Despite being far upriver from the sea, seals have occasionally been reported as swimming as far inland as Bedford. Transport in Bedford provides links between the town and other parts of England. The town is served by two railway stations and a network of bus services. The new Greyfriars surface car park and the refurbished Allhallows multi-story car park both implement a pay on foot system. Greyfriars occupies parking spaces, including 7 designated disabled spaces, although there is a 2-hour per day parking limit.
Bedford previously operated a three-tier education system, which was arranged into lower , middle and upper schools , as recommended in the Plowden Report of The arrangement was put to the vote in with a view to moving to the two-tier model, but was rejected. However, following the defeat of the Labour Government in , the new coalition government announced that the funding necessary for the switch to a two-tier system would no longer be available.
As a result, the switch proceeded on a school by school basis as national funding was due to cover most of the cost. However, in July , the Council announced the intention to support the transition to a system of two tier education across the whole Borough in a coordinated way. At the time, only the Wootton cluster of schools chose to not to transition.
As of September all of the towns schools have converted to two-tier.
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Bedford is home to four private schools run by the Harpur Trust charity, endowed by Bedfordian Sir William Harpur in the 16th century. These are:. Smaller private institutions include Rushmoor School boys aged 3—16, girls 3—11 St. Andrew's School girls aged 3—16, boys 3—9 , and Polam School boys and girls aged 12 months to 9 years , none of which are part of the Harpur Trust. Bedford hosts a campus of the University of Bedfordshire , which prior to a merger with the University of Luton in had been a campus of De Montfort University itself now solely based in Leicester. For further education, the town is served by Bedford College.
Additionally, Stella Mann College is a private college, which offers a range of further education courses relating to the performing arts. There are four from the Newfrontiers network, as well as Polish, Arab, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian Roman Catholic churches, LDS Mormon meeting houses, Greek and Russian Orthodox churches, Anglican churches and various independent churches and other places of worship that cater to the different ethnic and language groups. There are four mosques in the town, and also Buddhist and Hindu temples. Bedford has the largest Sikh gurudwara the United Kingdom outside London, alongside two other Sikh gurudwaras; one of which is in Kempston.
Bedford has Guru Ravidass and Valmiki temples. There are Quaker , Jehovah's Witness and Wiccan communities who meet in the town. There is no longer a synagogue in Bedford, but Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue,  based in Luton , meets in Bedford once a month for the town's Jewish community. Bedford is the former headquarters of the Panacea Society who believed that the town would have an important role in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ , and that Bedford was the original location of the Garden of Eden. The museum has local history collections, while the galleries have notable collections of watercolours, prints and drawings, ceramics, glass and lace.
The Panacea Museum tells the story of the Panacea Society , a religious community formed in the early twentieth century. The Bedford Corn Exchange is the largest entertainment venue in the town and plays host to a variety of performances, meetings, conferences, concerts and private functions. The venue has been host to many great entertainers such as Glenn Miller and Bob Hope. The University of Bedfordshire Theatre is the largest theatre in Bedford and hosts many larger productions as well as projects from the university.
Esquires one of the town's premier live music venues regularly plays host to many notable bands and acts from all over the United Kingdom as well as showcasing local live music. Every two years, an event called the " Bedford River Festival " is held near the river in Bedford during early July. The event lasts for two days and regularly attracts about , visitors.
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The event includes sports, funfairs and live music. It is the second largest regular outdoor event in the United Kingdom, beaten in numbers only by the Notting Hill Carnival. Other annual events include "Bedford by the Sea" when large quantities of sand are deposited in the town centre , the "Bedford International Kite Festival" and "Bedford Festival of Motoring" in June. Bedford's special brand of the ordinary has resulted in regular small TV and radio appearances, for instance the joyful episode of Mark Steel's in Town  contrasting with the less enthusiastic treatment in "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert".
There is a long-standing sporting heritage in Bedford Borough with long established rugby and football clubs. Bedford has four rugby union teams called Bedford Blues , Bedford Queens, Bedford Swifts and Bedford Athletic , and, since , has also a rugby league team; Bedford Tigers , who compete one tier below the National Conference.
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Bedford Blues are currently in the second tier of English rugby, but have previously been in the top division. Bedford Blues RFC's Goldington Road ground holds in the region of 5, spectators with an average gate of 3, for home games.
Taking into account the size of its overall urban area, Bedford is one of the largest towns in England without a fully professional football team. Bedford Town F. Rowing is also a major part of the sports scene with a number of regatta events hosted throughout the year from February to October; the most significant of these being Bedford Regatta, which in terms of numbers of crews participating is the second largest in the country. Bedford and the surrounding borough was a major host of national teams preparing for the Summer Olympics and Paralympics. With the exception of Weymouth which hosted various sailing events Bedford accommodated more Olympic teams in than any other town or borough in the United Kingdom.
Bedford Hospital is a district general hospital that operates from two sites in the town, providing a wide range of services, although patients requiring advanced health services are referred to specialist units elsewhere, particularly Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge , which has a partnership with Bedford Hospital. Bedford Hospital's catchment area is based on the Borough of Bedford and parts of Central Bedfordshire.
The Bedfordshire Police is responsible for policing in Bedford, and operates a main police station in the town centre. Bedford's fire station is in the Newnham area of the town, and is staffed 24 hours a day. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. County town of Bedfordshire, England. For the larger local government district, see Borough of Bedford. For other uses, see Bedford disambiguation. See also: History of Bedfordshire. Bedford Bridge in This version of the bridge was replaced in Bedford Castle Hill.
Main article: Transport in Bedford. See also: List of schools in Bedford.
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See also: Sport in Bedfordshire. England portal. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 26 July Bedford Borough Council. Archived from the original on 8 December Retrieved 29 March Bedfordshire Archaeological Council Publications. Bedfordshire Libraries.
Bedford County Conservation District
Archived from the original on 1 December Retrieved 10 February English Historical Documents c. The Bunyan Press. Archived from the original on 26 July Bedford Corn Exchange. Bedfordshire County Council. Archived from the original on 27 August Retrieved 3 March Archived from the original on 29 June Archived from the original on 15 July Met Office. July Archived from the original on 9 January Retrieved 16 June BBC — Legacies. Archived from the original on 19 January Bedfordshire Buildings and Monuments.
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