Dunstable Downs and Whipsnade Estate

Type:Country Park

Chiltern Gateway Centre, Whipsnade Road, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU6 2GY

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Tel01582 500 920

Dunstable Downs and Whipsnade Estate

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About

The wide-open spaces of Dunstable Downs make it a perfect place for a family day out. Whether you just want to have a picnic on the grassy downs, explore the footpaths and trails or just chill with friends and admire the view from the café with a cuppa, there’s lots to do for all ages.

Kite flying is a popular activity here and there’s even a special area for visitors to fly their kites safely. If you haven’t got your own kite, then we stock a selection that can be purchased from the visitor centre. If kite flying isn’t your thing, then there’s plenty of space for the children to run around and let off steam.

Dunstable Downs is part of the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and covers 1,000 acres of chalk grassland with some areas of woodland. Its important for wildlife and is home to rare orchids and butterflies. At the base of the Downs there are ancient archaeological burial mounds and Medieval rabbit warrens that can be explored by following our waymarked Stone Age walk.

We have two Tramper mobility scooters available for those with impaired mobility to use to explore the wider estate and plans later this year to create an accessible trail all the way to the nearby Whipsnade Tree Cathedral. Please contact us in advance to check availability for your visit.

Dunstable Downs is the highest point in the east of England and from our visitor centre (Chilterns Gateway Centre), you can see over the Vale of Aylesbury and across five counties. Hot meals, tasty snacks and drinks can be purchased from The View Café and there is indoor and outdoor seating from where you can sit and admire the spectacular view.

Dogs are very welcome to the Downs including in the visitor centre, but we ask that you keep them on a lead around the car park and visitor centre, and on the wider Downs between April and August to help protect ground-nesting birds. There are dog bins on site, and we sell poo bags and treats for your four-legged friend in our visitor centre.

We run a varied programme of events throughout the year from our hugely popular Easter egg trails to our Summer of Sport activities where you can come and use our free outdoor play equipment. Check out our website to see what’s on at Dunstable Downs.

The land belongs to Bedfordshire County Council but is managed by the National Trust.

Facilities

Accessibility

  • Disabled access
  • Wheelchairs available

Booking & Payment Details

  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)

Catering

  • On-site catering
  • On-site light refreshments
  • Picnic site

Children

  • Baby changing facilities

Groups

  • Education/study area
  • Guided tours for groups

Parking

  • Free Parking - For National Trust members
  • Parking with charge

Property Facilities

  • Dogs Accepted
  • Gift shop
  • Public toilets

Target Markets

  • Coach parties accepted

Map & Directions

Road Directions

Please visit Dunstable Downs via the B4541 west of Dunstable. Please note Sallowsprings road is a private road with no through access onto Dunstable Downs.

Parking: Dunstable Downs, off B4541 (pay and display. Free for National Trust members. Non-members £3.50 per day); Whipsnade crossroads (Whipsnade Heath), junction of B4541 and B4540

SatNav: Use LU6 2GY

Public Transport Directions

Centrebus runs a service from Dunstable to St Albans, via Dunstable Downs, Mondays to Saturdays (number 34). There is a new 'Circular' bus service (number 40) from Dunstable Asda to Dunstable Square stopping at Dunstable Downs. There is no service on Sundays or Bank Holidays. Please check bus services with Centrebus before travelling.  ​

Opening Times

Dunstable Downs* (1 Jan 2022 - 31 Dec 2022)
DayTimes
Chilterns Gateway Centre and The View Cafe (1 Mar 2022 - 31 Oct 2022)
DayTimes
Monday - Sunday10:00 - 17:00

* *Open from dawn until dusk.

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