- Don’t miss out on the stunning landscape of Dunstable Downs and its beautiful wildlife and plants.
- Join in on one of their many workshops and pick up a new skill.
- Discover the ancient history of a Bronze Age barrow cemetery at Five Knolls, at the northern end of the Downs.
- Be sure to check out the natural playground at Dunstable Downs, where kids can let their imaginations run wild.
Dunstable Downs and Whipsnade Estate is one of many great things to do in Bedfordshire. Kids love outdoor activities and exploring the open air, so this National Trust site is a great way to get the little ones exercising and a fantastic escape from everyday life.
Not only will the view at the top of Dunstable Downs take your breath away, but there are several Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designated for the quality of the chalk grasslands, meaning these spots are extra special. There are two ancient monuments, known as Five Knolls and Medieval Rabbit Warrens, and other historical features aplenty.
With miles of footpaths spanning across the chalk grasslands of the Downs and several circular trails, you won’t be short of great views and walks. Check out their trails and see what wildlife you can spot along the way.
A bracing walk up in the Bedfordshire hills is perfect for families. The area boasts rare wildlife, is dog friendly, and has prehistoric sites, and of course some exhilarating views spanning across the Vale of Aylesbury. Plus, because of the wind and breeze and grassy ridges, it's the perfect location to fly kites!
Be sure to check out the Dunstable Downs Five Knolls wildlife and heritage walk, which is one of the best in Bedfordshire. It’s an easy-to-follow walking route and is marked by numbered and lettered posts that showcase the rich variety of birds, insects and plant life that you might see on your journey on the chalk downs.
There’s lots of history to discover at the National Trusts's Dunstable Downs; you can discover how people from the prehistoric age, all the way up to recent times, lived in this unique area and landscape. You can visit the Armada fire beacon, check out some prehistoric mounds and explore the site of the Admiralty Signal station!
After some relaxing trails, exciting play areas and soaking up the surroundings and its history, there's a great cafe in the Chilterns Gateway Centre. Expect light snacks and tasty baked goods; in fact, it holds the record for the biggest scone ever baked! They host local produce markets on the first Sunday of each month to showcase the local community, and even do craft days for younger children on Thursdays during term time.
What to know before you go
- There’s no food at Whipsnade Tree Cathedral but there is food at the Dunstable Downs visitor centre.
- There are toilet facilities available, situated next to the main car park. Please note that there are no toilet facilities inside the main building.
- There are baby-changing facilities available within the toilets. There are accessible toilets too.
- For visitors with access needs, there is mobility parking in the main car park, which is just 20 yards away. The grounds are mostly and partly accessible on multi-user routes. There is level access to Chilterns Gateway Centre, plus all picnic benches have wheelchair access.
- The site is accessible for wheelchairs and buggies for the most part as the ground is flat, although there are some uneven areas.
- The closest train station is Luton train station and this is 7 miles from Dunstable Downs. Once at Luton, you can take the number 35 Centrebus route, which will take you directly to Dunstable Downs.
- The Centrebus route 34 runs a service on Mondays to Saturdays from Dunstable to St Albans, that goes via Dunstable Downs. Plus, there is a new number 40 Circular bus service, which runs from Dunstable Asda to Dunstable Square and stops at Dunstable Downs. Unfortunately, there are no services running on Sundays or Bank Holidays.
- By car, you can reach Dunstable Downs via the B4541 west of Dunstable. It is important to note that Sallowsprings road is a private road with no through access onto Dunstable Downs. For the satnav, use LU6 2GY.
- There is pay-and-display parking at Dunstable Downs, just off B4541, or Bison Hill which is situated off B4540, or on Whipsnade crossroads (Whipsnade Heath).
- Routes Bridleway from West Street, Dunstable, and Whipsnade are good for bicycles.