The World's First Garden City

Arts & culture

Arts & culture

As a cradle of the Arts & Crafts movement and the home town of Sir Laurence Olivier, Letchworth Garden City has a dazzling array of artistic and cultural associations.

The Garden City itself was devised as a social and architectural blueprint, and the International Garden Cities Exhibition – housed in a beautiful thatched building that was once the offices of founding architects Parker and Unwin – welcomes visitors from all around the world.

Equally worth visiting are The Cloisters, once run by philanthropist Annie Lawrence as a theosophical centre, and the Friends Meeting House, constructed in 1907 and one of the first major buildings in the new settlement.

The rich cultural tradition established in the Garden City’s early years continues today through its innovative art galleries, the Da Vinci college dedicated to nurturing the creative talents of tomorrow and a huge independent book store whose author events, book signings and debating panels really are the talk of the town.

Renowned for their imaginative programmes and close community involvement, the town’s fabulous arts centre and Art Deco style four-screen cinema are hubs for Letchworth Garden City’s artistic life. If you’d like to try your hand as well as watch and admire, the art studios and craft workshops centred on the Wynd offer lots of opportunities to explore your creative side.