Stockwood is a public park made from the grounds of what was a stately home from 1740-1964. The former walled vegetable garden now has a set of well-maintained 'period gardens'. They include a Victorian garden, a cottage garden and a knot garden. The surrounding landscape garden has a sculpture by Ian Hamilton Findlay.
The former Stockwood Park Museum was transformed in July 2008 into the Stockwood Discovery Centre - a spectacular visitor attraction and museum for the 21st century. The Centre is located one and half miles from Luton’s main railway station, three minutes from the M1, junction 10A and very close to Luton Airport.
Stockwood Discovery Centre was made possible thanks to a £3.7 million cash injection from the Heritage Lottery Fund along with £1.2 million Objective 2 European Funding. Other funder and contributions where from Luton Borough Council, the DCMS/Wolfson Foundation Environmental Ltd (WREN), Garfield Weston Foundation, Renaissance and other trusts and groups.
The Centre is designed with environmentally green and sustainable principles in mind. It tells the stories of real people behind the collections, exploring the history of the region from prehistoric times to the evolution of Stockwood House and the Farley estate.
The display collections include; geology, archaeology, social history and rural crafts. Highlights include the Wenlok Jug - a rare medieval masterpiece with strong links to Luton's history and development, the town's last tram and the famous Mossman collection of carriages - the largest collection of its kind on display in the UK.
A paradise for garden enthusiasts, Stockwood Discovery Centre is one of the few places in the country where the work of acclaimed artist Ian Hamilton Finlay can be seen on permanent display. His Improvement Garden is a classical garden in which the sculptures are an integral part of the landscape. Once part of the original Stockwood House walled areas, the Period Gardens reflect the changing styles of gardening in this country. New areas include a contemplative Sensory Garden, a colourful World Garden and a Medicinal Garden highlighting the usefulness of plants.
The Centre also offers a range of complementary services and facilities including group bookings and excursions, corporate room and venue hire, birthday parties, weddings, schools sessions and adult learning courses. Please see the website for more details.
Museums Luton includes two museums, our wonderful Wardown Park Museum and the spectacular Stockwood Park Discovery Centre, both of which have a host of exhibitions and activities. Museums Luton also runs the Nature Conservation Service at the John Dony Field Centre. Visits are free of charge to all three sites and offer the ideal family outing.
Stockwood Discovery Centre, London Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, England, LU1 4BH
Summer Season: April - October Mon to Fri 10am to 5pm, Sat and Sun 11am -5pm. Winter Season: November - March Mon -Fri 10am -4pm. Sat and Sun 11am -4pm
Entrance Free. Some larger events and activities have a small charge, please see our events program on the website.