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Our Top 5 ‘must-do’ local experiences

You get the best of all worlds with our campus locations in Luton, Bedford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury. Colourful, culturally diverse towns with a long history and strong sense of community, big enough to offer a tempting choice of shops, sports and entertainments. Beautiful countryside, framed by the Chiltern Hills, is on your doorstep as well as villages perfect for a pub lunch. Want a bit of the big-city buzz? Well, London is just a short train journey from Luton and Bedford.

Arts and Culture

Our towns are rich in history, culture and diversity, with heritage buildings, gardens, museums, theatres and arts initiatives. In Luton, the Hat Factory Arts Centre has live music, dance, theatre, poetry slams and art exhibitions. In Bedford and MK, catch big-name concerts at Bedford Park and Stadium MK. All our campus towns have multiplex cinemas.

Explore the Arts and Culture in Bedfordshire


There’s plenty of pubs and bars, many offering live music, cocktails, gin specialities and real ales. In Luton, live music ranges from jazz and blues at the Bear Club to hard rock at The Castle. Bedford also offers a lively mix of traditional town pubs, bars and nightclubs. And MK boasts the largest growing ‘after 6’ culture outside London!

Something surprising: You have to hunt down Luton’s Bear Club. It’s hidden in the courtyard of a heritage hat factory. Its tables are made from old sewing machines!

Explore the Nightlife in Bedfordshire

Eating around the world

Travel the world when it comes to restaurants, coffee shops and cafes - from Asia to America by way of Africa, Europe and the Caribbean – at prices that won’t break the bank. There’s also a great choice of innovative vegetarian and vegan eateries. If you want an elegant treat, why not book a traditional afternoon tea at Luton Hoo or Wardown House?

Explore the global cuisine in Bedfordshire

Events and festivals

The big one is Luton’s colourful, diverse annual Carnival, the largest outside Notting Hill! But there’s plenty more through the year including Bedford’s River Festival; Luton’s Mela; Luton Pride; Bute Street Festival for arts; Bedfringe for comedy; Bedford Fake Festival; and the Ampthill/AmpRocks Festival (between Bedford and Luton).

Explore the Events and festivals in Bedfordshire

Days out and activities

Be amazed by the animals at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo or Woburn Safari Park. Wander around stately homes and heritage buildings such as Luton Hoo, Wrest Park, Hatfield House and St Albans Cathedral. Explore nearby Hitchin, with its open-air market and Hitchin Lavender (summer only). Try to find a way out of escape rooms – or truly get away from it all hiking in the beautiful Chiltern Hills.

Something surprising Shop till you drop at Centre:MK – it’s the 14th largest shopping centre in the UK.


Explore the Days out and activities in Bedfordshire

Sports and leisure

Our campus towns keep you active with gyms, swimming centres, trampolining, go-karting and public golf. Watch live sport with local teams such as Luton Town FC (the Hatters), Bedford Blues RFC or MK Dons FC. Or challenge yourself at MK’s XScape with its indoor skydiving, climbing and 170m-long real-snow ski slope.

Something surprising: Splash! - the ITV celebrity diving series - was filmed at Luton’s Inspire Sports Village.

Explore the Sports and Leisure in Bedfordshire