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History of Dunstable

History of Dunstable
  • council: Central Bedfordshire
  • population: 33,805
  • phone code: 01582
  • postcode area: LU5, LU6
  • county: Bedfordshire
  • twin Towns: Bourgoin-Jallieu, France

For centuries Dunstable has welcomed visitors to our town centre and you can be sure of an equally warm welcome today.

The Romans found Dunstable a welcome staging post en-route to Wales and the north along the Watling Street (A5).
Successive Norman Kings found our unique location at the junction of Watling Street and the prehistoric Icknield Way (A505) in an inviting gap in the Chiltern Hills an ideal place to visit. They maintained a royal hunting lodge, which is today the site of the luxury Old Palace Lodge Hotel, and established an Augustinian Priory. The Priory Church of St Peter still displays the original spectacular Norman west front and the rest of the Priory site is now maintained as beautiful gardens.

In 1131, King Henry I granted the Priors authority to regulate markets which have been held continuously near our prehistoric crossroads ever since.
The market today is held every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Other retailers have become established over the years and today we boast numerous specialist shops as well as three modern shopping precincts.

After the dissolution of the Priory, Dunstable developed as an important coaching centre and many of the historic coaching inns and taverns remain today. They will welcome you with a wide selection of food and drink as will our extensive range of international restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets.

Whether passing through Dunstable or using the town as a gateway to the Chiltern Hills, make sure you allow time to discover the delights of Dunstable town centre itself.

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