Ampthill is a Georgian market town between Bedford and Luton. People have been trading local produce at the markets here for centuries and continue today. In 2019, the market celebrated its 800th birthday.
Ampthill benefits from excellent commuter links as it’s located near the M1 as well as the A6 (which links Luton to Bedford). Luton is a 30-minute drive from Ampthill, and you can also travel easily to Milton Keynes in just over 20 minutes. Flitwick train station is just under two miles away and has direct trains to London taking approximately 40 minutes.
Ampthill has excellent schools. There’s The Firs, Russell Lower Schools, Alameda Middle School, and Redborne Upper School. There’s also a number of independent schools nearby, including the renowned private Harpur Trust schools in Bedford.
Many of the shops and eateries are housed within buildings from the Tudor period, which adds to the experience and the characterful look of them. Ampthill has more independent shops than almost anywhere else in the country, making it a cool place to spend a Saturday. Ampthill Antiques Emporium houses a treasure trove of interesting finds, The Wardrobe is a lovely women’s boutique on Market Square, and there’s the independent wine shop, Cambridge Wine Merchants, which is housed in a gorgeous building that’s over 300 years old.
There are plenty of cafes, such as Ampthill Deli and Kitchen, the Cottage Bakery, and The Coffee Pot. Ampthill’s a great place to go out for a meal too, with Italian restaurants like Donatello’s Pizza & Pasta and Fratelli Italian Restaurant, and Indian food from Alameda Indian Restaurant and Raj Gate Tandoori.
The White Hart pub is a historic Georgian building that used to be a traditional coaching inn. It now serves delicious meals like grilled steak, pizza and home comforts like slow-roasted shoulder of lamb.
The town’s Waitrose supermarket was developed at the same time as the large housing and shopping development, Oxlet House. The town is still growing, with several additional housing developments being built since then. There are a lot of useful amenities here, such as doctor’s surgeries, dentists, a pharmacy, and fire and ambulance stations.
Ampthill Great Park is a popular place to visit with its beautiful views from Greensand Ridge. The park was landscaped by Capability Brown in the 18th century, has plenty of walking trails and woodland, as well as play parks and a central cafe. Ampthill Park is said to have been one of Henry VIII’s favourite hunting grounds when he used to stay at the castle. The park also encompasses the vibrant football and cricket club and also hosts the community Rugby Club which was founded in 1888.
Ampthill is steeped in interesting history especially relating to Tudor royals. Henry VIII has very strong links with the town; Katherine of Aragon was held in Ampthill castle, and it was here, sat in The Great Dining Room, that she learned that she was to divorce Henry VIII. The site of the former castle is now marked by a cross, which was erected in 1770 in Ampthill Great Park.