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Luton Area Guide

Luton Town Hall Image courtesy of Flickr user Soham Banerjee

Luton is the largest town and borough of Bedfordshire, surrounded by the north Chiltern Hills. The town was a prominent player in the hat making trade in the 17th and 18th Centuries and the area still has a small hat trade. Situated 30 miles to the north of London, car and aircraft manufacture took over as major industries in the 20th Century with Vauxhall being a lead employer in the area until it closed its car production plant in 2002.

Luton has a rich cultural heritage including historic buildings such as St. Mary's Church and the Grade II listed Town Hall at the centre, which is also the most recognisable building in Luton. Victorian influences can be seen in the architecture, particularly in areas close to the town centre and railways. There is also a substantial amount of 1920s and 1930s property and several post Second World War estates such as Farley Hill, Marsh Farm and Bushmead.

The borough is experiencing much regeneration including a £27 million investment into boosting its retail facilities. The local economy is changing and Luton is fast becoming known as a centre for the airport and retail sectors as well as some light industry.


With an ethnically diverse community, Luton has a population of around 205,000 people and is now one of three towns in the United Kingdom to officially hold a white minority.

63% of the borough's working population are employed, and 11% are retired.


There are a vast number of schools and educational facilities in Luton, including seven nursery schools, 70 religious and non-denominational primary schools, including two special schools.

There are 13 secondary schools including Denbigh High School, Lealands High School, and Barnfield West and Barnfield South academies. The town is also home to Barnfield College and Luton Sixth Form College, both of which have been awarded Learning and Skills Beacon status.

Schools and colleges in Luton have been selected as a focus for the Government's Building Schools for the Future Programme which proposes the redevelopment of facilities across the UK.

The town centre is home to a University of Bedfordshire campus, and there are also campuses located in Bedford and on the edge of the town in Putteridge Bury.


Luton has excellent links into London and is well connected to most parts of the UK via the M1 motorway and onward to the rest of the motorway network. Leeds and Brighton are just a few hours away.

With most areas accessible on foot, there is also an extensive bus service which offers frequent routes in and around the town. The Luton Dunstable Busway is currently under construction and will soon offer fast, frequent and reliable high-quality services between Luton town centre, Houghton Regis and Dunstable. Railway connections link the town to London in just 24 minutes, and there are fast national rail connections to Leeds, Sheffield and to the north as well as a direct service to Gatwick and Brighton.

London Luton Airport and Gatwick Airport are the nearest airports.

Amenities and Shopping

Luton is a hub of activity with a thriving food scene. Cuisines from around the world are on offer across the borough including Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Malaysian and Caribbean. The town centre shopping facilities include national retail chains and independent stores, and The Mall Shopping Centre has recently undergone significant refurbishment and is now home to a large number of recognisable outlets as well as an indoor market. Bury Park is a concentrated shopping area largely dedicated to Asian food, fashion and other goods.

The Galaxy Centre is a multiplex entertainment centre and offers restaurants, a cinema, bowling, bingo and pubs and nightclubs. Other amenities include Stockwood Park and Wardown Park, as well as sporting clubs and facilities for activities including football and rugby. Luton has its own 238 seat Library Theatre and The Hat Factory which is a theatre and arts venue.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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