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Bedford town guide

Bedford is the county town of Bedfordshire, with a cosmopolitan population of 140,000. The town straddles the River Ouse that provides a central and attractive feature to the centre. In the 1970's the locks, which had fallen into disrepair, were rebuilt and the river was once again open to the sea.

These days the river is invaded on a regular basis, but this time the invaders are not the Danes but visitor's who come to celebrate Bedford's River Festival. Held every two years, it is one of the largest free outdoor events, second only to London's Notting Hill Carnival. The festival will take place on the 3rd and 4th July 2004.

The Borough of Bedford was awarded Charter status by Henry II in 1166. Over the years Bedford has been associated with many famous people; John Bunyan, Archbishop Trevor Huddleston and comedian Ronnie Barker were all born here, whilst residents have included Glenn Miller and his band during Word War ll.

Today Bedford is a lively market town with plenty of opportunities and a cultural diversity suiting many tastes. The villages of north Bedfordshire are without doubt amongst the most picturesque in this part of the country and well worth a visit.

Nearby Thurleigh, which is accessible by hire car is an airfield that dates back to July 1940; the museum was opened in July 2002 and houses a large collection of artefacts to recreate the activities and atmosphere of the airfield and the surrounding area during the war years.

Cardington was the site of a once thriving airship industry, the hangers can still seen from a distance as can the memorial to the R101 disaster.

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