History & Tourism

Much of Ampthill's unique charm is owed to the residents of Ampthill Park House. Lord Upper Ossory reorganised the layout of the Market Square, built the charming thatched Ossory Cottages and erected the Katherine Cross. Lord Ossory's nephew, Lord Holland, endowed the town with its fine avenue of lime trees, the Alameda (Grade II listed).

Henry III granted a charter for a weekly market to be held on a Thursday (1219). In 2019 the Market will celebrate its 800th anniversary.

Just beyond the town centre is the park, site of Ampthill's former castle, here Henry VIII would come and hunt. It was in the castle's Great Dining Room that Queen Katherine of Aragon defiantly received news of the end of her marriage. Today, a cross erected in the 1770s marks the site of this important building which is set within Ampthill Great Park, a 'Capability' Brown landscape. North of the town the majestic remains of Houghton House, a Jacobean mansion, can be seen. Once the home to the Bruce family (Earls of Ailesbury and Elgin) who served their Stuart kings most honourably. It was spectacularly dismantled in 1794.

Richard Nicolls, first Governor of New York, was born and buried in Ampthill, 1624-1672 (born at Great Lodge in Ampthill Park). On the command of James ll, Duke of York, he was sent to recover the territory of New Amsterdam from the Dutch. He received their surrender in 1664 and renamed it New York in honour of his commander. He remained there as Governor until 1668 when he returned to Ampthill. 

For more information about places to visit please go to: Experience Bedfordshire

Walking Routes: visit letsgo.org.uk

Cycle Hire: Route 51 cycles, 01234 767451 (please note that cycling is not permitted within Ampthill Great Park)

Buses: Contact Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or visit traveline.info

Train: The nearest station is two miles away at Flitwick. Visit Trainline or National Rail