|Homes sold in the last 12 months||311||520||339||551|
|Average house prices||£120,815||£214,570||£306,553||£170,477|
The lively, cosmopolitan town of Bedford is located at an equal distance from Oxford, Cambridge and London. It enjoys a fine riverside setting, with terrific views over the Great Ouse from the nearby Castle (Mound), the remains of the older Bedford Castle, which was completely destroyed in the thirteenth century siege of 1224.
The town combines a vibrant, modern feel with a rich heritage, and a number of strong, well-known characters have helped to shape the place throughout its long history - from John Bunyan to Sir Henry Wood.
Property in Bedford is generally relatively affordable, and the town has an extensive housing stock. Expect to pay more for a riverside property. The good choice of flats priced below the stamp duty threshold makes the area popular with first-time buyers
The Cultural Quarter is the place for upmarket apartments, while the town also has plenty of Victorian-style detached villas, semis and terraces. There are some late Georgian properties in the centre, along with modern suburban detached and executive homes.
Also in the Cultural Quarter, you'll find the John Bunyan Museum, and the Eagle and Bedford Galleries. The Bedford Room offers a chance to explore the town's history.
There are numerous open spaces lining the urban riverscape, with a wealth of scenic walks across town, in parks, gardens and over bridges. The largest urban space, Bedford Park, lies just north of the town centre. The Corn Exchange arts venue attracts some class acts.
A compact, car-free shopping centre has everything the most hardened shopaholic could want, from major chains and small niche retailers to malls and arcades. There is a market in town twice a week, alongside monthly Farmers' Markets.
Unlike most of England, Bedford has a three-tier education system of lower, middle and upper schools.
There are plenty of decent primary schools, with many rated 'good' by Ofsted. The local state secondaries have been ranked 'effective' or 'satisfactory', and the town also has several private schools.
Bedford lies on the A6, a few miles east and west respectively of the A1 and M1, and the town also operates a Park and Ride scheme. There are two railway stations, with regular services to Sheffield, London St Pancras, Leicester, Nottingham and Leeds.
Buses cross the region to Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford, and there are additional services to Kettering and Northampton.
Within commuting distance of London - yet far enough away to have its own identity - and boasting excellent travel connections plus a good range of local sporting, shopping and cultural amenities, Bedford could be absolutely right for your next move.
Source acknowledgement: House price data produced by Land Registry
This material was last updated on 29 January 2015. It covers the period from 03 January 1995 to 31 December 2014.
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