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Counties > Bedfordshire > Leagrave


LEAGRAVE is hardly distinct from Luton. It has its own small precinct of shopping streets, but otherwise can be considered part of the town. In the centre of Leagrave, two- and three-bedroom pre-war terraced houses sell for between £120,000 and £150,000. On the outskirts you find the occasional new development where two-bed terraces start at around £115,000.

Dunstable, two miles west at the threshold of the Dunstable Downs, is far more captivating. The old town centre is dotted with timber-framed buildings, old coaching inns (Dunstable was an important coaching stop on Watling Street), and some attractive Victorian terraces. It is has a biweekly outdoor market and lots of small designer shops, which are good for birthday presents, though for mundane household purchases most people go into Luton. State schools include middle schools and an upper school which also provides adult evening classes. Dunstable has its own leisure centre, swimming pools, a nightclub, and a new theatre, the Grove. The Downs provide plenty of leisure opportunities, including a golf club and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, and are a favourite haunt for hang-gliders and kite-fliers. Victorian terraced homes with two or three bedrooms fetch around £160,000 to £190,000. A two- or three-bedroom semi on a modern estate would cost around £170,000; a three- or four-bedroom detached house from £200,000 upwards.

Also in the Luton catchment area is Houghton Regis, a former village of about two miles square, not quite swallowed up by encroaching development. Modern estates and Thirties’ semis make up the bulk of the property stock, with prices hovering at around £145,000 for three bedrooms. At its heart it has some small quality shops on Bedford Square.

Good for: more affordable house prices, close to the Chilterns for walks.
Local knowledge: you can hold a big party or corporate event among the gorillas at Whipsnade Zoo, with only a sheet of glass between you and your genetic ancestors.
London terminal: St Pancras International
Journey time: 39 mins
Season ticket: £3240
Peak trains: 6 per hour
Off-peak trains: 4 per hour