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LUTON spreads its mess of modern housing estates, industrial complexes and shopping streets with little grace. It does still have some industrial pride, however, with major local employers including Whitbread and London Luton Airport, and blue chip companies such as Astra Zeneca have made an entrance. The University of Bedfordshire is located here. Shopping is unfussy and run-of-the mill, and includes The Mall. Other attractions include an 11-screen cinema, five sports and recreation centres and two swimming pools. Luton Town Football Club play at Kenilworth Road.

There are a few odd enclaves for those who prefer period homes. Along and just off the Old Bedford Road, about half a mile from the centre, are some period villas which have been lavishly restored and sport numerous bathrooms where there were non originally. A four-bedroom home here will cost between £350,000 and £500,000, depending on how much has been spent on it. Throughout the town there are plenty of detached Thirties houses selling at over £225,000 for three bedrooms; up to £325,000 for four bedrooms or more.

Kensworth, to the south-west, is a popular commuter village. Cottages line the main road, with a recreation ground and village hall to provide the community focal points. You might get a tiny two-bedroom cottage for as little as £175,000. Four to five-bedroom detached houses sell for around £500,000. The village has two general stores, a newsagent, a flower shop and its own infant and junior school. There is also some retirement housing.

To the east and south-east of Luton, just over the border into Hertfordshire, are the small villages of Breachwood Green, Bendish and Peter’s Green. Bendish is probably the most stylish, being very tiny with old period cottages. A small two-up two-down cottage will set you back by £180,000 here. Prices at Peter’s Green are similar, though the place is so small that you could blink and miss it. Prices drop by about 15 per cent here – a four-bedroom detached Grade II listed cottage could cost around £475,000. The village lies directly under the flight path to Luton Airport, and the ex-council properties put choosy buyers off.

Good for: more affordable house prices, employment connected to the airport and university life.

other stations nearby...

London terminal: St Pancras International
Journey time: 26 mins
Season ticket: £3120
Peak trains: 7 per hour
Off-peak trains: 5 per hour

London terminal: St Pancras International
Journey time: 24 mins (34 mins FCC) mins
Season ticket: £3240
Peak trains: 7 per hour
Off-peak trains: 4 per hour