates from two sites in the town, providing a wide range of services, although patients requiring highly advanced treatment are referred to specialist units, elsewhere, principally in Cambridge and London. Its catchment area is based on the Borough of Bedford and Mid Bedfordshire. In 2006 there was controversy in the local media about alleged plans to downgrade Bedford Hospital's provision of acute care, as the government's current policy is that full service hospitals require a catchment area population of 300,000. Bedford Hospital's catchment population was less than that at that time, but it is expected to exceed it in the medium term as the area is experiencing above average population growth. Health secretary Patricia Hewitt visited the town and made assurances about the future of the hospital, but failed to fully satisfy local concerns as to the government's intentions.

Every two years, an event called "The River Festival" is held near the river in Bedford during early July. The event lasts for two days and regularly attracts about 250,000 visitors. The event includes sports, funfairs and live music. It is the second largest regular outdoor event in the UK beaten in numbers only by the Notting Hill Carnival. The Bedford Regatta each May is Britain's largest one-day river rowing regatta.

Other annual events include Bedford By The Sea (when large quantities of sand are deposited in the town centre) and the Bedford Kite Festival in June. 'Proms In The Park', held in early August, is a popular musical event.

Bedford town centre
 
Bedford town centre

There is an active amdram (community theatre) scene, with groups such as the Swan Theatre Company, Bedford Dramatic Club (BDC), Bedford Marianettes and ShowCo Bedford producing plays and musicals in venues like The Place, the Civic Theatre, the Corn Exchange and the Bowen West Theatre. The Bedford Pantomime Company produces a traditional pantomime at the Civic Theatre each Christmas. July 2007 saw the first Bedfringe festival, a pre-Edinburgh Fringe festival, centred on the Civic Theatre. There are a number of local bands including Alabama Circus

Bedford has two rugby union teams called Bedford Blues and Bedford Athletic. Bedford Blues are currently in the second tier of English rugby, but has previously been in the top division. Taking into account the size of its overall urban area, it is one of the largest towns in England without a fully professional football team. Bedford Town F.C. currently plays at the seventh level of the English football league system and Bedford Valerio United

Bedford Town Centre

There is an active amdram (community theatre) scene, with groups such as the Swan Theatre Company, Bedford Dramatic Club (BDC), Bedford Marianettes and ShowCo Bedford producing plays and musicals in venues like The Place, the Civic Theatre, the Corn Exchange and the Bowen West Theatre. The Bedford Pantomime Company produces a traditional pantomime at the Civic Theatre each Christmas. July 2007 saw the first Bedfringe festival, a pre-Edinburgh Fringe festival, centred on the Civic Theatre. There are a number of local bands including Alabama Circus

Bedford has two rugby union teams called Bedford Blues and Bedford Athletic. Bedford Blues are currently in the second tier of English rugby, but has previously been in the top division. Taking into account the size of its overall urban area, it is one of the largest towns in England without a fully professional football team. Bedford Town F.C. currently plays at the seventh level of the English football league system and Bedford Valerio United

Bedford is the county town of Bedfordshire, England. It is a large town and the administrative centre for the Bedford borough. According to Bedfordshire County Council's estimates, the town had a population of 79,190 in mid 2005, with 19,720 in the adjacent town of Kempston. The wider borough, including a rural area, had a population of 153,000. Education Bedford is home to five public schools run by the Harpur Trust charity, endowed by Bedfordian Sir William Harpur in the sixteenth century. These are:

Smaller private institutions include Rushmoor School (boys aged 3-16, girls 3-11) St. Andrew's School (girls aged 3-16, boys 3-9), and Polam School, none of which are part of the Harpur Trust.

Bedford hosts a campus of the University of Bedfordshire, which prior to 2006 was a campus of De Montfort University which is now just based in Leicester. History Bedford was a market town for the surrounding agricultural region from the early Middle Ages. It was the seat of the Barony of Bedford. In 919 Edward the Elder built the town's first known fortress, on the south side of the River Ouse and there received the area's submission. This fortress was destroyed by the Danes. William II gave the barony of Bedford to Paine de Beauchamp who built a new, strong castle. The new Bedford Castle was razed in 1224 and today only a mound remains. Bedford traces its borough charter in 1166 by Henry II and elected two members to the unreformed House of Commons Features and Events The River Great Ouse passes through the town centre, and is lined with attractive gardens known as The Embankment. Within these gardens stands a war memorial to the fallen of the First World War, opposite Rothsay Gardens. The memorial was designed in 1921 by the sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger and depicts a Knight vanquishing a dragon.

Bedford's principal church is St Paul's, in the square of the same name at the historic centre of the town. It has a tall spire which is one of the main features of the town. There was a church on the site by 1066 and work on the present structure began in the early 13th century in the early English style, but little remains from that period other than the south porch. Additions were made in the 15th century and the John Bunyan and John Wesley both preached in the church. In 1865-1868 the tower and spire were completely rebuilt and the two transepts added and lesser alterations have been made since. From 1941 to the end of the Second World War the BBC's daily service was broadcast from St. Paul's.

The Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, housed in the recreated Victorian home of the Higgins family of Victorian brewers and in a modern extension, has notable collections of watercolours, prints and drawings, ceramics, glass and lace. Adjacent to the Cecil Higgins Gallery is Bedford Museum, which has local history collections.

Bedford Hospital is a district general hospital that operates from two sites in the town, providing a wide range of services, although patients requiring highly advanced treatment are referred to specialist units, elsewhere, principally in Cambridge and London. Its catchment area is based on the Borough of Bedford and Mid Bedfordshire. In 2006 there was controversy in the local media about alleged plans to downgrade Bedford Hospital's provision of acute care, as the government's current policy is that full service hospitals require a catchment area population of 300,000. Bedford Hospital's catchment population was less than that at that time, but it is expected to exceed it in the medium term as the area is experiencing above average population growth. Health secretary Patricia Hewitt visited the town and made assurances about the future of the hospital, but failed to fully satisfy local concerns as to the government's intentions.

Every two years, an event called "The River Festival" is held near the river in Bedford during early July. The event lasts for two days and regularly attracts about 250,000 visitors. The event includes sports, funfairs and live music. It is the second largest regular outdoor event in the UK beaten in numbers only by the Notting Hill Carnival. The Bedford Regatta each May is Britain's largest one-day river rowing regatta.

Other annual events include Bedford By The Sea (when large quantities of sand are deposited in the town centre) and the Bedford Kite Festival in June. 'Proms In The Park', held in early August, is a popular musical event.

Transport

Trains Bedford has two railway stations:

Roads

Bedford lies on the A6 trunk road, and two of the most important north-south routes in Great Britain, the A1 and the M1 motorway pass a few miles to the east and west respectively. Two road improvement schemes are currently in process to link the town to the M1<href="#_note-2">[3] and A1<href="#_note-3">[4] via dual carriageway. This will significantly improve access to the town, which currently requires the use of frequently congested single carriageway roads. Bedford has a southern bypass, and the proposed western bypass, which has been long delayed, has yet to be started although approval has been given. Buses

The town's bus services are run by Stagecoach East, and major bus routes run to Northampton, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Oxford and other towns in the region. Most of these services depart from the main bus station in the town.

The above information and more is available on Wikipedia Bedford Borough Council - Comprehensive listing of entertainment and services.

Trains - Train timetables and booking information.

Bus - Bus timetable information.

Business Directory - Phone book for businesses in Bedford

Up My Street - General information for Bedford from upmystreet.com

Weather for Bedford - BBC Weather

House To Rent Milton Keynes

If you are looking for a house to rent in Milton Keynes or surrounding areas, Lenwell letting agents have a number of houses, flats and apartments, 1, 2 and 3+ bedroom houses to rent in Milton Keynes Buckinghamshire. 

Award winning letting agents Lenwell can help you to both find and secure your ideal properties to rent quickly and efficiently. We have a simple tenant application form that can be completed and assessed by our specialist in house letting team. We turn around applications as fast as possible to give you the very best chance of securing your property to rent in Milton Keynes. 

We have some useful downloads and information for tenants looking for properties to let in Milton Keynes areas here and welcome your enquiry. 

About Milton Keynes

Things to Do

You'll never be short of something to do in Milton Keynes. Offering some of the most exciting activities and some of the best entertainment experiences in the UK, Milton Keynes is a truly exceptional destination to visit.

Take a look at what Milton Keynes has to offer...

Eating Out

Milton Keynes offers some of the best gastronomic dining experiences outside London. With over 350 restaurants within the city centre and surrounding areas you can always find something to satisfy your appetite from an a la carte menu, a sumptuous buffet or a pre-theatre meal.listings by type of cuisine to find the perfect match for your night out with friends or a relaxing lunch with colleagues. You'll also find some reviews which give you an invaluable insight into the restaurants before you try them. Below are some of the best areas in Central Milton Keynes to find some great restaurants but the surrounding market towns and villages also offer something a little bit different.

Whatever type of gastronomic experience you’re searching for - Milton Keynes is the ideal destination.

Sports & Activities

Whether you want to watch some live sporting action or take part in some thrilling activities, Milton Keynes is the place to visit. You’ll discover a wide range of sporting activities to keep everyone occupied, from the action-seeking adventurer to the armchair sports fan. many sports and activities you can discover in Milton Keynes:

Milton Keynes is the destination you can find it!

Education

Milton Keynes is buzzing with opportunities to learn new things, and great minds agree! The code-breakers of Bletchley Park brought innovation to our city in the Second World War. The team’s ingenuity cracked German secret codes. Now you can see Station X, where it all happened, and explore the heart of wartime operations and the birthplace of the modern computer.

Developing minds is something we’re passionate about. We’ve got some of the best schools and colleges around. Milton Keynes College has a vast range of courses and vocational training. No wonder it’s the fastest growing college in the UK. Contemporary learning continues at the Open University where degree level education is open to everyone. The university’s headquarters are here at Walton Hall in Milton Keynes. And there’s the innovative new University Centre Milton Keynes – UCMK – a hub for higher education with stunning new facilities and exciting courses in the heart of the city.

We’re a city of firsts when it comes to environmental brainwaves too. We had the world’s first solar-powered house and we’re now playing a vital role in the development of electric transport.

Milton Keynes Theatre Creative Learning department offers courses, classes and opportunities to young people and adults to explore the world of the theatre including acting, costumes, makeup and much more.

Milton Keynes is in a class of its own!

Transport

Milton Keynes is served by five railway stations. Milton Keynes Central is served by inter-city services. Wolverton, Milton Keynes Central and Bletchley stations are on the West Coast Main Line. Fenny Stratford and Bow Brickhill are on the Marston Vale Line. Woburn Sands railway station, also on the Marston Vale line, is just outside the urban area in the small town of Woburn Sands, but is still within the Borough.

The M1 motorway runs east of the town, and is served by junctions 13, 14 and 15A. The A5 road is west of the town. Other main roads are the A509 linking Milton Keynes with Wellingborough and Kettering, and the A421 running west to Buckingham and east to Bedford. Proximity to the M1 has led to a distribution center, Magna Park at the A421/A5130 junction.

Many long-distance coaches stop at the Milton Keynes coachway, (beside M1 Junction 14), some 3.3 mi (5.3 km) from the centre (or 4 mi (6.4 km) from Milton Keynes Central station).[83] There is also a park and ride car park on the site. Regional coaches stop at Milton Keynes Central.

The main bus operator is Arriva Milton Keynes, providing a number of routes which mainly pass through or serve Central Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes is also served by Arriva-branded services from Aylesbury and Luton as well and Stagecoach East which operate routes to Oxford, Cambridge, Stagecoach Midlands which operates routes to Peterborough and Leicester. Some local services are run by independent operators such as Z&S International and Centrebus.

The nearest international airport is London Luton Airport accessible by route VT99 from MK Central station, which runs with wheelchair accessible coaches. There is a direct rail connection to Birmingham International Airport. [Cranfield Airport] is 6 mi (10 km) from the centre.

The Milton Keynes redway system (locally known as Redways) is a 169.3 miles (272.5 km) network of cycleways/paths for cyclists and pedestrians in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England.

It is generally surfaced with red tarmac, and criss-crosses most of the city.

Milton Keynes is served by routes 6 and 51 on the National Cycle Network.

Cycle storage can be found along route 51 at Milton Keynes Central train station (covered cycle racks) and at the junction of Midsummer Boulevard and Witan Gate where there are storage and changing facilities available. There are also frequent Sheffield cycle racks near the station, and outside the shopping centre and theatre, on both sides of Midsummer Boulevard.

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