Coast’s Choice: Bedfordshire

Those of you who are new to the Coast website might not be familiar with our regular Coast’s Choice feature. Every Tuesday we look into a different UK county, picking out tourist attractions that the Coast team feels will be of interest to holidaymakers wanting to take their caravan or motorhome away on home soil.

After some thrilling visits to venues in the north and west of England, we are now working our way through the counties surrounding London. This week’s Coast’s Choice is Bedfordshire – our staff’s favourite places to visit in the county are reviewed below:

Birds of Prey Centre

Fans of feathered creatures will love Biggleswade’s centre for birds of prey, which allows you to watch and handle beautiful winged creatures including eagles, hawks, falcons, kites and owls. For those that want to take their ornithology passion to the next level, the venue offers courses in falconry and hawking.

In addition to wildlife-based activities, the Birds of Prey Centre has a rifle and hand gun range along with an archery area. Click here to find out more.

Tickets to the Birds of Prey Centre cost £22 for adults and £10 for children, the centre is open seven days a week.

Nearest caravan site: 8.4 miles

Bromham Mill & Gallery

This wonderfully restored 17th century watermill offers both a history lesson and an injection of culture. Visitors can observe corn being ground by waterpower and learn about the flour making process, before wandering around the adjoining gallery that celebrates the work of local artists and craftsmen.

Bromham Mill & Gallery is open to the public between April and October and entry costs £5 for adults. Admission is free for children under 16 years of age. More information – including details of private tours incorporating baking lessons and cream teas – is available via the official website.

Nearest caravan site: 0.6 miles

Mossman Carriage Collection

The Mossman Carriage Collection houses the UK’s largest collection horse-drawn vehicles from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. From the vehicles used by tradesmen to luxury carriages and state coaches from the heyday of horsepower, there is a wide and exciting variety of vintage machinery on display.

Luton-born carriage enthusiast George Mossman founded the collection in 1908 and 54 of his privately purchased vehicles remain on display today. Mossman was well known within the industry as he drove carriages in the Lord Mayor’s show for a quarter of a century and provided carriages and drivers for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation procession in 1953.

Today, the museum continues to collect carriages and also helps film studios including Pinewood and Elstree to create replica models for use in period dramas.

Entry to the Mossman Carriage Collection, which is contained in Luton’s Stockwood Discovery Centre, is free. The centre is open seven days a week – click here for further information.

Nearest caravan site: 8.6 miles

Woburn Abbey and Safari Park

Home to the Dukes of Bedford for almost 400 years, Woburn Abbey is the jewel in the crown of Bedford’s tourism industry. If you’re in the area, make sure you visit the abbey to admire its opulent architecture and interior design – from the state dining room with its collection of dish covers to the beautifully preserved bedroom in which Queen Victoria stayed during her visits to the area.

The silver and gold vaults contain priceless items including a collection of 12 silver-gilt teapots and a silver breadbasket presented by the fourth Duke to his second wife.

Even if stately homes aren’t your cup of tea, it’s still worth taking a trip to Woburn in order to enjoy its wilder side at the safari park. In addition to seeing exotic animals roaming the grounds, you can visit the 3D safari cinema or even get grubby at the Go Ape adventure course.

Tickets cost £13.50 for the abbey and £19.99 for the safari park for adults or £6.50/£14.99 for children. Both venues are open seven days a week during the summer but it is worth checking the website before you set off if you are planning to visit during the winter months.

Nearest caravan site: 5.3 miles

Wrest Park Gardens

This English Heritage site is one of the country’s hidden gems, bringing together landscape gardens, woodland walks and canalside trails. Set over 90 acres, the park features a French-style mansion, however it is the vast gardens that prove the main attraction.

There are several themed floral sections including a French Garden and an Italian Garden, while some of the country’s most popular native plants are celebrated in other areas such as the Rose Garden. Historic pathways have been painstakingly restored so that you can enjoy a scenic walk through each part of the gardens, picking out statues and pavilions along the route.

Among the highlights are the breathtaking views across Long Water, the Mythraic altar inherited by Wrest Park in the 1740s and a sculpture of Diana beside the Ladies’ Lake.

West Park Gardens is open seven days a week throughout the year, except for Tuesday and Wednesday closures during October. Admission costs £8.50 for adults and £5.10 for children. More information is available here.

Nearest caravan site: 10.2 miles

Before you set off on your trip to Bedfordshire or anywhere else in the UK and beyond, don’t forget to double check that your caravan insurance or campervan insurance is up-to-date. For a competitive caravan insurance or motorhome insurance quotation, call Coast on Freephone 0800 614 849. Caravan owners can also click here for an instant online quotation.