Letchworth Things to Do

  • Trimmed box-trees
    Trimmed box-trees
    by leics
  • Huge paved area for...well, anything really!
    Huge paved area for...well, anything...
    by leics
  • Original Town Hall
    Original Town Hall
    by leics

Best Rated Things to Do in Letchworth

  • leics's Profile Photo

    The Spirella Building

    by leics Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Gloomy January photo.......

    The famous Spirella corset factory building, built between 1912 and 1920, was way ahead of its time in the facilities if offered its employees: baths, showers, library, free eye tests.even bicycle repairs.

    It's a listed building and has been well restored, now housing offices, a cafe and a fitness centre. The wonderful ballroom (a ballroom in a factory??) is hired out for weddings etc.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    Memorial Hall

    by leics Written Jan 6, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Howard Hall

    The Mrs Elizabeth Howard Memorial Hall was the first public building in Letchworth. funded by public subscription, in memory of the wife of Ebenezer Howard whose vision Letchworth was, it is now the home of the Letchworth Community Group.

    Built in 1907, architects Bennet and Bidwell, a Grade 11 listed building.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    First Garden City Heritage Museum

    by leics Written Jan 6, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    First City Museum

    The museum is housed in the building designed by architects Parker and Unwin, whose masterplan was the basis for the whole 'garden city'. Strangely, they designed themselves a thatched cottage of the 'olde Englishe' type; the rest of the houses are not like this at all!

    The museum has an exhibition on the history of Letchworth.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    Look for black squirrels

    by leics Written Jan 6, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Norton Common

    You are almost bound to see one (or several) if you wander through Norton Common, about 5 minutes away from the town centre/station (as long as there are not too many dogs about). There are muntjac deer as well.

    Black squirrels are a mutation of the common greys, and extremely rare in the UK. Except in this little corner of Bedfordshire/Cambridgeshire/Hertfordhire, where there are lots. They are just as brave/cheeky as the greys, and will turn up in gardens to steal food from bird tables in just the same way!

    Norton Common is a pleasant place to walk anyway; 63 acres of nature reserve, woodland and green space.

    Related to:
    • Seniors
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Broadway

    by Willettsworld Written May 21, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    Broadway is the main central thoroughfare through the town and links the town centre with the A505 Hitchin Road. At the centre is the Town Square which is more a rectangle than a square and I remember this being encircled by tall trees (may have been yew trees) but these have gone and have been replaced with smaller trees. This area was actually known as Kennedy Gardens, adopted in the 1960s in honour of the assassinated American president JF Kennedy. They were renamed Broadway Gardens when they were officially reopened, following a £1.2m refurbishment, as part of the town's centenary celebrations in June 2003. The central area in the road leading from the square to the train station was originally planned as a tramway.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Letchworth Museum & Art Gallery

    by Willettsworld Written May 21, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    The Letchworth Museum & Art Gallery occupies a building built in 1914 that was later extended in 1920. The museum exhibits wildlife, including the famous Letchworth Black Squirrel, and archaeology of the local area plus a small art gallery upstairs.

    Open: 10am-5pm, closed Wednesday and Sunday. Admission: Free.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Houses of Letchworth

    by Willettsworld Written May 21, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    Letchworth has some delightful cottage-style houses which were designed by Bennett and Bidwell - the two principal designers. When the town was initially born, it was home to two experimental housing exhibitions in 1905 with houses on Nevells Road and in 1907 with houses on Pixmore Way being exhibited. Today, many display a commemorative plaque confirming their entry in the exhibitions.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Spirella Building

    by Willettsworld Written May 21, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    This is Letchworth's most impressive building, located just over the railway line from the town centre. It was built between 1912 and 1920 for two Americans who were attracted to Letchworth by the Garden City Movement. This building was built for the Spirella corset company and offered its employees facilities such as baths and showers, gymnastics classes, a library. ballroom, free eye tests and bicycle repairs which were way ahead of their time. At one time in the 1950s the factory was selling thousands of corsets a day and employed 2000 people, and had customers as famous as Marilyn Monroe and Mae West. During the 2nd World War the factory was used by local firms Irvin Aerospace (parachutes) and British Tabulator as extra space for manufacture. The company closed in 1986 and after being sublet as small office and industrial units for a time, was restored for modern office space and a fitness centre.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    Enjoy Broadway gardens

    by leics Written Dec 24, 2012
    Trimmed box-trees
    4 more images

    Broadway Gardens is a huge open space in the heart of Letchworth, with landscaped views down towards the station and out to the town edges, a rather lovely fountain, brick 'pagodas', neatly-trimmed box trees, a paved area for community events, oodles of space for picnics and for children learning to ride their bikes (or their scooters, or just learning to walk!).

    The area was restored back to its original 100-year-old 'garden city' plan in 2003. Prior to that time the area had been called 'Kennedy Gardens' (presumably after President Kennedy) but I'm very pleased that centenary funding allowed it to be put back to what had originally been intended.

    The original red-brick Town Hall (now out of use) looks out over Broadway Gardens.

    You can read about the development of Letchworth as the world's first 'garden city' (and home to the world's first traffic roundabout!) on the Wiki page linked below.

    Broadway gardens deserves a visit

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Town Hall

    by Willettsworld Written May 21, 2009

    Located overlooking the Broadway Gardens in the town centre, this impressive building was designed by Bennett and Bidwell in 1935, was called the Council House from 1935 to 1960 when it was renamed The Town Hall. The clock tower, added to the original design, is a memorial to Charles Ball, donated by his widow.

    Related to:
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Catholic Church

    by Willettsworld Written May 21, 2009

    This church is called the Roman Catholic Church of St. Hugh of Lincoln which, although quite massive, is set back from the street reducing the effect. It was designed by Nicholas and Dixon Spain, started in 1938 and completed in 1962.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Broadway Cinema

    by Willettsworld Written May 21, 2009
    1 more image

    One of the best looking buildings in the town, the Broadway Cinema is a fine example of Art Deco architecture. It was built by Bennett and Bidwell in 1935 and was once one of three cinemas in the town but today this is the only one left. The Palace Cinema used to be located right next door and this was the first cinema to be built outside London in 1909. However, it closed in 1977. Today, the Broadway has been recently renovated and has four screens.

    Related to:
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Mrs Howard Memorial Hall

    by Willettsworld Written May 21, 2009

    This building was the first public building in Letchworth, built in 1906, and was paid for by public subscription in memory of Ebenezer Howard's first wife Elizabeth, who died in 1904. It was first used for all social events and meetings before being extended to accommodate a girls club in 1907. The building housed the first Letchworth Parish Council Meetings, and then from 1919 until 1934 the Letchworth Urban District Council used the hall for many of its meetings. In 1983 the building was still in use for meetings, and a variety of youth and community oriented projects were based there.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    The Free Church

    by Willettsworld Written May 21, 2009

    The church hall for The Free church was built by the congregation in 1905. Before this they met in member’s homes or vacant workmen’s huts. The Hitchin Free Church Council encouraged the new residents of Letchworth to raise money for a hall and a site was found and secured. Many of the new arrivals being in the building trade volunteered their spare time to construct the first Church Hall of The Free Church, with very little funding. Starting with the stone laying ceremony by Rev F B Meyer and Ebenezer Howard on August 5th 1905, it held its opening service on October 17th 1905.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    The Settlement

    by Willettsworld Written May 21, 2009

    This building was once Letchworth's famous Skittles Inn which was opened in 1907. It was famous for not actually selling any beer and became known as the 'pub with no beer'. Instead it offered 'fellowship, rest and recreation' for workers but all drink served at the bar was non-alcoholic, in response to the wishes of the majority of Letchworth residents. In 1925, The Skittles Inn became The Settlement, a centre for adult education and local activities.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Letchworth

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

99 travelers online now

Comments

Letchworth Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Letchworth things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Letchworth sightseeing.

View all Letchworth hotels