Luton is a large town, borough and unitary authority situated in Bedfordshire, south east England, but in the East of England region for administrative purposes. It has a population of 213,052 and is one of the most populous towns without city status in the United Kingdom. It is also the most populous town in Bedfordshire. The town is situated on the River Lea, about 29 miles (50 km) north-west of London. The town's foundation dates to the sixth century as a Saxon outpost on the River Lea, from which Luton derives its name.
Luton was for many years famous for hat making, and also had a large Vauxhall Motors factory. Car production at the plant began in 1905 and continued until the plant's closure in 2002. Production of commercial vehicles continues, and the head office of Vauxhall Motors was for many years in the town, but has now relocated in 2019 to the village of Chalton, Bedfordshire on the northern border of the Borough of Luton. London Luton Airport opened in 1938, and is now one of Britain's major airports, with three railway stations also in the town. The University of Bedfordshire was created from a merger with the University of Luton, and two of its campuses are in Luton. Luton Town Football Club, nicknamed "the Hatters" due to the town's connection to hat making, has had several spells in the top flight of the English league. They play at Kenilworth Road, their home since 1905, and planning permission for a new larger stadium was approved in 2019. Luton International Carnival, the largest one-day carnival in Europe, is held on the day before the last Monday in May.
Luton was ranked #955 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Luton has a population of over 213,052 people. Luton also forms part of the wider Luton-Dunstable metropolitan area which has a population of over 255,000 people. Luton is the #421 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 1.3809 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.