The Best Hotels and B&Bs to Book in Bedford

Bedford Swan Hotel: graceful and elegant, but not owned by the Queen
Bedford Swan Hotel: graceful and elegant, but not owned by the Queen | Courtesy of Bedford Swan Hotel / Booking.com
Photo of Pierre de Villiers
13 October 2021
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The pretty market town of Bedford was founded at a ford on the River Great Ouse – a fact reflected in its name, alongside an homage to Saxon chief Beda. The river remains a focal point, especially for the hotels and B&Bs lining the water’s edge, offering guests wonderful views and the occasional boat trip. For something different, try a converted granary or piggery – Bedford has all kinds of places to stay, bookable on Culture Trip.

The Embankment

The Embankment
Courtesy of The Embankment / Booking.com
Doing what it says on the tin, this Bedford mainstay has a prized location on the River Great Ouse. The eye-catching building dates to 1891 and retains its Victorian appearance, but the interior has been brought right up to date. Flat-screen TVs and freestanding copper roll top baths share space with traditional gilt-framed mirrors in the rooms. Munch on a veggie deli plate in the restaurant.

The Waterfront Hotel, Spa & Golf

The Waterfront Hotel, Spa & Golf
Courtesy of The Waterfront Hotel, Spa and Golf / Booking.com
You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy the Waterfront Hotel Spa & Golf, but it helps. Set in 380 acres (154ha) of gorgeous greenery, the hotel’s course will test any wannabe McIlroy with its fiendishly designed fairways and water hazards. For a more chilled-out time, the award-winning Y Spa has everything you need to relax, from a hydrotherapy pool to 11 treatment rooms.

Bedford Swan Hotel

Bedford Swan Hotel
Courtesy of Bedford Swan Hotel / Booking.com
Rooms mix contemporary design with original 18th-century features at the Bedford Swan, a hotel as elegant as the creature after which it is named. The location is stellar, too: on the embankment of the Great River Ouse. No stay here is complete without an afternoon tea at restaurant Anna’s, named after the 7th Duchess of Bedford – in the early 19th century, she started a trend by having a brew and a light snack before dinner.

The Barns Hotel

The Barns Hotel
Courtesy of The Barns Hotel / Booking.com
On the outskirts of Bedford, the Barns Hotel makes the most of its location on the Great River Ouse by offering guests a spin on Brub, its very own boat. Back on dry land, the WineGlass restaurant has charming wooden beams, while the hotel’s 13th-century Tithe Barn is one of the area’s most popular spaces for events and weddings.

Woodland Manor Hotel

Woodland Manor Hotel
Courtesy of Woodland Manor Hotel / Booking.com
Living up to its name, Woodland Manor is surrounded by 23 acres (9ha) of idyllic woodland gardens, making it the perfect place for a tranquil retreat. The hotel had a starring role in Channel 4’s reality show The Great Hotel Escape, which chronicled a major facelift at the building. The removal of a pillar from the Autograph Room; new carpets in the reception area, lounge and bar; and a spruce-up of the hallways all enhanced its appeal.

The Knife & Cleaver

The Knife & Cleaver
Courtesy of The Knife and Cleaver / Booking.com
As the name suggests, the Knife & Cleaver is all about the grub. This award-winning gastropub in the village of Houghton Conquest has dishes made from local produce. Enjoy them in the restaurant, an outside courtyard or in private dining rooms. The rooms are equally high-quality, combining chic design with comfy king-sized beds and Egyptian cotton linen.

The Granary

The Granary
Courtesy of The Granary / Booking.com
If spending a night in a barn seems a bit rough – and draughty – you haven’t experienced the Granary. A converted storehouse that’s part of a working farm, its rooms are beautifully designed with either tiled or wooden floors and sink-into beds. This being a farm, the morning eggs and bacon are very fresh. An all-season tennis court is the cherry on top.

De Parys Guest House

Bed and Breakfast

De Parys has been delighting guests with its home-from-home feel since the 1940s. There’s a personal touch to everything that happens at this friendly B&B, from the spotless rooms to the lovingly prepared breakfasts. Reasonable rates make De Parys especially popular for business trips and quick Bedford stopovers.

The Old Piggery

The Old Piggery Guest Accommodation
Courtesy of The Old Piggery Guest Accommodation / Booking.com
Once a redundant building on a working arable farm, the Old Piggery is now a thoroughly modern B&B set along the beautiful Greensand Ridge. In addition to the regular rooms, you have the option of two luxury yurts, which each accommodate four people. Both have waterproof storage for bikes – handy, as there are many cycling trails and magnificent countryside to explore.

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