Things to do on the Leighton Buzzard Treasure Map Trail
We're very proud of our Leighton Buzzard treasure map, it's our very first Treasure Map Trail.
If you're looking for things to do in Leighton Buzzard, it takes you along the historic High Street, past the home where The Borrowers books were dreamt up and into Parsons Park, where there's a giant playground and splash zone that your children will love.
There's no particular starting point for the map, you can pick it up at any point. It covers an area of no more than a mile so you'll be able to reach all the treasures no matter where you start from.
For this article we'll start our adventure from the Baptist Church at the far end of Hockliffe Street, where you'll find the first treasure.
As you wander along Hockliffe Street, you can turn left and head down Peacock Mews, which is Leighton Buzzard's very own Harry-Potter-style Diagon Alley.
Emerge from Peacock Mews onto Lake Street, and continue down the road to the library and theatre. Check out the side of the library to find our second treasure.
When you've finished looking around head back along Lake Street towards the town, where you'll reach the market square. There's an ancient looking Market Cross that dates from the 15th century and has five statues at its top. Hard to distinguish now, they are the Virgin Mary, a King, Bishop, John the Baptist and Jesus emerging from his tomb.
The two grand buildings at the top of Market Place are now a bank and pizza restaurant, but if you look carefully you'll find two more of our treasures above their doors.
As you head along the High Street, you'll spot some fabulous independent shops and cafes, plus a real mix of building styles. Visit on a Saturday and the popular market is in place too - there's been a market here for hundreds of years.
One of the most famous buildings is the Swan Hotel. The current building dates back to the 19th century, but there has been a drinking place here since the 1600s. Look to the roof for another of our treasures.
The striking building ahead of you at the bottom of High Street is Leighton Middle School, but it was once known as Cedars and was the home to Mary Norton, author of The Borrowers books. A blue plaque celebrates her life, and is another of our clues.
Head right here to follow the Bridge Street. As you reach the junction of the main road you'll find the Fly Past monument, which reveals Leighton Buzzard's past as the home to the Vimy Bomber. The information board gives lots of information about the history and heritage of the town.
Next it's time to retrace your steps along Bridge Street and walk through Church Square. The War Memorial in the top corner is another of our treasures. It is thought to have been carved from the biggest single block of granite ever quarried in the UK.
Straight ahead is Leighton Buzzard's incredible All Saints Church. The architecture is fascinating and the grisly gargoyles catch the eye, but the map takes you round the west side, where there's a door that is decorated with iron that was crafted in the 13th century by a famous blacksmith called Thomas of Leighton. He went on to craft the ironwork that was used on the tomb of Queen Eleanor in Westminster Abbey.
Our final clue is a few minutes walk in Parson's Park. Your children will love it here. They'll be clambering over the giant pencil and making a sprint to the bandstand - our treasure - before making a beeline down to the swings and climbing frames of the play park. If it's a warm day you can pack their swimming costumes for a play in the splashzone.
There are a few more sights that are well worth your time, but we couldn't fit on the map. The Grand Union canal runs through Leighton Buzzard and it's great fun to spot the boats and feed the ducks.
Leighton Buzzard is also home to a narrow-gauge railway that departs from Pages Park, on the other side of town. At three miles long it's one of the longest in the UK and takes passengers past some really interesting sights.
Our final recommendation is for Rushmere Park, which is a really wonderful woodland with climbing trees, mountain bike courses, fairy houses, animal sculptures and a lovely cafe for coffee and cake.
If little legs can manage it, you can head straight through into Stockgrove Park, where there's also a lake and lots more to explore.
If you like the sound of a day out in this fascinating town, take a look at our Leighton Buzzard Treasure Map Trails.