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Wardown House, Museum and Gallery

The Wardown House, Museum and Gallery is located in a historical Victorian mansion on the beautiful grounds of Wardown Park outside the city centre of Luton. While it has history and exhibitions, it’s more than your topical museum. Wardown House, Museum and Gallery is housed in a family home where their story is told with interactive displays; there are local curiosities and crafts from Bedfordshire; and the gallery hosts art and events.


Robert How constructed the first property within Wardown Park, called Bramingham Shott (currently Wardown House, Museum and Gallery). In the early 1870’s, Frank Chapman-Scargill and his family resided at the estate. They moved from Luton in 1893, and the estate was occupied by B.J.H. Forder who then renamed the estate Wardown. In 1904, the house and the 11 acre park were sold to the Luton Council which made extensive improvements. Many trees were planted; new footpaths and bridges were constructed; and a bowling green was built.

During the First World War, Wardown House became a hospital. First as the Royal Army Medical Corps and then the British Red Cross Society. In 1931, the Luton Museum was relocated to the house and became the Wardown House, Museum and Gallery.


Today, the Wardown House, Museum and Gallery displays a collection of hundreds of hats and pieces of head wear; the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment Gallery; the Luton Life Gallery; and hosts events and activities.

Visitor’s are welcomed into Luton’s history through an interactive trail to follow around the museum. A soundscape, triggered by a sensor greets visitors at the entrance; then audio visuals of previous owners of the house address them throughout their tour.

Digital portraits come to life and the characters share their perspectives on the history of the house. In various rooms, these talking portraits compare modern life with life of the Victorian age. In the music room, a gramophone plays 35-40 songs themed around Luton’s famed industry-hats.

The “Lace Lady”, portrayed as a ghost, walks and fades in and out of the corridors – creating a spooky, atmospheric effect for visitors. Talking mirrors in the bathrooms and other rooms tell of their experiences of the time.

Nurse Nellie Hobbs appears in the bathroom mirror and recounts her experiences caring for injured soldiers when the house was a hospital. In a bedroom, Eliza Herbert (ladies maid to Mrs. Scargill) talks about her life working for the Scargill family.

The Wardown House, Museum and Gallery is a magnificent building with original architecture and period adorned rooms for visitors to explore and enjoy. Also, the grand gardens are open to the pubic.

In addition, enjoy food and drinks at the Victorian style dining room overlooking the Wardown Park. The Wardown House, Museum and Gallery gift shop offers a variety of items. Also, seasonal musical events and art displays are held at the Wardown House, Museum and Gallery.


Wardown House, Museum and Gallery
Old Bedford Road


Opening Hours

February – October Daily: 10am-5pm
November – February Daily: 10am-5pm
Entry: Free

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