Review: Longholme Life is a Bedfordian treat you just have to experience

The Longholme Cafe is on the banks of Longholme Lake. Image: The Longholme Cafe.
The Longholme Cafe is on the banks of Longholme Lake. Image: The Longholme Cafe.

With spring approaching it’s a perfect time to talk about The Longholme, one of Bedford’s most popular spots to enjoy delicious food and drink, especially as it makes the most of its location between Longholme Lake and the River Great Ouse.

The former Boating Lake Cafe was taken over by Tom and Andreas in 2017, who promptly renamed it The Longholme and took a small shed serving coffee and transformed it into one of Bedford’s must-try experiences, offering what they like to call ‘Longholme Life’.

Anyone who’s already been to The Longholme will tell you all about their experience of ‘Longholme Life’ an experience that I don’t think I’ve matched anywhere else in Bedford.

Facing the Longholme Lake, the views of the waterfowl going about their daily business, and the reeds gently swaying in the breeze, the backdrop is in my opinion one of the best in Bedford.

Especially as you’re far enough away from the Embankment to not be disturbed by passing traffic. All you can hear are the murmurs of other guests and the sound of local wildlife, it feels like being on holiday.

But it’s not just the location that makes the Longholme a must-visit. Tom, Andreas and the team have developed a menu perfect for al fresco dining, with simplistic quality, cafe style foods crafted with a wholesome, inspired approach.

Yes, a simple coffee, well made with locally roasted beans, will still deliver a shot of Longholme Life, but you could also choose to take time to dive in a little more.

Brunch vibes

Brunch vibes are a big thing at The Longholme, and whether it’s an excuse to let someone else take care of you on a weekend morning, or a mid-week break to meet colleagues and friends, their all day breakfasts and speciality dishes like the ever-popular Longholme hash (a personal favourite) and bagel bruncheon are a treat every Bedfordian has to experience.

The cafe has indeed settled into its own these past seven or so years. It’s naturally a struggle building a business impacted by the seasons and British weather, but Tom and Andreas have a passion that just won’t quit.

Not even the now annual flooding seems to get them down, with coffee being served again the second the waters recede.

In fact, even on the greyest of days, they’ll be happy to welcome in any dog walker or stubborn family who won’t let a little rain spoil their day, their smiles a welcoming sunshine substitute.

The cafe, right now, is still in soup season with a weekly guest flavour available. But, as the weather does turn to Spring and the bustle of life increases, it will be a beautiful moment to sit in the warming sun and watch a young family of ducks swim past or the local otters playing while you enjoy your coffee or a weekly special from chef Ollie Jones.

Changing their specials regularly means there’s always more than one reason to come back to The Longholme and this time they’ve partnered with Ollie Jones and two local businesses for an extra special treat.

When you order a special, you can have any drink including wine from The Flying Cork and beer from Brewpoint for just £1.

Even if all that doesn’t whet your appetite, then the Longholme team also allow visitors to enjoy the lake to its full potential by taking out one of their iconic Viking boats, which are well kept and hired out to walk-ins with a safety-first mantra, life jackets are available at no extra charge.

The Longholme can be found near to the Butterfly Bridge on Bedford’s Embankment and on the banks of Longholme Lake. Their sister cafe, The Kiosk, which offers coffee, tea, smoothies and cakes to go, is near the tennis courts in Russell Park. They are open:

Winter Hours:

Monday-Friday, 09:00-16:00
Saturday-Sunday, 09:00-16:00

Summer hours:

Monday-Friday, 09:00-16:00
Saturday-Sunday, 09:00-17:30

You can make a table reservation at the Longholme via their website or by calling 01234 954913.