Priory House - Heritage Centre, Tourist Information Centre and Tea Rooms
Priory House By Helen Walker-Sygrove
This beautiful Grade 2* listed building was bought by Dunstable Town Council with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2003 and converted into a heritage centre for the town.
The original part of the building dates back to the early 1200’s possibly built with money from a Derbyshire benefactor to add to the number of hostelries in Dunstable to cope with visitors to the Priory. The design follows traditional hall and cellar buildings with a magnificent example of a groyne vaulted ceiling in the Undercroft.
The building was extended at the back from around 1670 onwards and had renovations which left the building with a distinctive Georgian facade replacing the original front wall and is now the heritage centre for the town which has exhibition galleries housing information relating to Dunstable’s history and heritage.
Through Priory House, Dunstable Town Council produces a series of Heritage Trails with support from both Dunstable & District Local History Society and the Dunstable Town Guides. These are walks which follow trails around the town highlighting, among others, the Hat Industry, Coaching Inns and a delightful trail pointing out odd and unusual facts.
It is also home to the traditional Priory House Tea Rooms which is currently the only establishment in Bedfordshire having membership to the prestigious Tea Guild.
Dunstable Tourist Information Centre is located at Priory House and from which coach and some train tickets can be bought. As well as supplying local information, there is also a gift shop which specialises in promoting local crafts and has a range of gifts by local artisans as well as souvenirs of Dunstable.
In addition to this, Dunstable & District Local History Society is based at Priory House and is happy for visitors to come and discover more of the history of the town through the archives.
Dunstable has its own Town Guides who organise regular story telling sessions about local history and other subjects of interest called Tea Time Tales in the Meeting Room at priory House, which houses a rare wall painting from around 1600. They also offer guided walks and Ghost Walks which can be booked through the Tourist Information Centre.
Priory House is open from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Saturday with the Tea Rooms closing at 4.30 pm.
|Priory Churches / Lands|
|Charters & Bylaws|
|Sheep & Wool Trade|
|Annals Charters Valor Ecc|
|Churches and Lands|
|The Augustinian Priory|
|The Canons Route|
|Book Sales & Shop|
|Tourist Information Centre|
|Priory House Heritage Centre|