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Bedford’s best experiences for lovers of the arts

By Kingfisher Visitor Guides

Bedfordshire offers a wide variety of fascinating museums, art galleries and theatres for culture cultures to sink their teeth into.

The Higgins Bedford
The Higgins Bedford art gallery and museum

Castle Lane, Bedford MK40 3XD

The Higgins Bedford showcases wonderful and varied collections including The Cecil Higgins Collection of fine and decorative art, alongside world-class watercolours and prints. Using collections of archaeology, social history and ethnography, the museum explores the inspiring stories of local people and Bedfordshire’s development over time. Visit website

The Quarry Theatre at St. Luke’s
The Quarry Theatre at St Luke's

The Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s Peter’s, 26 St Peters Street, Bedford MK40 2NN

Located on St. Peter’s Street, in the heart of Bedford, The Quarry Theatre at St. Luke’s is a performing arts facility for Bedford School and the town. St. Luke’s Church has been sympathetically adapted into a venue that houses a 282-seat theatre, a 50-seat studio-theatre, a spacious bar opening onto the original church garden and a foyer that displays pupils’ art as well as art produced by members of the local community. Although primarily a school theatre, the aim is to involve the wider community as much as possible. Visit website

John Bunyan Museum
Window art at John Bunyan Museum

Mill Street, Bedford MK40 3EU

Discover the Bedford man whose writings touched the world at the John Bunyan Museum. Telling the story of the famous author of The Pilgrim’s Process, visitors to the John Bunyan Museum walk through Bunyan’s life and times. Part of Bunyan Meeting Church which stands on the site of Bunyan’s original church where he was minister from 1671 to 1688. Visit website

Panacea Museum
Woman and child in museum

9 Newnham Road, Bedford MK40 3NX

The Panacea Museum tells the story of the Panacea Society – a remarkable religious community formed in the early 20th century. For 90 years, members of the society quietly lived, worked and worshipped God in their community. The Panacea Museum is located in Castleside, it’s 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. The museum also incorporates several other buildings, set within the gardens, that formed the original community’s ‘campus’. Visit website

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Image credits: ©Arkady Chubykin/; Miles Leven/The Quarry Theatre at St Luke's; Paul Marco Photography/Trustees of Bunyan Meeting and John Bunyan Museum; The Higgins Bedford (Art Gallery & Museum)

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