Attractions and Places to Visit in Luton
Luton hides many attractions, which visitors can observe. There are loads of interesting and fun things to do in Luton. The Stockwood Discovery Centre - free entrance, a great family day out. Wardown Park Museum with many interesting displays and local history. Woodside Animal Farm is award winning leisure park and mini zoo. The Hat Factory - “live theatre, live music, art, the HF has it all!’’. Dating back to the 1700’s, hat-making was one of Luton’s biggest industries. Even the local football team, Luton Town FC, are nicknamed ‘The Hatters’!
These are just a few of Luton’s great attractions.
St Mary's Church
The current site of the church itself was built by Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester in 1121 and consecrated in 1137. The original structure of the church was a cruciform without aisles, but with the increases in population, the north and south aisles were added within 40 years of each other around the start of the 13th century.
The architecture of St Mary’s is varied as the church has been renovated and rebuilt many times, but the basic layout is that of a cruciform, with north/south aisles and many chapels and extensions in various directions heading off the main church. The total length of the church is 53 m (174 ft), the total width is 17 m (57 ft), and the height is 27 m (90 ft). The outside of the church is clad in a distinctive flint and stone chequer, which makes the church stand out in the town.
Stockwood Discovery Centre
Stockwood Discovery Centre, formerly known as Stockwood Craft Museum, is one of two free admission museums situated in Luton (the other is Wardown Park Museum). The museums in Luton are a part of a charitable trust, Luton Culture. The discovery centre displays collections of local social history, archaeology, geology and rural crafts.
It also houses the biggest collection of horse-drawn carriages in Europe, the Mossman Collection. The external part of the Discovery Centre features extensive gardens. The Period Gardens, ranging from the Elizabethan Knot Garden to the Dig for Victory Garden, were created by Luton Council from the mid-1980s onwards. Re-development work in 2007 included the building of the Sensory Garden, World Garden and Medicinal Garden. It is one of the few places in the country where the work of acclaimed artist Ian Hamilton Finlay can be seen on permanent display.
Wardown House, Museum and Gallery
Wardown Park Museum, formerly the Luton Museum and Art Gallery in Luton, is housed in a large Victorian mansion in Wardown Park on the outskirts of the town centre. The museum collection focuses on the traditional crafts of Bedfordshire, notably lace-making and hat-making. There are samples of Bedfordshire lace from as early as the 17th century.
The Women's Hat Industry collection features over 600 hats in an extensive collection (the hats are in storage and can be viewed by prior arrangements with the museum). There are also extensive displays of decorative arts, including Saxon jewellery. There are also exhibits of costumes, straw-plaiting, fine arts, and several Victorian room settings, as well as medieval guild books. The first floor galleries were refurbished and opened as the Luton Life displays in February 2003. This was partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The museum displays explore stories of Luton people over the past 150 years. The galleries contain several listening posts where visitors are able to listen to local people telling their stories and describing key events. Additionally there are also several interactive displays as well as computer screens with historic photographs of Luton.