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Out and about in Priory Country Park Bedford

The quaint market town of Bedford is a popular day-trip destination for people in the capital and home counties. Shops, history, and culture combine in this leafy and welcoming location. But if you’re looking to get away from it all and enjoy some more countryside comforts, then certainly consider Bedford’s Priory Country Park.

Read on to learn all about the fantastic fun going on at this lakeside retreat just south of Bedford town centre – then book your tickets with Thameslink today. 

a tree next to a body of water

What’s at Priory Country Park?

Located in a bend of the River Great Ouse, Priory Country Park opened in 1977 on the site of an open-pit gravel mine. 

Since then, the area has undergone a massive restoration. It’s most notably home to two lakes – Finger Lakes and Priory Lake – as well as a bustling marina. There are lots of play areas for kids to enjoy too.

On top of that, you can enjoy plenty of woods, green open spaces, and riversides to walk, cycle, and play in. It’s the perfect place to bust out of the bustle and relax in a stretch of classic British parkland.

a house in the middle of a lush green field

Discover the Great British wildlife

With beautiful meadows, sleepy reed beds, and foliage all around, Bedford’s Country Park is a haven for wildlife of all shapes and sizes – great for a day out with the kids during school holidays!

Grab your binoculars and head to the shore to spot a diverse range of local bird life including geese, swans, ducks, and other waterfowl. You’re most likely to spot something at the Duck Feeding Area at the northern tip of Priory Lake. 

If birds aren’t your thing, bring along a magnifying glass and search for minibeasts among the park’s British woodlands. The area has its fair share of animals too. Otters, deer, foxes, and many more furry friends can all be found in park’s 360-acre grasslands, woods, and watercourses. 

To enjoy fishing at Priory Country Park Bedford, you’ll need to purchase a Bedford Borough Fishing License for the season – find out how via the Bedford Council website.

Paddle and splash at the Priory Water Sports Centre

With so many lakes and the lapping waters of the River Great Ouse close by, water sports are one of the top activities for people wanting to get the most out of their visit to Priory Country Park.

Priory Water Sports Centre, located to the northeast of Priory Lake, offers classes in sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and other sports like stand-up paddle boarding. During the school holidays the centre also hosts a kids adventure club that introduces little ones to safely having fun on the water.

Priory Sailing Club is a good option for adults and juniors looking to get into sailing as a hobby. It offers dingy sailing courses, windsurfing and more. And there’s also the Cardington Canoe Slalom Course to the south of Priory Lake to enjoy too. 

But it’s not all about the sporty side of things. The Bedford River Festival takes place just upriver in July each year, with food, drink, music, rides and much more.

a large tree in a field

Relax at local eateries

Need to fill up after a day exploring Priory Country Park’s grasslands, woods, and lakes? Cloverdale Retreat on Priory Lake’s northern shore has lots of cakes, snacks, soups, and coffees to enjoy while gazing out over the water, as well as heartier breakfasts and daily specials.

Or for a bigger eat, head to the Priory Marina Beefeater restaurant, The Anchor pub on Cardington Road for a well-earned post-walk pint in the sun with the family.

Explore Bedford’s Priory Country Park with Thameslink

Using the extensive Thameslink network, you can quickly reach Bedford and the Priory Country Park from the likes of Luton, St Albans, Peterborough, Cambridge, and of course, central London. 

Book your tickets digitally today for even simpler ticketing, then jump aboard without needing to worry about petrol, parking, or traffic jams – the perfect start to a relaxing day at Priory!

Buy tickets now

You can buy tickets online and collect them from the ticket machine before you travel. You can also buy them at the station from a ticket machine or staffed ticket office.