Luton explodes into life on Carnival days, but with a heritage to discover all year Luton’s expanding population has enriched its culture. The Luton Carnival takes place annually on the May Spring Bank Holiday, the largest carnival in the country after Notting Hill and the largest one-day carnival in Europe. It attracts over 100,000 people, with over 2,000 participants from across the world. Distinctly Caribbean in flavour, Luton’s Asian, British and Irish communities, as well as its schools, also make large contributions. Having gained international status in 1998, the Carnival is run by the UK Centre for Carnival Arts, the first of its kind in the UK, which opened a multi-million pound facility opposite St Mary’s Church in 2009.
Luton’s diversity is celebrated in other events throughout the year. Luton’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations are the largest regionally, taking place over a week and including a parade and festival. St George’s Day features morris and maypole dancing, battle enactments and displays of traditional crafts located in central Luton. Also in St. George’s Square is the annual Food Festival, showcasing cuisine from all of Luton’s communities and the Luton Mela, held each summer – the largest celebration of South Asian culture in the East of England.
Luton has well established and landscaped parks, five of which have green flags. The Carnival starts and ends in Wardown Park, intersected by the River Lea, in central Luton. Luton Museum, within the park grounds, houses important collections tracing the histories of hat making, of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment and of Lutonians over 150 years.
Stockwood Discovery Centre
Stockwood Park lies to the south of Luton, housing in its grounds the Stockwood Discovery Centre, home of important displays of geology and architecture including the famous Wenlock Jug (the medieval Wenlock family lived in Luton), as well as classical gardens. Stockwood also houses the nationally important Mossman Collection – the largest horse drawn carriage collection in the UK, including fine examples used by the Royal Family.
A year of massive rebuilding and refurbishment saw the transformation of the former Stockwood Park Museum into Stockwood Discovery Centre, a new visitor attraction and museum that opened its door to the public on 12th July 2008
Wardown Park Museum & Art Gallery
Wardown Park Museum is a part of Luton Culture. Situated in the beautiful landscaped Wardown Park, the museum offers a range Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire regimental gallery, Luton Life gallery to the ever changing exhibition galleries.
"One of the most important British festivals for independent film." BBC 05
The Hat Factory
Luton's leading arts and entertainment venue featuring live music, club nights, theatre, dance, films, children's activities, workshops, classes and gallery exhibitions.
Luton Library Theatre opened in 1962 firstly as a lecture theatre then it gradually changed to a traditional entertainment venue with 256 seats and two side isles. It began to build up a programme of amateur drama, film, music of all types, professional drama and music, children's events in fact a pretty long list of events that covers almost every taste.
Departure Lounge is a new contemporary art project showcasing the work of both UK and International artists in a range of settings. We work both within and beyond traditional gallery spaces and across media and arts practices.
Luton libraries offer a wide range of services to residents, visitors, students and workers. In total there are eight libraries spread across the town where you can drop in and spend time in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Libraries in Luton are vital facilities whose purpose is to provide the whole community with access to books, information, knowledge and works of creative imagination. Luton Central Library, which also houses the award-winning Visitor Information Centre, has recently benefited from a £1.7 million investment and is recognised for exemplary services such as the promotion of electronic books and learning resources offered through its website.
A Thin Place
A Thin Place, is a creative arts and social entrepreneurial, non - profit organisation. It is a place for creativity in community, peacemaking and social change through the arts.
We Create Together
Newsblog for the Division of Art & Design at the University of Bedfordshire.
John Dony Field
John Dony Field Centre is a highly successful educational resource for the study of natural history in Luton and the surrounding area.
High Town Art For All
High Town Art For All is a collective of artists who have gained access to three otherwise empty shops on High Town Road in Luton. The shops are animated with visual art, workshops and collaborative art projects. The shops (No. 37, 40 & 42a) are open most days between 3-7pm until December 2010.