Explore Bedford’s new visitor guide encourages River Festival fans to return to the town

Katrina Allen (left) and Kathy Wright (second from right) at the Explore Bedford stall at the River Festival

The team from Explore Bedford were on hand at this year’s River Festival to launch their new visitor guide for tourists and to ask visitors and residents what they love about the town.

River Festival visitors were asked to take part in a short survey, with the chance to win an overnight stay at the Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel with dinner and breakfast, or an escape room for six people with Don’t Get Locked In Escape Rooms based in Allhallows.

Over a quarter of visitors from out of town

Findings showed that of the 28% of those surveyed who came from outside of Bedford and surrounding villages, a quarter of them were visiting the festival for the first time, and most had never visited Bedford before.

But all of them vowed to return, with the majority saying it was very likely they would be back soon.

Almost a fifth of visitors were at the River Festival for the first time

And of the Bedfordians who took the survey, 18% were visiting the festival for the first time.

Katrina Allen from Explore Bedford said: “We had a fantastic weekend talking to visitors and handing out our new visitor guides, plus leaflets for many of the wonderful attractions in Bedford.

“We helped people decide what they would do over the summer holidays with the kids, come up with days out for visiting relatives and helped people to find venues on the map.

“We loved showcasing Bedford to visitors, and especially enjoyed the challenge from some life-long Bedfordians to find something new for them to experience.”

John Bunyan boat
The John Bunyan boat continues to attract visitors to Bedford

As a partner member of Explore Bedford, Cathy Wright from Don’t Get Locked In Escape Rooms volunteered her time over the weekend to help on the stand.

She said: “Like many, it was my first River Festival and what an event it was.

“It was great to talk to visitors and Bedfordians alike and help them to uncover all the hidden gems of Bedford. We can’t wait to welcome the winner of the prize draw to our Escape Rooms experience.”

The survey showed that the Bedford River Festival is a huge attraction for visitors to the town and that with the right encouragement and information, visitors are keen to return to experience all the town has to offer.

Visitor Guides are now available across a number of outlets in Bedford and in neighbouring counties. Download a PDF of the guide here.

Or you can visit the explorebedford.co.uk website to plan your next day out in Bedford.

Businesses can contact explorebedford@outlook.com to enquire about becoming a member.

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