Short Walking Tour of Letchworth Garden City

Follow this short circular route around these selected Garden City highlights and enjoy some of the key sights in the town.

Start at: 1. Tourist Information Centre, 33-35 Station Road. Turn left out of the Tourist Information Centre and go up to the traffic lights. Cross to the People's House opposite using the pedestrian lights. Continue up the road to the War Memorial.

2. Railway Station and War Memorial. Completed in 1912, the station building shows the town’s typical Arts and Crafts architecture. The War Memorial was built in 1921 from Portland Stone. Follow the road round and over the railway bridge.

3. The Spirella Building. Built as a corset factory between 1912 and 1920. The factory was a model using advanced construction techniques such as reinforced concrete with large metal frame windows to light the workrooms. The company provided exemplary facilities for the mainly female workforce including a canteen, library, ballroom, and even baths and showers. Spirella ceased production here in the early 1980s. The building has since been refurbished as offices. Go to the road opposite the Spirella building.

4. Nevells Road (formerly Exhibition Road). The principle site of the landmark 1905 ‘Cheap Cottages’ exhibition. Helping to shape the Garden City in its fledging years, this housing exhibition saw 131 unique dwellings built for £150, attracting over 60,000 visitors to the town. Many of the cottages survive but have been altered or extended. See also Cross Street and The Quadrant as you continue to walk down the road to the far end.

5. The Settlement. Built in 1907 as ‘The Skittles Inn’. Architecturally, it is among the most characteristic and sensitively designed of Garden City buildings. Socially an essential feature of early Garden City life, known as ‘the pub with no beer’, The Settlement is now an adult education centre. Turn left at the bottom of Nevells Road and walk to the junction with Icknield way.

6. Norton Common. A beautiful 63-acre open green space in the heart of the town, awarded Green Flag Status in 2010. The Common is affectionately known as the home of Letchworth’s famous Black Squirrels. The town's open air swimming pool is in this corner of the the Common and is open from the end of May through to September each year. Walk back to the end of Nevells Road and continue under the railway bridge to the end of Station Road and cross over to Howard Park.

7. Howard Park and Gardens. This delightful 1930's park and gardens has been extended and refurbished in 2011 and has a kiosk and public conveniences as well as a paddling pool and children’s play area. You may see Black Squirrels here too. Walk through the park to the end.

8. Mrs Elizabeth Howard Memorial Hall. Built by public subscription in memory of Ebenezer Howard’s first wife, Lizzie, this is the town’s first public building. It was recently extended and refurbished. It is used by local community groups. Across the road is the Free Church which was built in 1925. Walk along Norton Way South until you reach the International Garden Cities Exhibition.

9. International Garden Cities Exhibition. One of the most remarkable buildings in the Garden City. Originally home to the Letchworth office of town architects Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin. Cross the road and turn right up Pixmore Way. Walk to the top of the road.

10. Broadway Gardens and Fountain are surrounded by the Library, the Museum and Art Gallery, the Old Grammar School and at the end opposite the fountain, the Town Hall. The Gardens were transformed in 2003, and renamed, to celebrate the town’s centenary.

11. Broadway Cinema. Built in 1935 as one of Letchworth’s three picture houses it retains it's Art Deco character after being sympathetically refurbished into a four-screen complex. The large screen is now able to convert to a theatre space. From here walk down Eastcheap.

12. Eastcheap. One of the town’s main shopping streets. A diverse range of architectural styles and features uniquely exist with some pre-First World War but mostly 1920s and 1930s development. In 2009 the pedestrian friendly street scene enhancement put in new paving, street furniture and lighting. Walk down towards Central Approach.

13. Central Approach and Commerce Way form the Letchworth Shopping Centre. This pedestrian precinct was built between 1969 and 1974.

14. Leys Avenue forms the backbone of the town’s shopping experience, linking Letchworth Shopping Centre, The Arcade and The Wynd. The 2010 street scene enhancement of the area of Leys Square has added new paving, a fountain, raised flower beds with seating and a shared pedestrian and traffic area. The new square allows plenty of space for Farmer's Markets and other events.

15. The Arcade. The pride of Letchworth’s covered shopping since the 1920s. Refurbished in 2009 with a tiled floor and new colour scheme. Walk down Leys Avenue to The Wynd.

16. The Wynd is a pedestrianised shopping area, home to many of the town’s specialist retailers. Turn left at the end and walk back up Station Road to return to the Tourist Information centre.

View Short Walking Tour of Letchworth Garden City in a larger map
1. Tourist Information Centre, 33-35 Station Road, SG6 3BB
2. Letchworth Garden City Railway Station, Station Place
3. The Spirella Building, Bridge Road
4. Nevells Road - 2 Cross Street, 1905
5. The Settlement, Nevells Road
6. Norton Common, off Icknield Way
7. Howard Park and Paddling Pool, Norton Way South
8. Mrs Elizabeth Howard Memorial Hall, Norton Way South
9. International Garden Cities Exhibition
10. Broadway Gardens and Fountain, Broadway
11. Broadway Cinema, Eastcheap
12. Eastcheap - with Christmas Lights, Nov 2009
13. Garden Square Shopping Centre
14. The Arcade and Leys Avenue
15. The Wynd
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