Dunstable Downs, Chilterns Gateway Centre and Whipsnade Estate, Dunstable

(4.5/5 based on 460 reviews on the web)
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.
Take a look at our Dunstable holiday planner to schedule your visit to Dunstable Downs, Chilterns Gateway Centre and Whipsnade Estate and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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  • Been going here since I was a child. It's a lovely place to walk and watch the gliders. With the addition of the visitors centre you can grab a hot drink and something to eat. There is a good selectio...  more »
  • The views across the Chilterns are stunning. On a clear evening the sunsets can be exceptional also. Apart from the beautiful scenery it is a great place to watch the gliders take off and land as well...  more »
  • On a clear day the views are second to none. You can admire the scenery or watch the gliders or hang gliders take off and land. For young children there are plenty of wide open spaces to play and also...  more »
  • Staff are generally good actually. It is a great place to visit. But someone there actually thinks the cheapest kind of portaloo is a solution. They need to do more to capitalise on demand and invest more. A more successful business just using a little imagination will justify more investment. Say in additional outside toilet block and upgraded water supply/storage or at the very least, a portable toilet block trailer/portacabin on hire. At peak times, they close their toilets except for the heavily guarded disabled loo where a member of staff decides who looks disabled enough for admission based apparent age, hair colour or type of walking stick presented. Parents are sent with toddlers to the portaloos outside. Many a wee-covered toddler emerges from these hot hell-boxes barely able to breath, while parents must stand in the open doorways. They say that it is because the tanks do not fill up quickly enough to deal with demand. I suggest that they need to review their provisions and potentially reengineer. The parking fees are below average and raising at peak times could finance this. Honey pot areas are a vital part of wildlife conservation strategies and in order for them to work, the facilities need to be up to scratch.
  • Got a kite? Like fresh air? Partial for fresh soup and yummy cakes? If so, come and visit!
  • Nice views and walk. Great place for coffee and biscuit. Good place to ride your motorcycle too.
  • Great views. Great place to visit on a nice summer's day. Nice cafe/visitor centre with free toilets as well.
  • What a great place and atmosphere. Went there during kite festival and a great time. Only issue was that the toilets were out so they brought few mobile ones which were disgusting but had to use them for my little ones. What a shame!!!