Discover the Best of Dunstable: Top Things to Do

May 23, 2024

Discover the Best of Dunstable: Top Things to Do

Dunstable is a market town located in Bedfordshire, situated just 30 miles from London and just east from the Chiltern Hills. The Chiltern Hills are a chalk escarpment covering 660 square miles across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, and Bedfordshire. They are designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty and so they are highly appealing to tourists. It is one of the things to do in Dunstable but there are also many things to do within the town itself. 

Discover the best of Dunstable. Image shows a view of the English countryside from Dunstable Downs in the Chiltern Hills, Bedfordshire, UK

Within this article we are going to discuss the best things to do in Dunstable and what makes it such a special place to live and visit. 

Visit the Dunstable Priory

Dunstable Priory is a church and monastery that was founded by Henry I in the early 10th Century. What is now known as The Priory Church of St Peters is just the nave of what remains of an originally much larger Augustinian priory church. The monastic buildings consisted of a dormitory for the monks, an infirmary, stables, workshops, bakehouse, brewhouse and buttery. There was also a hostel for pilgrims and travellers, the remains of which are known today as Priory House. 

The Priory is open for visitors every Wednesday from 10am for four hours. There is free tea and coffee available and you will be given the chance to look around the church, sit and pray or light a candle. They also have events on throughout the year such as book groups, coffee mornings and bible study groups so if you are local to Dunstable you will be able to visit and become a part of the church community.

Dive into History at the Dunstable Downs

Dunstable Downs is an area of outstanding natural beauty and it is a place steeped in history. The highest point in the east of England, the history of the area dates back to the Bronze Age. At the northern end of the Downs is Five Knolls which is a Bronze age barrow cemetery. Throughout history this site has been used for burials starting with high status Bronze Age burials but since then a Saxon mass execution and burial took place on the site and later gallows corpses were buried here.

Along with the cemetery, there is also a mediaeval rabbit warren which is revealed in the pillow mounds below the Knolls and mediaeval cultivation terraces can be seen at the foot of the Downs. 

Now the area is open to visitors to go on many beautiful walks and there is a visitors centre which has a cafe, toilets and a shop. The Downs themselves are open dawn until dusk but the cafe and visitors centre are open 10am to 5pm

Experience the Whipsnade Zoo

Whipsnade Zoo will be a great thing to do in Dunstable for any animal lovers. There are so many different species of animals to see, from aardvarks to lions to yaks. Whipsnade Zoo is also more than just a zoo. They are part of ZSL (Zoological Society of London) which is a global conservation charity. They have teams of conservationists, scientists, technicians and community specialists who are active in over 70 countries. Every visit to Whipsnade Zoo helps fund their vital work to restore habitats and protect wildlife.

The zoo is open daily from 10am but the closing times are dependent on the time of year so make sure to check their website when you are planning your visit. Tickets range from £27.00 to £30.00, depending on the day of the week you are visiting. 

Hiking the Icknield Way Trail

Icknield Way Trail is 170 miles long and crosses six counties, linking the Peddars Way National Trail in Suffolk with the Ridgeway National Trail in Buckinghamshire. It has been recognised as a route for walkers since 1992 but in 2004 it was further developed to make it a multi-use route, allowing horse riders and cyclists access to the trail. 

The route runs through Dunstable so it is easy to gain access to it within the town. You could set yourself the challenge of working the entire route or simply enjoy a short walk along it, turning around when you are ready. This is an excellent thing to do in Dunstable for all keen walkers, cyclists and horse riders. 

Enjoy the Beauty of the Totternhoe Knolls

Totternhoe Knolls is 32 acres of is a local nature reserve, part of the Chilterns area of outstanding natural beauty and a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI). The result of mediaeval quarrying, the site now has many varieties of wildflowers and plants who love the chalk-rich area. 

It is a beautiful spot that is a brilliant thing to do in Dunstable for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors, walking and picnicking.  

Dunstable’s Music Festivals

Along with there being many beautiful areas in Dunstable, they also have a lot of events in town or close by for music lovers. One of the biggest events is Party in the Park. This regular summer events has music acts on throughout the day and into the evening. There is also a kids zone so this is a summer event that is fun for all the family. And even better, this event is free!

Held in Grove House Gardens, this will be a fun event for locals and visitors alike. 

Top Things To Do In Dunstable

There are so many things to do in Dunstable that it doesn’t matter what you are into – history, nature, walking, animals, music – Dunstable will have you covered. 

If you are local to Dunstable and find yourself in need of self storage, Cinch Self Storage Dunstable is here to help. Please click here to find out more. 

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