Visit Dunstable and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Dunstable, Bedfordshire, is a moden town, still retaining a few ancient and some Victorian buildings. it was originally a royal market town established by Henry I when he founded the Augustinian priory here in 1131. Until the Dissolution it was of some consequence and at the priory the annulment of Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon was pronounced. Between 1742 and the coming of the railway it was a coaching town.
There is a Victorian town hall, with three bays and a turret, and the white Municipal Offices in the High Street are early-l9th-century with two pairs of Tuscan columns to the porch. Dunstable School, late Victorian, is of plum brick with a slender spire above it. Composed of two parts, it is linked with a square tower.
Most of the older buildings of interest are centred round the crossroads which are part of the ancient Icknield Way and Watling Street. Several have been preserved in West Street, the most important of which is the Windmill. In the High Street is the Sugar Loaf Hotel, dated 1717, of blue brick with red dressings, two and a half stories high with nine bays. The priory house has a fine early Georgian exterior with arched windows, a pedimented doorway and quoins and, on the ground floor, a long rib-vaulted room. The gardens are open to the public. Further south are the Cart Almshouses of 1723, a row of blue and red brick houses; and Chew Grammar School, 1719, founded by Jane Cart, has two figures of schoolboys over the doorway. It has a fine front with an unusual turret cupola.
St Peter's has substantial parts of the old priory church. The original nave, which is very wide, still remains. Massive wall-shafts separate the bays, and the interior, richly decorated, has been restored through the centuries. The font is large, circular and Norman, and the roodscreen has five bays and is elaborately carved. The square pulpit, of red marble, is Victorian, but the pulpit cloth was donated in 1732. The Fayrey Pail was a gift of Henry Fayrey, a wealthy merchant, for use as a coffin covering at funerals. It is of red brocade with figures embroidered on the borders and is believed to be Flemish. There are many interesting monuments dating from the 13th century. One, by Thomas Green of Camberwell, is of William Chew with two figures of naked boys and a death's head between them. The arch at the centre is draped and garlands decorate the top.
On the road towards Ivinghoe and Tring are fine views of Dunstable Downs.
Five Knolls is the finest prehistoric burial ground in the county, with eight sites consisting of two pond, three bell and three bowl barrows. It dates from the Early Bronze Age, but has earlier traces. In the largest and smallest mounds were found fragments of Neolithic and Beaker pottery when they were opened up. Two thousand years later pagan Anglo-Saxons were buried here.
Nearby towns: Leighton Buzzard, Luton, Tring
Nearby villages: Church End, Eaton Bray, Edlesboroughl, Holywell, Kensworth, Little Gaddesden, Studham, Toddington
Have you decided to visit Dunstable or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Dunstable bed and breakfast (a Dunstable B&B or Dunstable b and b)
- a Dunstable guesthouse
- a Dunstable hotel (or motel)
- a Dunstable self-catering establishment, or
- other Dunstable accommodation