If you’re thinking of moving to Bedford, we’ve got the guide you need to see. This area has plenty going for it outside of its excellent commute times to London. From crime rates to hidden gems, let’s put it under a microscope.
History of Bedford
Built along the river Great Ouse, Bedford is steeped in history that can be traced back to the Middle Ages. You can visit the remains of the castle built by William II today, though it was destroyed in 1224. There’s a heavy Victorian influence in Bedford also, reflected by the architecture and redbrick period properties. This influence is most noticeable along the Embankment or in Bedford Park.
Where is Bedford?
Bedford is the county town of Bedfordshire, in the east of England. It borders Luton and Milton Keynes, all known for being good commuter towns for London.
Average house prices
House prices in Bedfordshire saw a 4.8% annual increase at the end of 2020, now sitting at £315,306.
This decreases slightly in Bedford itself to £287,078*. Of course, price varies depending on property type:
|Property type||Average asking price|
*Based on asking prices – not sold
Average rental prices
The average rent in Bedford is £797 pcm, slightly lower or higher depending on the property type:
|Property type||Average rent (pcm)|
|1 bedroom house||£672|
|2 bedroom house||£852|
|3 bedroom house||£1,088|
|4 bedroom house||£1,490|
|5 bedroom house||£1,877|
While not one of the UK’s cheapest places to rent, it’s around 57% lower than renting in London. There are a number of lettings and estate agents in the area.
Best places to live
Where should you move to? Here’s a quick overview of some of the most famous locations:
- Goldington – a sought-after urban area
- Black Tom area – great if you love a 19th-century terraced house
- Oakley – ideal if you fancy something more rural away from the hustle & bustle
- Castle road – the Castle quarter has a close-knit community and many independent businesses
- Biddenham – popular with commuters due to being a stone’s throw away from Bedford train station
- Bromham – sits right beside the river
Cost of living in Bedford
Without rent included, living costs are around £2,326 a month for a family of four. For a single person, these costs are estimated to be around £655 – again not including rent.
This is 13% less than in London while being just a train ride away.
What to do in Bedford
There are a number of attractions in Bedford, including the Birds of Prey Centre and the water park Ride Leisure.
Outside of these, what does this property hotspot have to offer its residents?
Bedford is home to an abundance of local shops, stores and undercover shopping malls. Harpur Centre is one of the most famous, offering all the famous chain retailers.
What’s more, twice a week the town centre becomes the location for a bustling market, where traders set up shop and sell everything from gourmet food to handmade goods.
Bedford provides easy access to many major cities, including direct trains to London in 45 minutes. There are roughly 5-6 trains to St Pancras every hour. This makes it a popular spot among young professionals and commuters.
The train station also offers services to Brighton, Gatwick Airport and Nottingham (to name just a few).
As for the town itself, it’s well-served by a network of buses. Thanks to the greenery and attractive scenery, many locals also choose to get around on foot.
Bars & restaurants
They say if you visit Bedford, you have to try the pub grub at the Embankment, a firm favourite among locals. It’s also a great spot for looking out at the river Ouse, smack bang on the promenade.
Herd is also a must if you like the sound of a joint that serves gourmet burgers along with beer and cocktails.
The nightlife shouldn’t disappoint either, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to lively pubs, clubs and bars. Vogue spans 3-floors and puts on a number of different live events. If that’s not your scene, the George & Dragon is a casual, busy joint with an old-timey feel to it.
Things to see
Bedford is home to a number of beautiful parks and open, public spaces including:
- Bedford Park
- Russell Park
- Priory Country Park
- The boating lake
- Bedford River Valley Park
- Mowsbury Park
- Guru Nanak Gurdwara – largest Sikh temple outside of London
Want to get off the beaten track? Here are some lesser well-known gems to explore:
- Putnoe woods
- Sharpenhoe Clappers – great for a scenic walk
- Rowney Warren woods
- The Bald Buzzard Alehouse
- Panacea Museum
- Wardown House
- Ascott House
Who lives there?
Bedford’s population is estimated to be around 173,292. Due to its excellent transport links, it’s popular with commuters and young working couples. However, thanks to a great array of local schools, (both primary and secondary schools) many families choose to settle down here too.
What’s not to like?
Bedford is a well-connected place, but this goes hand in hand with a lot of maintenance work. Expect roadworks, some disruption and traffic.
Also, the high street feels somewhat dated and could do with a revamp.
Typical broadband speed
Average broadband speed in Bedford is 36.08 Mbps, which is 14% above the UK average of 31.53 Mbps – good news is you’re working from home.
At the end of 2020, Bedford recorded 85.73 crimes per 1000 people, which is considered fairly high. Low is considered 75.88 or less in the UK.
Last Updated: September 29th, 2021