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Will Bedford be Home to the UK’s First Universal Studios Theme Park?

Will Bedford be Home to the UK’s First Universal Studios Theme Park?
03 January 2024

Universal Studios has confirmed that it has purchased land near Bedford to explore its potential as a new theme park site. Let’s take a look at what we know so far.


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On December 19 2023, the news website Bedford Independent exclusively reported that 480 acres of land at Kempston Hardwick Brickworks had been purchased and that Universal Destinations & Experiences was in “the early stages of exploring its feasibility for a potential park and resort.”

Kempston Hardwick Brickworks was an industrial site that closed in the 1980s, and part of the site is subject to an agricultural tenancy. It is close to the A421 dual carriageway and has good connectivity thanks to its close location to Luton airport.


Registered Web Domains for UK Universal Theme Park


Theme park blog Orlando Park Stop had previously documented various rumours surrounding the story, predicting that the Bedford site was in line to be the home to the UK’s first Universal Studios theme park. They reported that NBC Universal had registered website domains that pointed to an interest in a UK site, such as “”.  


Acquisition of Cloud Wing UK Ltd


The blog’s report references documents from Universal Studios Parent Company Comcast which stated that in Q3 of 2023, $271 million were spent, “associated with the acquisition of land for potential theme park expansion opportunities.” Orlando Park Stop’s article also shows that Comcast acquired construction and property development company Cloud Wing UK Ltd and its land assets in 2023, including the Kempston Hardwick Brickworks site.

A letter to the residents has been circulating in the Bedford borough to notify them of the company's plans. Authored by John McReynolds of Universal Destinations & Experiences, the letter details the potential positive economic impact of the project. It reads: “Our destinations around the world — from the United States to Japan and China — are beautifully designed and landscaped resorts that offer world-class service and feature immersive experiences that invite people to step into the stories they have imagined in their hearts and minds. They also create thousands of jobs and generate significant positive economic impact, both locally and further afield. We are also committed to enhancing natural beauty and protecting the ecology of the areas where we operate.”

The Universal spokesperson confirmed that the project is in its infancy and the company is at the beginning of its feasibility study as part of their evaluation of potential sites.  A statement from the company reads: “It will be many months before we are ready to make a decision on whether to proceed. If we do decide to proceed with this project, we will secure all relevant approvals and consult with local communities.”

Picture: an image from Universal Studios in LA showing the iconic globe sculpture. Image Credit: Pixabay

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 03 January 2024


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