What’s on Bedford: 14 – 24 July 2022


It’s here… the only one-stop what’s on guide with the best of everything that’s happening in Bedford over the next 10 days. From film to live music, markets to comedy, dance music to theatre, we’ve got it all and it’s right on your doorstep.

Coming up, we’ve got the River Festival, Bedfringe and Bedford Park Concerts. What a summer to look forward to!

Until 4 September 2022

Family fun: Future Bedford children’s art competition
The Higgins Bedford, Castle Lane
Free entry

Visions of the future of Bedford as imagined by local school children are on display at the Higgins Bedford as part of the Harpur Trust’s bi-annual art competition.

An exhibition of the prize-winning works has been curated by the team at the Higgins Bedford and is on display in the Sir William Harpur Gallery until 4 September. Entry is free.

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Storytelling: Jackastory
The Place Theatre @ 10.30am
Tickets: Pay What You Can

Join The Place Team twice a month at 10.30am for Jackastory

Listen to members of The Place team read their chosen children’s stories and discover some new favourites of your own. You are welcome to bring your own book suggestions with you too.

Each session runs for forty-five minutes to an hour, with a break for refreshments. This will be a very relaxed event with young, and old, being invited to join the readers on the stage in an intimate and friendly atmosphere, on a mound of comfortable cushions.
(Aimed at two-five-year-olds, but all ages welcome)

Wednesday 20 July 2022

On the River: Mercure Hotel Afternoon tea Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Priory Marina 2pm
Tickets: £30

Enjoy a relaxing afternoon cruise on the River Great Ouse, have Afternoon Tea* at the Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel enjoying the views over the river before returning by boat to Priory Marina.

A John Bunyan cruise for those who enjoy a relaxing time on the river coupled with a delicious afternoon tea.

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Film: Stalker
Cinema @ St Peters @ 7pm
Tickets: £9/£10.50/£12

In an unnamed country at an unspecified time, there is a fiercely protected post-apocalyptic wasteland known as The Zone.

An illegal guide (Aleksandr Kajdanovsky), whose mutant child suggests unspeakable horrors within The Zone, leads a writer (Anatoliy Solonitsyn) and a scientist (Nikolay Grinko) into the heart of the devastation in search of a mythical place known only as The Room.

Anyone who enters The Room will supposedly have any of his earthly desires immediately fulfilled.

Thursday 21 July 2022

On the river: Jazz Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Newnham Steps 7.30pm
Tickets: £23

Enjoy a relaxing evening of jazz as the sun goes down on board the John Bunyan Boat as we cruise along Bedford’s upper river Great Ouse along the Embankment with the Richard Exall Trio.

Richard Exall and Amy Roberts met while touring with the Big Chris Barber Band. They perform on a range of instruments including tenor sax, clarinet, flute and vocals focusing on the great traditional jazz standards of the 30’s and 40’s.

They are joined by Dave Browning, an absolute master of stride piano and will treat us to tunes from the likes of Fats Waller, Errol Garner, Teddy Wilson and many more.

Thursday 21 – Sunday 31 July 2022

Festival: Bedford Festival Fringe
The Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s
Ticket prices vary

For the 15th year, the International Bedford Festiva Fringe – Bedfringe – will be back in the heart of the town this July, including a performance from actor, comedian and impressionist, Jon Culshaw.

Returning to the Quarry Theatre, Bedfringe will run from Thursday 21 – Sunday 31 July, bringing a programme of top-quality comedy, theatre, live music, film, dance, physical theatre, spoken word, poetry and children’s theatre to our doorstep.

The full programme of over 120 events is now live on their website.

“Expect to see 120+ events in 11 days across three venues,” said Bedfrdinge director, James Pharaoh.

“Hopefully there will be something for everyone.”

Friday 22 July 2022

Live music: Speedvark
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £5 / £2

Space rock from a band with strong Bedford roots, Speedvark will be playing some of their original songs plus a few classic rock bangers for a start-of-summer party.

“These are our first shows since the 1990s,” said band member, Pete Flatt. “We’ve been practising for the last 27 years, so it should be ok.”

Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 July 2022

Festivals: Bedford River Festival
Free entry

It’s back!

This year’s River Festival returns after a three-year hiatus and we are so ready for it.

There are lots of new additions this year, including Bands on the Bridge, the BBC Introducing Music stage, a vegan lounge as well as the One Hundred Motoring Exhibition along Bedford High Street and St Paul’s Square.

As ever, there will be lots of fun on the river, plus plenty to see and do, from live music to sports activities, historical reenactments to food and drink.

Read: Everything you need to know about Bedford River Festival 2022

Find out more at the Explore Bedford website and also the Bedford River Festival official website.

Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 July 2022

Family fun: Swords and shields craft activity at the River Festival
The Higgins Bedford 11am – 5pm
Free entry

For this year’s Bedford River Festival, take a moment to stop by The Higgins and join in free family crafts inspired by Bedford Castle and make swords and shields to take home.

No need to book, just drop in.

Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Please be aware that places are limited and there may be a wait to start.

Sunday 24 July 2022

Live music: Skimmington Ride play the Sunday Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires @ 5pm
Free entry

Skimmington Ride make their debut at the legendary Esquires’ Sunday Afternoon Session.

Until January 2023

Exhibition: Edward Bawden: Artist Plantsman
Higgins Bedford
Free entry but timed tickets required

Every day, influential British artist and designer, Edward Bawden, would spend an hour in his garden at his home in Great Bardfield before starting work in his art studio. Plants and gardens were one of the most prominent and constant subjects of not only his work but also his life.

Drawn exclusively from the Edward Bawden archive, explore Bawden’s lifelong love of plants and gardens through a wide range of his work, including early wallpaper designs, well-known prints, advertising campaigns and private commissions.

From the grand gardens of Carthage and the botanical gardens at Kew, to Bawden’s own gardens at his parent’s home in Braintree and his beloved one-acre plot in Great Bardfield, discover Bawden’s passion for plants and gardens across decades of his work, featuring pieces that have never before been on public display.

Until October 2022

Exhibition: Body & Soul
The Higgins Bedford
Free entry

Edvard Munch (1863–1944), Woman with a Brooch (Madonna), 1903 © The Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery

A new exhibition exploring how women have been represented in art over the past two centuries, opens at The Higgins Bedford on 2 April.

Read: Body & Soul: Higgins’ new exhibition explores the representation of women in art

Highlights in the Body & Soul exhibition – all drawn from the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery Collection – include artworks by Edgar Degas, Edvard Munch, Dora Carrington, Stanley Spencer, Henri Matisse, Gwen John, Roy Lichtenstein, Lucian Freud and Chila Burman.

Theatre highlights by Paula Walker