Travelling To and Around Luton
Located in the south of England about 51 kms (32 miles) to the north of London, Luton is a large and bustling town and local government district.
It used to be a part of Bedfordshire County but that changed in 1997 when the town became a unitary authority, with its own independent administrative functions. However, for ceremonial purposes, Luton is still considered a part of Bedfordshire.
Combined with its neighbours, Dunstable and Houghton Regis, Luton from the Luton/Dunstable Urban Area, which has an estimated population of more than 230,000 people.
There are several ways for tourists to visit Luton, and these include the following:
Luton is known throughout the world because of the London Luton Airport, which is considered to be the UK's fastest-growing airport. It is known as an international hub for budget airlines which offer cheap flights and serves as the headquarters and the home airport of Easyjet, a low cost airline. The airport is managed by a Spanish Airport Operator on behalf of its owners, the Luton Council.
The airport was first known as the Luton Municipal Airport when it began operations in 1938. It served as a base for the Royal Air Force 264 Fighter Squadron during World War II. It gained prominence during the 1960s when a number of new charter airlines, including Court Line, used the London Luton Airport for their operations instead of the other London airports.
The Prince of Wales added a new terminal to the airport in 1990. Ironically, that was just before Ryanair moved its operations from Luton to Stansted. Meanwhile, the entry of new low-cost flights brought new life and the number of annual passengers increased dramatically from 1992 to 1998. Another terminal was added in 1999, the same year when the Luton Airport Parkway railway station opened.
There are plans to expand Luton Airport, including the construction of a larger apron for aircraft parking and the realignment and lengthening of the runway.
There are two railway stations in Luton, one near the airport and one at the city centre. Trains from Luton travel north to Bedford, Kettering, Leicester, Loughborough and Nottingham and south to Luton Airport Parkway, St Albans, London, Gatwick Airport, Brighton, Wimbledon and Sutton.
Trains from First Capital Connect and Midland Mainline both service Luton Station. The typical service from there during off peak hours is as follows:
- four trains/hour to Bedford (First Capital Connect)
- four trains/hour to Brighton via Luton Airport Parkway, St Albans, London and Gatwick Airport (First Capital Connect)
- two trains/hour to Sutton via Luton Airport Parkway, St Albans, London and Wimbledon (First Capital Connect)
- one train/hour to Nottingham via Bedford, Kettering, Leicester and Loughborough (Midland Mainline)
- one train/hour to London St Pancras (Midland Mainline)
Founded in 1999, the Luton Airport Parkway railway station is situated south-east of Luton and west of the airport. There's a free shuttle service that takes travelers from the station to the airport and back.
You can find Luton Airport Parkway on the Midland Main Line. The typical service from there during off peak hours is as follows:
- four trains/hour to Brighton via London and Gatwick Airport (First Capital Connect)
- two trains/hour to Sutton via London and Wimbledon (First Capital Connect)
- two trains/hour to London St Pancras (Midland Mainline)
- two trains/hour to Luton only (First Capital Connect)
- four trains/hour to Luton and Bedford (all stations) (First Capital Connect)
- one train/hour to Derby via Leicester (fast to Bedford) (Midland Mainline)
Junctions 10 and 11 connect Luton to the motorway network via the M1 motorway. Through the M1, which was built on the western side of Luton it 1959, traveling via the road from Luton to London and to the North (and back) has become much easier.
Travelling up north, you can take the A6 through town and all the way to Bedford. The A6 also leads south to St. Ablans, but that particular stretch of road has been re-numbered as the A1081.
You can take the A5 to nearby Dunstable and the A505 if you're traveling East and towards the A1.
The M1 is currently being upgraded to make it wider and stretching it past Luton and to the South. The access road leading from the M1 to the airport is also being upgraded.
When you're travelling to or from Luton Airport via taxi, you may want to think twice. According to a study by the Office of Fair Trading, the airport has the highest fare for 1 two-mile taxi journey around the UK during daytime.
For more information, travellers may visit the Luton Tourist Information Centre located at the Luton Central Library on St. George's Square. The telephone number is 01582 401579.