The first recorded reference to Clifton is in 944 when it is referred to as Cliftune.
Clifton is also mentioned in the Domesday Book. The entry reads:
Cliftone: William de Cairon from Bishop of Lincoln, Eudo FitzHubert and Nigel d'Aubigny; Leofwin from St. Benedict's of Ramsey; Alwin from Countess Judith. 2 mills.
All Saints Church, built in the 14th and 15th centuries was heavily restored in the 19th century.
The church retains a 14th-century rood screen, and a charnel house in the grounds. It has the only fully working carillon in Bedfordshire.
About the village
Clifton village is now a popular place to live as a consequence of its good transport links and proximity to the railway station at Arlesey.
It is today largely residential, but in the past it was a centre for straw plaiting. The original All Saints school was a "Straw Plait School" where children were expected to learn to straw plait from as young as 4 years of age. They would also be taught to read.
There was also once a small factory producing bottled drinks. Harwoods Minerals Water Factory  operated from 1880 until 1947. Harwoods produced Hops Bitters, Cherry Cider, Stone Ginger Beer, Lime Juice and Soda, and Ginger Ale and sold them to the pubs and shops of all the surrounding villages.
Society and leisure
Samuel Whitbread Academy is in the village. Clifton was visited by the Queen and Prince Philip on 17 November 2006 as part of a visit to re-open the school.
Amongst the facilities in Clifton there are; Clifton lower school, a butcher, a post office/village store and two public houses (The Golden Lion and The Admiral). There is also an Indian restaurant, garage and petrol station, a hairdresser and a bicycle shop. At the Northern edge of the village is Clifton Cricket Club.
There is a duck pond in the middle of the village.
There is a large playing field. A community centre is built at the Northern corner of the playing field.
There are two BMX jumps in the playing field built by local young people.