Dunstable Downs, Chilterns Gateway Centre and Whipsnade Estate, Dunstable

4.5
#2 of 13 in Things to do in Dunstable
Nature / Park
Dunstable Downs are part of the Chiltern Hills, in southern Bedfordshire in England. They are a chalk escarpment forming the north-eastern reaches of the Chilterns. At 797 ft (243 m), Dunstable Downs are the highest point of the county of Bedfordshire.Because of its elevation, Dunstable Downs hosted a station in the shutter telegraph chain which connected the Admiralty in London to its naval ships in the port of Great Yarmouth during the years 1808 to 1814.Whipsnade Zoo has cut an enormous lion shape into the chalk into the side of one of the hills. The lion can be seen from the B489 (Aylesbury to Dunstable road).The downs are used by gliders, kite fliers, hang gliders and paragliders in the area because of their height. The London Gliding Club is based at the foot of the downs.Much of the downs are managed by the National Trust as part of the Dunstable Downs, Countryside Centre & Whipsnade Estate property.AscentsCentral Bedfordshire Council and the National Trust commissioned Architype architects to build a visitor centre known as the Chilterns Gateway Centre, on the very top of Dunstable Downs. The summit is right next to the B4541 road that crosses the hill, and so an ascent of the hill requires nothing more than getting out of a car at the highest point and walking across to the trig point.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
493 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Living in Dunstable I always tell people I meet about the wonderful views you get from the top of the downs. It's great for walking, cycling, kite flying or just having a picnic and watching the hand ...  more »
  • I actually live in the Chiltern hills but further south near Chinnor - so I'm blessed with beautiful views just by looking out the windows of my house. Non the less I regularly drive up to Dunstable d...  more »
  • Beautiful scenery. We visited the downs over the weekend and really enjoyed ourselves. Unfortunately, like most places now, you have to pay for parking that is £2.50 all day. It was fresh and windy an...  more »
Google
  • Nice place for a windy day. I personally Cycled here just for the view. It is said that you can see 5 counties from here on a clear day and if you are a photographer you will appreciate it. Bit of a ride if you cycle as there is a steep hill but worth it. If you're lucky may see some gliders! Nice place for families and flying kites and there is a place with food and coffee as well as a few small shops.
  • Lovely place to visit for a walk, with beautiful views.. And the chance to have a cuppa and a meal, or just a cheeky ice-cream. Perfect!
  • Such a scenic place. It gets very busy here especially if the sun comes out. A good selection of gifts and a cafe (possible long queues). Good to fly a kite on almost any day and why not finish it off with an ice cream from the van in the adjacent car park.
  • My favourite place. Go there every year for the annual kites festival in July. Amazing views , good Trek and ample space for parking and playing. Restaurant is not so good. Nothing special and the gifts shop is expensive.
  • Lovely place to walk your dog Go Fly a Kite on a nice sunny day there is also a visitor centre

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