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Situated around 30 miles northwest of London, Luton is well-known for its busy airport, which opened in 1938. Actress Lorraine Chase famously uttered ‘Luton Airport’ in her distinctive cockney accent in an advert for Campari during the seventies, and has never lived it down!
For many years, Luton was renowned for its millinery, engineering and car production. The head office of Vauxhall Motors is still in the town and the manufacture of commercial vehicles continues at its Luton factory. However, modern-day Luton is moving more towards service-based industries, predominantly in the retail and airport sectors, although there is still a focus on light industry in the town. Notable firms with headquarters in Luton include EasyJet, Impellam Group, Monarch Airlines, TUI UK, Ernst & Young and Whitbred.
More than just an airport, the town itself offers its visitors many different attractions. There are 92 listed buildings in Luton, year-round festivals and events, as well as plenty of places for those seeking a slice of culture. The Library Theatre presents a packed programme of local amateur dramatic society productions, pantomimes and children’s theatre, while The Hat Factory provides live music, club nights, dance, films, workshops, classes and exhibitions. Museum-wise, there’s Wardown House (with its lace-making and hat-making collections), Stockwood Discovery Centre (focusing on rural crafts and trades), and the Mossman Collection (of vehicles including horse-drawn carriages). Luton is also a stone’s throw from Dunstable Downs, Chiltern Hills, Whipsnade Zoo and Woburn Safari Park.
Given its proximity to London and status as a major feeder airport for the southeast, Luton has good links with the city and other parts of the country via the motorway network. The town also boasts two railway stations – Luton and Luton Airport Parkway – and offers regular bus services, having recently opened the rapid Luton to Dunstable Busway, connecting the town with the airport, Dunstable and Houghton Regis.
Luton is home to one of the main campuses of the University of Bedfordshire, along with Luton Sixth Form College, Barnfield College, its seven nurseries, 56 primary schools, 13 secondary schools and four further educational institutes. The town’s schools and colleges had been earmarked for major investment in the government’s Building Schools for the Future scheme, intending to renew and refit buildings in institutes across the country, which is great news for Luton’s educational offering.
The average price of property in Luton stands at around £265,575, which is a fall of 2.42% in the last year. In terms of property types, flats sell for an average of £152,948, while terraced houses go for £224,796. A familiar address in the town is Kenilworth Road, which has been the home of Luton Town Football Club since 1905.