With so much to see and do, Bedfordshire is a great place for a family day or holiday – especially for nature lovers.

If, after a family day out at Whipsnade Zoo with its 2,500 animals across in 600 acres (2.4 km2), your kids are still craving fun in the great outdoors then there’s a whole host of things to do locally.

Things to do in Bedfordshire at the weekend

Dunstable Downs 

The Dunstable Downs are part of the Chiltern Hills, southern Bedfordshire.

One of the main attractions is an enormous lion shape, which has been cut into the chalk into the side of one of the hills and is actually part of our Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The lion can be seen from the B489 (Aylesbury to Dunstable road).

Chalk lion at Whipsnade Zoo, on chalk downs.
Barton Hills National Nature Reserve in Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire nature walks

Barton Hills National Nature Reserve

This is an example of chalk grassland typical of the northern Chilterns. The site also includes areas of Chilterns beech woodland, ash-maple woodland, along with a variety of rare flowers and plants.

Ivinghoe Beacon

Although technically in Buckinghamshire, Ivinghoe Beacon is a prominent hill and Chiltern landmark.

While physically quite prominent, and higher than the surrounding ridge, the Beacon is not the highest point in the Chilterns. This is a few miles to the west at Coombe Hill near Wendover.

The Beacon lies very close to the border of Bedfordshire and nearby Hertfordshire. It is higher than any point in these counties.

Trail to Ivinghoe Beacon Chiltern Hills Buckinghamshire England UK
View of grand union canal which runs through Bedfordshire

Tiddenfoot Waterside Park, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard

A picturesque 29 acre site which features a large lake, grassland and poplar plantation, with an added bonus of having the Grand Union Canal running along the eastern side of the site.

A excellent spot for a picnic, Tiddenfoot Waterside Park is a former sandpit and is now a county wildlife site. It has good footpaths, access for the disabled and car parking.

Stockgrove County Park, Heath and Reach

Totalling more than 80 acres (320,000m2), the park includes a hand-dug lake, featuring the remains of a boathouse that sadly burned down in 1963 - only its brick arches are left.

A group of Mandarin ducks took up residence in 1997 and have bred there ever since. Some of the neighbouring oak woodland is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Experience the wild

  • Panther chameleon which features in our Paludarium
    Facts about our animals

    Our animals

    Learn about all the amazing animals we have at the Zoo, from camouflage chameleons to enormous elephants.

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    Whipsnade Zoo Membership

    Enjoy days out across the year, and form a connection with our animals as they grow!

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    Get closer to nature

    Whipsnade Zoo Experiences

    Go on the ultimate animal adventure with us and experience wildlife like never before. Make memories which last a lifetime and take in the full wonder of the natural world, by meeting our animals, experiencing the life of a Zookeeper and sleeping over at

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    Spring at the Zoo

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    Spring is a beautiful time of year to get out and about and explore Whipsnade Zoo