Celebrate 1-year of Hat Gardens on special heritage tour

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Hat Gardens is turning one and to celebrate this special milestone, Step Forward Luton have announced the return of the popular ‘Secrets of Hat Gardens’ walking heritage tour.

Luton town centre celebrated the opening of its first pocket park, Hat Gardens, in May of last year. Located on Bute Street, the new park launched with a lively 3-day festival featuring an array of exciting activities and entertainment for all.

Now, Step Forward Luton is proud to bring back the 'Secrets of Hat Gardens' tour, a standout highlight from the opening festival led by Luton Borough Council. Guided by the knowledgeable Paul Hammond, Chair of Luton Heritage Forum, the tour promises to be an engaging experience for all participants.

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Join the tour on Saturday 18 May or Sunday 19 May at 10am, to uncover the fascinating history of the Hat Gardens site and explore the rich heritage of the wider Plaiter's Lea area through the ages.

Hat Gardens, Bute StreetHat Gardens, Bute Street
Hat Gardens, Bute Street

Paul Hammond, who is also a Step Forward Luton Ambassador said, "The tours are the perfect way to celebrate the anniversary of this much-loved community space and will offer locals a uniqueopportunity to delve into the site's captivating past and discover the hidden gems of the surrounding area.”

Hat Gardens is the first pocket park in Luton town centre to open as part of the’ Open Lea Project’. Further plans for opening up the river are in the pipeline, which will result in more of the river flowing through the area creating more waterside space and a green corridor to help improve air quality, biodiversity and flood resilience.

Councillor James Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Inclusive Growth at Luton Council, said: "Hat Gardens' 1-year anniversary marks a significant achievement in our Town Centre Masterplan. This milestone showcases the progress we've made in revitalising Luton's town centre, with more exciting developments in progress."

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Since its formal opening in May 2023, Hat Gardens has played host to more than 28 events, demonstrating its versatility and strong appeal to the community. It has evolved into a vibrant hub for community activities, featuring everything from morning yoga sessions to mini-concerts, and outdoor cinema screenings.

Cllr Taylor added: “It’s been a fantastic year for Hat Gardens, which has quickly become a cherished community hub. This vibrant space has hosted a diverse range of events, breathing new life into the heart of our town. As we look ahead, we're excited to present a year filled with engaging activities and events that will not only foster community engagement but also serve as a driving force for economic growth in our town centre."

Tickets for the 'Secrets of Hat Gardens' tour are completely free, but due to limited availability, pre-booking is essential to secure your spot. Please note that all participants under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Visit the Step Forward Luton website to book your free tickets for Saturday 18 May or Sunday 19 May.

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For more information about Step Forward Luton and the ongoing initiatives to promote the best of the town, please visit place.stepforwardluton.co.uk. Or to discover more about Luton’s past, visit lutonheritageforum.org.