Top things to do near Luton Airport
Located in the heart of Bedfordshire, Luton Airport is within reach of historic English towns, sprawling countryside and a number of tourist attractions. If you've got time to spare when flying into or out of LTN, here are some things you can get up to in the local area:
Visit Whipsnade Zoo
Get close to nature at Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable. With 600 acres of stunning parkland, it’s the largest zoo in the UK. It’s also home to more than 3,000 animals. These include African lions, Eurasian brown bears, elephant herds, giraffes and giant pandas.
While the zoo keeps most animals in large, separate enclosures, the red-necked wallabies, Patagonian Maras and peafowl are allowed to roam freely. The zoo is 8.4 miles (13.5 kilometres) from Luton Airport and it takes about 16 minutes to get there by car.
See what it takes to make a blockbuster movie
The Making of Harry Potter tour at Warner Bros. Studio London offers a magical experience for kids and adults alike. This permanent exhibition offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of the films that cemented author JK Rowling’s place in Hollywood history.
The tour is in the Warner Bros studio building, but is kept in an enclosed space, separate from the filming areas. You still get to see authentic costumes, props and sets up close and the tour lasts for three hours, entertaining 6,000 visitors every day. The studios are 16.5 miles (26.6 kilometres) away from Luton Airport.
Get a glimpse into historic English architecture
St Albans is a Church of England cathedral that dates back to Norman times. It ceased to be a Roman Catholic abbey during the Reformation in the 16th century. Its ornate architecture and décor, and centuries of fascinating history make it well worth a visit.
St Albans Cathedral also boasts the longest nave in England. Take the free, guided tour for a glimpse into the history of this magnificent, peaceful place.
Witness an explosion of colours at Wrest Park
Wrest Park is a country estate covering 37 hectares (0.37 square kilometres) of land. It comprises a Grade II-listed mansion and Grade I-listed formal gardens. The mansion was built between 1834 and 1839 to replace an older building. Its then-owner, Thomas de Grey, designed the house after finding inspiration in French architecture.
Nowadays, the mansion is known for its eclectic mix of classic European styles. The garden boasts a sprawling landscape that offers an explosion of colours throughout the year.
Explore the rich local history
Stockwood Discovery Centre is a museum with free entrance run by local charity, Luton Culture. It offers you the chance to discover the social, rural, geological and archaeological history of the area. It’s also home to Europe’s largest collection of horse-drawn carriages and features the work of acclaimed artist, Ian Hamilton Finlay, on permanent display.
The Discovery Centre is just 2.7 miles (4.3 kilometres) away from Luton Airport.
Discover the story of Luton’s hat-making trade
Wardown Park Museum was first opened in 1930. It sits in a lovely old Victorian, mock-Tudor building and is located only 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometres) away from Luton Airport. It houses several mementoes from Luton’s history in the hat and lace-making trades. Some of these pieces date back as far as the 17th century.
The museum also displays items from Saxon times and the Iron Age. The interactive displays and historic photographs are a true delight for visitors of all ages.
Hang out with exotic farm animals at Woodside Farm
This seven-acre farm and wildfowl park is home to a host of familiar and exotic animals – from pigs, cows and goats to monkeys, lemurs and flamingos, Woodside Farm offers a great day out for the whole family. It is also a popular destination for kids’ birthday parties and school groups.
Support local arts
Another venture by local charity, Luton Culture, the Hat Factory is a sought-after venue for plays, comedy nights, musical acts, gallery exhibits, workshops and classes. It aims to support artistic development in both the young and young-at-heart. The in-house café serves homemade food prepared from locally-sourced produce.
The venue offers great value for money and continues to breathe new life into the arts and economy within Luton.
Reach the heights of Bedfordshire
Enjoy a refreshing walk in the beautiful countryside at Dunstable Downs, just 9.9 miles (15.9 kilometres) from Luton Airport. You will find this National Trust area high in the Chiltern Hills in southern Bedfordshire. Sitting way up at 797ft (243m) above sea level, the Downs is the tallest point in the whole county. Come here to uncover Iron Age hillforts, burial mounds and to see diverse wildlife up close.
Get off the beaten track with the Land Rover Experience
The Land Rover Experience offers off-road courses for new owners, corporate team building and fun all-terrain activities. With professional tutors, state-of-the-art vehicles, miles of off-road tracks to choose from and a newly-renovated clubhouse, the centre offers an experience that the website describes as both “exhilarating and challenging”.