Moving to a new city as an adult can be an overwhelming thing to do. Of course there is excitement about new jobs and new homes to decorate but there is lots of sadness too about leaving friends and family behind. Especially when you google “Moving to [insert city name here]” and the reviews on mumsnet aren’t the most flattering, and the fourth search result down is titled “Britain’s worst places to live”. Not very helpful.
However, having already commited to moving to Bedford it seemed that we needed to make the best of it. In fact, six months later I actually really like Bedford. There is a lot to do, some delightful places to visit and some people who are very passionate about the town. Here are some of the things that I have found in the last six months that have made me excited about living in Bedford…
Coffee With Art
This was the first eating place in Beford town centre that we knew we loved straight away. We stumbled on it while looking for Rose Tinted Vintage (which unfortunately no longer has a bricks and mortar location). Taking advantage of their mouthwatering smoothie, sandwich and cake selection we sat down at a table surrounded by super stylish art and installations. Our favourite feature of Coffee With Art is the book wall made up entirely of vintage books all piled up and wedged together.
On our first visit there was this postcard at the till which we took a photo of and went on a hunt to find out what each heart represented – this helped us to discover lots more places to love on future visits to the town centre.
Bedford Blog and Board
I thank the day that I stumbled on this website. The area guides alone are an absolute gem. We had already found the Castle Road area as it is close by to our rented house but the area guides have introduced us to a lot more areas to consider when it comes to buying a house.
The blog is also a really friendly introduction to Bedford, with fun features and reviews that showcase independent businesses and stylish sights to be found all across the Bedford area.
Named after the famous (and hard to find) local pastry product, this magazine has offered us the ultimate guide to summer events in the town. Andy and I both went through the listings and circled everything that we wanted to do over the summer and this has become our go-to guide to what to do at the weekend. It is packed full of reviews and features on indie retailers too.
Unfortunately it seems the magazine plans to take an hiatus but I’m so glad I found the latest issue just in time. I really hope there are future issues.
The Scone Roses
Bedford’s local WI group is full of youngs mums, crafters and bloggers including Lucy Bishop, Hannah J and Liz Wright. Their next meeting isn’t until September so I haven’t met anybody yet in person but I have joined the facebook group where everyone has been very friendly and welcoming. I’m really looking forward to September’s meet up and baking competition. Am I brave enough to bake something for my very first meeting?
Bedford Riverside Festival
So many people we have met have recommended the Riverside Festival as a must. Reportedly one of the largest outdoor free festivals in the country this day really didn’t disappoint. Spanning across the whole embankment area all the way into town. We walked down from our house, past the Castle Road area and onto the embankment. Throughout the day we saw floats of Brazilian dancers, local crafts, a massive variety of sports clubs, dragon boat racing and kayaking. One of my favourite sights was this American vintage Airstream caravan turned into a burger bar called Camp Cooks – the staff were all dressed in drag! I love it.
We were spoiled for choice when it came to food; I settled for Moroccan couscous and vegetable tagine, Andy opted for a Polish stew, and we finished them both off with a Frozen Yoghurt from The Kiosk at Russell Park. We then settled in to watch The Ska Masters, of course we got absolutely soaked in the rain watching them but I think it actually made the crowd get up and dance even more. They were great and did a lot of my favourites including Night Boat to Cairo, Message to you Rudy, My Boy Lollipop and 54-46 (That’s My Number).
The Riverside Festival is only on every other year so we have two years until the next one but I definitely think it’s worth the wait.
Illustrated A-Z Guide to Bedford
When we stopped off at The Kiosk I noticed they were selling this cute little booklet. Being a massive fan of alphabets, and illustration, and looking for reasons to love Bedford I had to pick one up. The guide is gorgeously illustrated by Marisa Straccia who also helps out with the Bedford Clanger and has some great tips – many of which we hadn’t seen yet.
I’m really looking forward to visiting all the places and things to do that Marisa recommends. Yet another person we have found who is passionate about living in Bedford and wants to shout about it.
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When we first moved to Bedford I did find it a shock after having always lived in cities (Nottingham, Leeds and Leicester) and having all our favourite chain restaurants and retailers on our doorstop, along with independent boutiques too. I cannot deny that Bedford town centre could do with a lot of improvement, but then again it is not a city, it’s just a large market town.
For our favourite high street restaurants and shops we’ve been heading over to Milton Keynes which is 30-40 minutes in the car and makes for a nice day or evening out. Pro tip: go to the Centre MK shopping centre in the day for lunch and shopping, and go to Xscape in the evening for dinner and cinema. Don’t go to Centre MK in the evening, there are lots of restaurants there but they are dead (unless you like that). Don’t go to the Odeon cinema, I don’t think there any good Odeons left, and I also try to avoid any cinema that has no ice cream counter.
For our boutique and indie retailer fix we’ve been going over to Cambridge. Just 45 minutes away in the car and there are vintage stores, fabric stores, markets and artisan ice cream. Cambridge is also beautiful and reminds me a lot of York. It reminds me of all the best parts of living up north and I love that.
Places that we are still to visit in Bedford but can’t wait to go: The Higgins Museum, Pop up Cinema (every Thursday in August), Fancy Cafe, Bedford Pop-up Shop, The Bedford Arms Stitch and Bitch, Kitchen Table Sewing classes.