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Dating from the Victorian era, the iconic black and white Embankment Inn stands proudly on the banks of Bedford's River Ouse. Renovated to reflect its Victorian heritage, it's now a vibrant pub with rooms oozing plenty of style and panache.

On sunny days, tuck into fresh seasonal dishes or enjoy a local Bombardier ale on the terrace as swans drift by and rowers skull in unison along the river. Inside, it's a lively local and business crowd who fill the bar for the beer, small-batch gins and the pub's Union hand-roasted coffee blend. Surrounded by pale grey walls and panelling, the Victorian heritage is still a big feature: think tiled fireplaces, comfy button backed chairs, velvet sofas and an eclectic mix of stools and tables.

There's a cosy dining room with petrol blue walls and a larger, elegant restaurant with wooden floors, green botanical wallpaper and open fireplace - the perfect place for parties and celebrations. Upstairs some of the 20 rooms have views of the Ouse but the suntrap terrace outside is still the best spot for a sundowner at this riverside flagship.

Rooms from

20 doubles: £90

Good to know

  • All major credit cards accepted
  • Disabled access (& 1 ground floor room)
  • Alfresco & private dining
  • Limited on-site parking
  • Dog stay: £10

Waves and water
Bag a riverside table and while away the afternoon alongside the water - plenty of the rooms feature river views too.

Family favourite
Children are welcome and can be accommodated overnight by arrangement. Kid-friendly versions of dishes from the seasonal menu are available too.

No car needed
Bedford station is within walking distance and the river is ideal to amble along by foot.


With high ceilings and generous Victorian proportions, rooms are light, airy and calm, decorated in soft blues and greys with colorful fabric headboards, crisp white linen and comfy sofas.

Each room has an individual touch - from the antique mirrors to retro angle-poise lamps or bright coloured pottery. All have Wi-Fi, quality teas and Union hand-roasted coffee as standard. The bathrooms are special and sparkling with a range of high quality toiletries, fluffy towels, bathrobes and some feature fabulous brass roll-top baths. Rooms 101, 102, 103 & 201 have an honesty bar and stunning river views, while the ground floor room in an adjoining Victorian cottage has full wheelchair access for guests. Dogs are allowed overnight in a few of the rooms.

Stroll beside the Ouse, by the boathouses and over little bridges - the perfect end to the day before falling into bed.

Restaurant & bar

The kitchen team are passionate about fresh, seasonal and quality ingredients sourced from around Britain - from Wye Valley asparagus to Yorkshire rhubarb, seafood delivered daily from Brixham day boats to Cornish lamb - and the menus reflect this.

Inside or outside by the river, order a few small plates which great for sharing over a drink or two, perhaps Padron peppers, hallomi fries with Bloody Mary ketchup or buttermilk fried chicken with Caesar sauce, best accompanied by chilled glass of Picpoul.

There are good vegetarian options too, as well as traditional pub classics and more refined dishes - scallops, watercress and tartare hollandaise, and duck breast with fondant potato and blueberry jus. Cheese lovers will enjoy nibbling on organic Cropwell Bishop, one of several British cheeses served on the excellent cheese platter.

Things to do

Twenty minutes from The Embankment is Houghton House, once a 17th-century mansion set amongst magnificent views. Built in 1615, it was supposedly the inspiration for the 'House Beautiful' in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress - its fascinating mix of Jacobean and Classical style make it a hit with both history and architectural buffs. Those interested in the author and Christian preacher John Bunyan can head to the museum dedicated to him - which tells the story of the Bedford novelist and his fascinating life.

A stone's throw from the river is Bedford Castle, built by the Normans soon after the invasion in order to dominate the Saxon settlement. Also nearby is Willington Dovecote, a 16th-century Dovecote and stable building in a tranquil spot beside Willington Church. As a nesting site for barn owls and kestrels, the dovecote is a great spot for avid birdwatchers. Special tours and events take place throughout the year, so keep an eye out for any seasonal activities.

Getting here


Nearest station: Bedford
Taxi from station: 7min (20min walk)
Drive: Huntingdon 38min; Cambridge 50min


6 The Embankment, Bedford, Bedfordshire MK40 3PD

Prices & availability