Thursday, May 9

The student's guide to Bedford

Heading off to uni this year? Hurrah! Time to make new friends, set out on the journey of life and party! Oh, and study. Don't forget to study.

But when you're taking a well deserved break from that stack of books, there are a few places in Bedford that should be top of your to-do list.  Our guide to brilliant Bedford will keep you entertained from day to night, whatever your budget.



* Budget eats

There are plenty of reasonably priced places to eat in Bedford, meaning there's no need to live on beans on toast. A number of budget buffets can be found around the Tavistock Street area, so dig out your stretch pants and head out for some all-you-can-eat.

For fun and filling fare, check out The Sizzling Wok on The Broadway, where chefs cook up your own choice of ingredients for a top-notch feast at a knock-down price.

When you do decide to cook for yourself, you can keep it tasty and healthy by grabbing some fresh bargains at the town markets, held every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

* See the sights

Find out more about where you are and impress your new arts faculty friends. Take yourself on a history tour around town and enjoy an abundance of free and interesting experiences such as the Bedford Museum, the Bunyan Museum, Castle Mound and St Paul's Church, boasting over 700 years of history.

After devouring a few buffets, you'll need to keep active as well - there are several cheap gyms at the University of Bedfordshire, as well as dance studios, sports halls and 41 different competitive teams to try out for. If you'd rather get some space out in the fresh air then hiring a boat on the rowing lake near the river is a great way to spend an afternoon (or a first date)…

* Impress your friends

Show your friends why Bedford can give any city a run for its money. There's plenty to do here in terms of shopping, eating and drinking and the town is very ethnically diverse, resulting in a mouth-watering range of different dining options. Tavistock Street offers up a plethora of tasty treats at great prices, whilst nearby, The Angel hosts a selection of live music nights and reasonable drinks.

For a unique slice of Bedford life, be sure to take friends to see a rugby match at Goldington Road, home to the mighty Bedford Blues rugby union team. Bedford is one of the largest towns in the country without a league football club, meaning rugby is the focus here. Student tickets start at only £8 (www.bedfordrugby.co.uk), so wrap up warm and get your cheering voice ready.

* Family fun

Got the family arriving but the thought of picking those pizza boxes off the floor is just too much? Never fear! They can relax in a comfortable Premier Inn (http://www.premierinn.com/en/hotel/BEDMAR/bedford-south-a421) without breaking the bank and you can keep your artistic collection of traffic cones and beer bottles just the way you like them.

If your parents are paying, take the chance to get scrubbed up and head for one of the restaurants on the embankment. The AA rosette winning River Room Restaurant offers up spectacular views of the great River Ouse with a selection of classic dishes made from fresh local produce.

* Home comforts

When you move away, there are lots of new friends to be made and even more fun to be had. And Bedford is the perfect place to do this, with its lively, student friendly feel and thriving social scene.

But as fun as it all is, sometimes you just want a few home comforts. You might still be lumbered with your own dirty washing, but at least you can get a Sunday roast just like mum makes down at the Tavistock Pub & Carvery. This refurbed restaurant offers a tasty carvery every day of the week for under a tenner - and if you're prepared to have your Sunday roast on Saturday, it'll save you another couple of quid.