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Longholme Cafe and Boat Hire - Coronavirus update

Update 11.02.21 

We are currently open for  take away only.

We have created an efficient service designed to be contact free where possible that has had many positive customer comments, to make changes at this stage would prove ineffective in our opinion and complicated to deliver for such a rapid service.  

It’s not all bad news! 

You can still visit us for:

Picnic bags, hot drinks, cakes, cold drinks, gelato and snacks to take away @ The Longholme 7 days a week, 09:00 – 17:30. 

Fresh juices, great coffee, smoothies and snacks 7 days a week @ The Kiosk

09:00 – 17:30. 

We are currently only accepting card payments, please use contactless payments if possible when you pay & make use of the hand gel provided on your next visit. 

Our staff remain vigilant on all the safety precautions we have made, please continue to show your support by waiting patiently while they serve you safely. These include the sanitation of high touch areas and hand washing when timers sound and as needed. 

Please be advised that our toilets remain closed as these are reserved for staff use only as part of our risk assessment. 

Thank you for supporting all local business at this time and doing your bit to keep Bedford safe. 


Hidden back from the main road over the river you can find us on Longholme Island between the upper & lower Great River Ouse.  The Longholme Café sits lake side with ever changing views, plentiful wildlife.


Hire one of the iconic Viking boats and get the kids out on the water for 30/60 minutes boat hire this summer. The boats are open from April – October generally subject to fair weather conditions, there is no need to book just come along on the day. If the weather is a looking off please call in advance to check the service is running 01234 9549132.

The lake itself is shallow, set on 5.8 acres and built as a labour project. Donated to the town in 1923 as a result of the generosity of the Rotary Club and its members, in association with the Charles Wells brewery now managed by Bedford Borough council & volunteers. In recent years the lake has bloomed with wildlife and is home to a wide range of birds, fish and wild animals – including otters! When you hire your boat your free to row across the waterway and lose yourselves on an adventure that really could place you anywhere.

Boat Hire 

Row Boats life jackets available

We have 11 large row boats.

These boat are easy to row and can take up to 4 people. 

Don't worry we can show you how if you have never tried before.

A unique choice for boat hire in Bedford. 

Bookings are not available for boat hire at this time. 

Peddle Boats – life jackets available

We have 4 peddle boats available to hire. 

These boats seat up to 4 people.

Operated by foot, both backwards and forwards.

Use a central rudder control to navigate the lake

Make sure to take turns, it is a good workout 

The best way to see The Embankment 


Who to contact


Where to go

Longholme Cafe & Hire, Longholme Boating Lake
The Embankment
MK40 3QF
Get directions

Time / Date Details

When is it on
7 days a week, 9am – 5:30pm
Time of day

Other Details


Prices 30 minutes - £10.00 60 minutes - £15.00 £10 Deposit per boat Cash & card welcome
Age Bands
11-14 years old
18-25 years old
15-17 years old
0-4 years old
5-10 years old