The Undercroft in Priory House
The beautiful Grade II* listed Priory House is built on the site of Dunstable Priory's guest house for travellers. The ground floor contains a splendid Thirteenth Century Groyne Vaulted Stone Ceiling and there is also an original Tudor fireplace.
On the dissolution of the monasteries the building became a private house from 1545. One of the earliest owners was the important local Crawley family who later owned Stockwood Park and who used part of the building as an early hospital for the mentally ill. In 1743 the original stone vaulted hall was incorporated into a much larger house with the Georgian facade and internal details we see today. By the nineteenth century Priory House was owned by the Munt family who built a hat factory next to it on the site of the present gateway from High Street South. The factory was demolished in 1907.
Since 1956 the building was occupied as offices, firstly by Dunstable Borough and South Bedfordshire District Councils and, more recently, by a private company. With the aid of a Heritage Lottery Grant, Dunstable Town Council has converted this magnificent piece of history and architecture into a Heritage and Tourist Information Centre.
Priory House Heritage Centre provides a focal point for access to, and participation in, heritage activities in the town. The main exhibition 'Dunstable; the Town at the Crossroads', also offers a fascinating insight into the incredible history of the area and a regular programme of events, demonstrations, talks and temporary exhibits, serve to enhance the visitor experience.
The building houses the Tourist Information Centre for the southern part of Bedfordshire. The Tourist Information Centre provides a gateway to the Priory House experience, the delights of the local area and acts as a guide to Great Britain and further afield!
Priory House is also the home of a unique gift shop that offers high quality gift ware to the discerning visitor. Merchandise includes items for birthdays, weddings and other special occasions, together with locally sourced products and pocket money gifts. The gift shop prides itself in having many locally made products on sale.
A visit to the fully licensed Priory House Tea Rooms for a selection of delicious hot and cold beverages, freshly prepared snacks, hot meals, Cakes and Sundaes, is further enhanced by the wonderful view across the beautifully kept Priory Gardens, stretching all the way to Priory Church of St. Peter.
Centrally located, Priory House is open from Monday to Saturday (except Bank Holidays) 10am to 4pm, with extended hours for special events and catered functions. Please note that the Priory House Tea Rooms are open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4.30pm. Further information on the range of events and activities taking place at the centre is also provided under this section of the website. Priory House is available to hire as a venue for functions and meetings. School and coach party bookings are also welcome.
For further information please contact:
Priory House Heritage Centre
33 High Street South
Tel: 01582 891420
Fax: 01582 890271
Tourist Information Centre and Gift Shop
Mon - Sat 10.00am - 16.00pm
Mon - Sat 10.00am - 16.30pm (last food orders 15.45pm)