Attractions of Luton – Part 1

Among the most popular attractions Luton has to offer tourists and business travellers are the following:

1. Dunstable Downs
With an elevation of 243 meters (797 feet), Dunstable Downs are nestled in the Chiltern Hills in southern Bedforshire and are actually the highest point of Bedforshire county.

The Downs is a chalk escarpment that forms the Chilterns’ north-eastern reaches. They are managed by the National Trust and serve as the home to many types of wildlife, including beautiful butterfly species such as the Marbled White and the Chalkhill Blue and rare wild flowers like the Bee Orchid,

The elevation of Dunstable Downs makes it a favourite destination of kite fliers, gliders, hang gliders and paragliders. For this reason, the London Gliding Club has set up their base at the foot of the Downs.

Another popular attraction here is the huge lion shape that was cut by Whipsnade Zoo at the side of one of the hills. This lion is visible from the Aylesbury to Dunstable road (the B489).

The height of the Dunstable Downs is also the main reason why it was an ideal venue for a shutter telegraph station from 1808 to 1814 whose key function was to connect the Admiralty in London to naval ships at the Great Yarmouth port.

2. Chiltern Hills
Aside from the Dunstable Downs, the Chiltern Hills as a whole is a popular attraction for tourists. As a chalk escarpment, the Chiltern Hills are part of the Southern England Chalk Formation along with the South Downs, Isle of Wight, Cranborne Chase and Salisbury Plain.

Haddington Hill in Wendover Woods is the highest point of the Chiltern Hills, with an elevation of 267 meters (876 feet). Nearby is another prominent hill, Ivinghoe Beacon, which is 249 meters (817 feet) above sea level. On the East is Dunstable Downs. There is also the 260-meter (853 feet) Coombe Hill near Wendover.

On the southeast side of the Chiltern scarp you will find beech woodland and several attractive villages. The quality hardwood in the area once formed the backbone of a flourishing chair-making industry in Chesham and High Wycombe towns.

Several rivers drain from the Chiltern Hills and form an impressive sight. These include River Gade, River Wye, River Ver, River Lee, River Chess, River Mimram, River Bulbourne and River Misbourne. All these rivers are referred to as chalk streams.

3. Leighton Buzzard Light Railway
Known as LBLR, this light railway is located in Leighton Buzzard town in Bedfordshire, England. Now operated as a heritage railway, the LBLR features a narrow two-foot (610 mm) gauge that is nearly three miles (4.8 km) long. For more details, please visit these sites:-

The railway line was constructed following World War I as an vital transport link to the sand quarries north of the town. During the 1960s, the railway shifted focus from quarrying sand to road transport.

One of the railway’s key attractions is the wide variety of steam and internal combustion locomotives that still run on the line. In addition, Stonehenge Works on the northern end of the line features an impressive array of historic industrial railway locomotives.

4. Luton Museum & Art Gallery
Located within a large Victorian mansion in Wardown Park, the Luton Museum & Art Gallery boasts of popular collections of Befordshire’s traditional crafts, specifically, lace-making and hat-making.

Some of the lace samples go back as far as the 17th century. Meanwhile, the hat collection has more than 600 hats representing the Woman’s Hat Industry collection. Several pieces of decorative art, including Saxon jewellery, are also on display. Other popular collections include costumes, fine arts, straw-plaiting, medieval guild books and several Victorian room settings.

In February 2003, the first floor was refurbished and re-opened as Luton Life displays and feature several prominent Luton personalities from the past century and a half. Listening posts are available and allow visitors to listen to some of the locals as they describe key events. Several interactive displays are also on hand.

The Living Landscape gallery features local archaeology and natural history, including a Bronze Age mirror, a Shillington Roman coin hoard and ) and various finds from Waulud’s Bank. The Lace Gallery displays some of the museum’s extensive collection of locally produced lace work. The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire gallery displays various artefacts depicting the history of the local regiment, courtesy of the Imperial War Museum.


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