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large town in Bedfordshire, England
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Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > England > East of England > Bedfordshire > Luton

Luton is a large town and local government district in the south-east of England, 51 km (32 miles) north of London. It used to part of the county of Bedfordshire, but since 1997 it has been an administratively independent unitary authority. It remains part of Bedfordshire for ceremonial purposes. The town is known internationally primarily because of London Luton Airport, the home airport and headquarters of the low cost airline Easyjet.

UnderstandEdit

Luton is a multicultural town with a population of towards 200,000. It used to be known as a centre of the straw and hat making industry: hence "The Hatters", the nickname of Luton's football club. One or two hat making factories remain in and around the Old Bedford Road area of the town. Luton was later known as the home of Vauxhall cars and Whitbread brewing. Both are now shadows of their former selves.

  • Luton Tourist Information Centre, Luton Central Library, St. George's Square, +44 1582 401579.

Get inEdit

By trainEdit

Luton has three railway stations, one in the town centre, one close to the airport and one towards the north of the town.

  • 1 Luton Station. Served by Thameslink and East Midlands trains. From Luton, trains go north to Bedford, Kettering, Corby. Peak hours only: Leicester, Loughborough and Nottingham. Southbound trains go to Luton Airport Parkway, St Albans, London, Gatwick Airport, Brighton, Rainham. Peak hours only: Wimbledon, Sutton, Sevenoaks, Orpington, East Grinstead    

The typical off-peak service from this station is as follows:

  • 4 trains per hour (tph) to Bedford (operated by Thameslink)
  • 2 tph to Brighton via Luton Airport Parkway, St Albans, London and Gatwick Airport (Thameslink)
  • 2 tph to Gatwick Airport via Luton Airport Parkway, St Albans and London (Thameslink)
  • 2 tph to Rainham via Luton Airport Parkway, St Albans, London, Greenwich and Dartford (Thameslink)
  • 1 tph to London St Pancras (East Midlands Trains)
  • 1 tph to Corby via Kettering (East Midlands Trains)

Thameslink trains serve several stations in Central London, including St Pancras International and Blackfriars

Luton Airport Parkway railway station is south-east of Luton and west of the airport. A shuttle bus operates between the station and the airport, with a journey time of about ten minutes.

The station is on the East Midland Line and is served by Thameslink and East Midland trains. From the station, you can travel north to Bedford, Kettering, Leicester, Loughborough and Nottingham. Passengers can also travel south to St Albans, London, Rainham, Gatwick Airport and Brighton. The typical off-peak service from this station is as follows:

  • 2 tph to Brighton via London and Gatwick Airport (Thameslink)
  • 2 tph to Gatwick Airport via London (Thameslink)
  • 2 tph to Rainham via London, Greenwich and Dartford (Thameslink)
  • 1 tph to London St Pancras (East Midlands Trains)
  • 2 tph to Luton only (Thameslink)
  • 4 tph to Bedford via Luton (all stations) (Thameslink)
  • 1 tph to Nottingham via Bedford, Kettering, Leicester and Loughborough (East Midlands Trains)

By planeEdit

  • 2 London Luton Airport (LTN IATA). is an international airport. Frequent flights from many European destinations are available, notably from the low-cost carrier EasyJet.    
Car parks serving Luton AirportEdit
Address On/Off Airport Distance / Transfer Time Security Park Mark
Award
Additional Information
Luton Airparks Grove Road, Slip End, Luton, LU1 4BZ Off 50 minutes Fully secured car park with fencing, floodlights, 24 hour patrols and CCTV Yes No trailers, mobile homes or caravans are permitted within the Short Stay Compound.
Luton Mid Stay Car Park London Luton Airport, Navigation House, Airport Way, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU2 9LY On N/A Secured by a high perimeter fence, is well floodlit and is protected by 24-hr CCTV surveillance and manned patrols - No trailers, mobile homes or caravans are permitted within the Mid Stay Compound
Luton Short Stay Car Park London Luton Airport, Navigation House, Airport Way, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU2 9LY On N/A Secured by a high perimeter fence, is well floodlit and is protected by 24-hr CCTV surveillance and manned patrols. - No trailers, mobile homes or caravans are permitted within the Short Stay Compound
Luton Priority Parking London Luton airport, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU2 9QT On Customer is met at terminal. No transfer required. Manned 24 hours a day and has CCTV, floodlighting and a high perimeter fence - Customer is met at the terminal upon departure and arrival.

By carEdit

Luton is easily accessible by car about 5 minutes from the M1 junctions 10 and 11, travelling from the south/London and the north respectively. The A505 provides a link via Hitchin to the A1(M), and the Cambridge/Hertfordshire area.

SeeEdit

  • Some surprisingly pleasant countryside is to be found around Luton. To the north of the town (in the village of Streatley) is a wooded hill named the Clappers, which is a good place for a walk. To the west of the town are Dunstable Downs, the eastern edge of the Chilterns and a popular place for walking, gliding and kite-flying.
  • 3 Shaw's Corner, Ayot St Lawrence (on the way to Welwyn Garden City). This was George Bernard Shaw's home and is now owned by the National Trust.    
  • 4 Someries Castle. Restored and reopened in 2008. Although always referred to as a castle, it was a 15th-century fortified manor house. Just outside town, close to the airport.    

DoEdit

  • Watch football ie soccer at Kenilworth Stadium, 1 Maple Road, LU4 8AW. This is the home of Luton Town FC, "The Hatters", who play in League One, the third tier of English football. In 1985 this stadium was the scene of infamous riots between home supporters and Millwall supporters.
  • There is a large South Asian community with several mosques and interesting temples such as Guru Nanak Gurdwara, as well as a jewellery market and curry houses.
  • Wardown Park. Contains pleasant lake (to feed the ducks) and gardens plus the Luton Museum and Art Gallery, is housed in a large Victorian mansion in Wardown Park on the outskirts of the town centre.
  • Stockwood Park. Another pleasant, quiet space to picnic and enjoy when there is nice weather. In case of rain, the Stockwood Discovery Centre, houses the unique Mossman Horse-Drawn Carriage Collection as well displaying local rural crafts and trades

EventsEdit

  • Luton Carnival, one of the largest summer carnivals in Europe.

BuyEdit

Standard shop brands such as Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Primark, Wilkinson, TK Maxx

  • 1 The Mall Luton (Arndale centre). was the largest indoor shopping centre in Europe when it was opened in 1971, and it includes a large indoor market.    

More interesting shopping is to be found in nearby towns: St Albans, Hitchin and Welwyn Garden City.

EatEdit

  • Balti Nights, Wellington Street (just off the High Street by the Town Hall). Great value curry house, has an offer of a popadom, curry, rice and a naan for just £5. Lots of dishes to choose from and very vegetarian friendly. Despite the bargain prices they serve great curries freshly prepared and staff are very friendly and always remember you.
  • Bellini's (in the town centre). A bar and club by night, but during the day it serves up reasonably-priced, semi-Italian cuisine.
  • Lazim (in the Bury Park area). Indian restaurant with delicious and affordable food; to get an incredibly-priced buffet, go for lunch or on Sunday evenings.
  • Leaside Hotel (listed in the accommodation section below). M-F 6PM-9:30PM, Sa noon-9:30PM. Varied menus, including British classics, Mediterranean food and seafood. Portions are generous and booking in advance is a good idea. A great range of food is also available at the bar. The mix of Victorian surroundings and unobtrusive modern touches make this place stand out in a town that many consider a desert for foodies. The main restaurant is closed on Sunday evenings. Tapas £5.50-8.50, burgers £11.
  • ZaZa, Park Street. Authentic Italian family-run restaurant. Huge portions and great value, a proper little piece of Italy in the heart of Luton.

For a quick bite, walk through the Arndale (large shopping centre) and grab some ethnic specialities in the market, such as an Indian samosa or savoury African pancake.

There are also franchises like Costa, Gregg's, and McDonald's. Aroma, the Asian restaurant in the Galaxy, offers an incredible (though pricey) buffet; for cheaper prices, go for lunch.

DrinkEdit

  • White House (attached the Galaxy cinema/bowling/arcade complex). Very friendly atmosphere, complete with a fireplace, armchairs, and bookshelves lining the walls.

SleepEdit

Stay safeEdit

Generally, if you keep your wits about you, you should not run in to any great trouble. Do avoid travelling on your own between midnight and 4am, as drunk people are often looking for fights. If a drunk makes a gesture towards you it is best to ignore them and keep walking. If you have been on a night out it is safest to get a licensed taxi, of which there are plenty.

It is not advised to wear a Watford FC shirt in town, especially in evenings or on Saturdays. Despite lacking the great success and history of the Hatters, Watford are considered rivals of Luton Town FC, and Watford shirts are by no means inconspicuous (their team colour is bright yellow). Wearing a Watford shirt is unlikely to attract more than verbal abuse but could turn ugly if you are not careful. It is similarly not advised to wear a Millwall FC shirt in Luton.

Go nextEdit

Luton is very well-placed for travelling to many other interesting places.

  • London is a 30-40 minute train journey away.
  • Whipsnade Zoo, just outside Dunstable.
Routes through Luton
NorthamptonMilton Keynes  N   S  Hemel HempsteadLondon


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