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The Barns Hotel makes the perfect base to enjoy the local attractions and countryside. The historic county town of Bedford dates back to before Saxon times. Take a stroll along The Embankment, one of the country's finest river settings - then follow in the footsteps of preacher and author John Bunyan ('The Pilgrim's Progress'). To the north are pretty limestone villages with warm and welcoming village inns and pubs, many of which were used by airmen, including Glenn Miller, based at the WWII airbases in the area during the War. To the east, the giant airship hangers at Cardington and the world famous Shuttleworth collection at Old Warden Park provide an insight into Bedfordshire's history of aviation innovation.
Head south to Ampthill, a Georgian market town with picturesque narrow streets. The nearby park was once a favourite hunting spot for Henry VIII. Lovers of antiques should also head to the Georgian town of Woburn and the magnificent Woburn Abbey - home of the Duke of Bedford. Set in a beautiful 3,000 acre deer park, with 10 species of deer roaming free, today it is occupied by the 15th Duke and his family. The Abbey lies at the heart of the Duke of Bedford's Estate and houses one of the most impressive and important private collections of art, furniture and porcelain on public view. Woburn is a special place full of history, ancient tales and beautiful objects.
For some fresh air, take a visit to the Dunstable Downs. This chalk grassland is a wildlife haven, and being the highest point in the East of England, has outstanding views over the Vale of Aylesbury and the Chiltern Ridge. For a walk on the wild side, visit Woburn Safari Park where you can combine the excitement of a Safari drive with the fun of taking the Foot Safari round the Wild World Leisure Area. Meet the animals, enjoy the many demonstrations, keeper talks and feeding times.
For shoppers, Milton Keynes is one of the major retail centres in the UK. With its huge range of high street stores, markets, superstores as well as smaller specialist shops, it really is a shopper's haven.