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Located on the south-eastern edge of London, the town of Luton is best-known for its international airport offering low-cost flights to a wide selection of European and domestic cities and favourite holiday destinations. Set in the historic county of Bedfordshire, the town makes a good base for exploring the charming market town of Bedford, and Woburn Abbey, the stately home of the Dukes of Bedford for three centuries.
Woburn Village offers a traditional English experience with its tea room, listed Georgian homes, pubs and antiques shops. A bonus of local campsites for rented motorhome holidaymakers is the nearby M1 motorway, giving direct if somewhat congested access to London as well as to the ancient university city of Oxford via its spur M40 motorway. The Roman city of St Albans is under an hour away with its medieval St Albans Abbey and Roman villa.
The Scheduled Ancient Monument of Someries Castle lies on the edge of town and is a 16th century fortified manor house rather than a true castle. Set on the site of a Norman fortification, it was one of England's first brick-built manors, with the remains of the gatehouse, lodge and chapel still standing today.
Magnificent Woburn Abbey is one of England's most spectacular stately homes, boasting a world-class collection of artworks by masters such as Van Dyck, Gainsborough and Reynolds, and the estate gardens are a masterpiece of landscaping.
The Abbey is famed for its Safari Park, opened in 1970 and now one of the UK's most visited attractions. Committed to animal breeding and conservation, the park boasts Asian elephants and many endangered species, all roaming free. The more conventional but equally conservation-focused Whipsnade Zoo's highlights are the Lions of the Serengeti.
For a family day out, Mead Open Farm offers farm animals as well as sheepdog demonstrations, go-karting, sheep racing, tractor rides and up-close and personal activities such as bottle-feeding lambs, grooming a Shetland pony and cuddling rabbits. There's also a fun PlayWorld park and adventure playground for kids.
Town Farm Campsite lies in a charmingly rural location giving great views of Ivinghoe Beacon. Town Farm itself is a working farm at the foot of the Chiltern Hills and close by the Grand Union Canal with its boat trips.
Henlow Bridge Lakes Campsite is located just five minutes from the M1 motorway and offers a rural setting that includes fishing lakes, walks and wildlife viewing. Electric hookups, hard standing, kids play areas and friendly staff are highlights.
Riverside Holiday Park is set along the banks of the Ouse River on the edge of Bedford and offers peace and tranquillity within easy reach of the M1 as well as boating and fishing on the river. It's a modern site with all amenities and Bedford is just a short drive away.
As with most towns within easy reach of London or the M1, traffic is very heavy during rush hours and on weekends, but light during the remainder of the week. Rural roads are well-maintained and local drivers are careful, although farm vehicles can cause problems on smaller roads. Parking within Luton is generally easy.