The quaint country of Bedfordshire can be found alongside the River Ouse, with a rich history that dates back to the 9th century. With Victorian-influenced period properties, castle ruins, stunning riverside views and a bustling community, it’s perhaps no surprise that the county town of Bedford has been voted one of the best places to live in the UK before.
Bedford is also popular with commuters as it has great transport links to London and other towns and cities. As this may seem to suit a younger generation, you may be wondering what there is for elderly people to do in and around this county. Well, the answer is plenty! Read on for our top picks for things to do in Bedfordshire for the elderly…
The perfect spot for nature lovers, Wrest Park is located in Silsoe and comprises Wrest Park, a Grade I listed country house, and Wrest Park Gardens. With beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, Wrest Park is great for woodland walks and fresh air, offering visitors three centuries of landscape design through Dutch and Italian styles, a formal Long Water walk and classical statues.
Why not make it a family day trip and challenge your loved ones to discover the many hidden gems in the gardens, including an ornate marble fountain, an 18th century Bowling Green House and a Chinese Bridge and Temple, as well as the breathtaking Archer Pavilion.
Tickets do not need to be booked in advance, but the best prices can be found on the website. If you have particular access needs, you can contact the Park before you visit, but there are free mobility scooters available for hire, disabled parking spots, on-site transport and wheelchair ramps. Find more information here.
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is a zoo and safari park located at Whipsnade, near Dunstable in Bedfordshire. One of two zoos that are owned by the Zoological Society of London, Whipsnade provides fun for all the family and is home to a plethora of exciting species, including tigers, elephants, penguins, rhinos and hippos. Take a look at the exciting experiences available at the Zoo too.
For those with reduced mobility, there are designated Accessible parking bays around the Zoo and essential carers go free. There is level ramp access to many areas within the zoo for wheelchair users and there are also a number of wheelchairs to hire on a first-come, first-served basis.
Wardown House, Museum and Gallery is a beautiful Grade II listed building situated in the beautiful grounds of Wardown Park in Luton.
Wardown House used to be the home of the Scargill family before being transformed into a World War I military hospital, then finally a museum. Visitors can enjoy exploring the House to experience the interactive displays, collections of interesting items and treasures and the Victorian family history of the building.
The House also has a dining room and café with picturesque views of Wardown Park, where you can enjoy hot drinks and tasty home baked treats - or a full afternoon tea if you’re really hungry! You’ll also find a Gift Shop selling charming and unique gifts.
There is a lift on the ground floor of the museum and fully accessible toilets are also situated on the ground floor. The House, Museum and Gallery are open Thursday to Sunday between 11AM and 5PM and admission is free.
If your elderly loved one is a wildlife fan, Herrings Green Activity Farm is the place for them. A fantastic day of fun for all the family, Herrings Green has one of the largest collections of birds of prey in the UK. Spend the day at the farm to meet many different species of owl, hawk, eagle and falcon, as well as alpacas, goats, donkeys, reptiles and much more.
Flying displays for the birds of prey take place at 11.30AM and 2.30PM each day, with expert falconers on-hand to answer any questions you have and take photos. There are also tractor rides and petting zoos, plus a tea room serving sandwiches, cakes and snacks.
Tickets for seniors cost £12 and the site is wheelchair friendly.
The Panacea Museum is in Castleside, a beautiful Victorian house that was part of the community’s headquarters. It tells the story of the Panacea Society and other similar religious groups formed in the early twentieth century. The museum also incorporates several other buildings that formed the original community’s campus. During your visit, you can discover the history of servants and working classes, take a tour of the gardens or enjoy a cream tea in warm weather.
The museum has a small café which serves hot drinks, soft drinks and a selection of cakes and snacks. There is disabled parking and accessible toilets on site, but although the main museum is fully accessible, access in the grounds and some of the other buildings is limited.
The Museum is open between 7th April - 30th October, Thursday - Sunday between 11AM and 5PM. You can find more information about visiting here.
Steam train aficionados will love Leighton Buzzard Railway, Bedfordshire's premier heritage railway attraction, which runs several different trains along the three-mile line up to five times a week from March to October. Depending on which loop you take, you can spot former sand quarries, green spaces and wildflower meadows, wind turbines and the Chiltern Hills area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, to name but a few.
You can also take guided tours of the railway yard and pay a visit to the award-winning new station building, booking office and souvenir shop. The Buzzrail Café is ready and waiting to stock you up with snacks before and after your journey too.
Senior fare is just £9.50 with Gift Aid, but if you or your loved one is a wheelchair user, we recommend booking in advance to ensure you get a space.
If you’re looking for care homes in Bedfordshire, you can use Lottie’s search tool to find the best one for you.