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Things to do in Northamptonshire


Northamptonshire, situated in the south east midlands of England, is known as the County of Squires and Spires.

Today there may be fewer Squires, but the beautiful Spires of Northamptonshire churches remain graceful landmarks across the County. Northamptonshire Tourist Information can be found in many towns and will be happy to help with any enquiries.

You can contact Northamptonshire Tourist Information Centres for details of the many country parks, cycle ways, bridal paths and walking routes within the County.

In spite of industrial development in the north, much of the land is still agricultural and contains rich pastureland and areas of woodland survive from ancient Rockingham Forest, where centuries ago Kings of England hunted fallow deer.

Although far from the sea, you are never far from water in Northamptonshire, there is lots of opportunity for water sports, boating and fishing on the canals, reservoirs and rivers.

Northamptonshire has many connections with English history. The village of Naseby situated near the source of the rivers Avon, Nene and Welland is the site of the battle of the same name in 1645, which, with the victory of Fairfax's army, effectively ended the Civil War. A monument just outside the village commemorates the battle.

Kettering is becoming a centre for tourism in Northamptonshire, with Wicksteed Park, the UK's first leisure park, and Boughton House, the Northamptonshire home of the Duke of Buccleuch and his Montagu ancestors since 1528, there is plenty to see near this busy town.

William the Conqueror built the former royal castle of Rockingham (open to the public), and Henry VIII granted the Castle to Edward Watson, ancestor of the present owner. The mainly Tudor building, within Norman walls, has architecture, furniture and works of art from almost every century. Charles Dickens, a frequent visitor, based 'Chesney Wold' in his novel Bleak House, upon the castle.

Northamptonshire has many other stately homes to visit, to name just a few: Althorp (home of the Earl of Spencer), Southwick Hall, Coton Manor, Canons Ashby House and Lamport Hall.

The County town, Northampton, on the banks of the River Nene, is well known for the manufacture of footwear. A lively market town with historic buildings, as well lots of up to date shopping and leisure facilities. Annual events held in Northampton include the Hot Air Balloon Festival and the Northampton Country Fair and Sheep Dog Trials.

The Northampton Museum and Art Gallery tells the town's story from the Stone Age to the present day. Northamptonshire Tourism Information is available in the Guildhall.

Days out in Northamptonshire

  • Abington Park Museum
    'The museum in the park' is a beautiful Grade 1 listed building.
    Abington Park Museum
  • Boughton House
    Boughton House is the Northamptonshire home of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry.
    Boughton House
  • Canons Ashby House
    Canons Ashby has been the family home of the Drydens since Elizabethan times and that family atmosphere remains today.
    Canons Ashby House
  • Coton Manor Garden
    Coton Manor lies in peaceful Northamptonshire countryside and enjoys beautiful views providing an ideal setting for the garden.
    Coton Manor Garden
  • Holdenby House and Gardens
    Just across the fields from Althorp lies Holdenby, a house whose royal connections go back over 400 years. Built by Sir Christopher Hatton to entertain Elizabeth I, it became the Palace of James I and the prison of his son, Charles I.
    Holdenby House and Gardens
  • Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens
    Kelmarsh is a 3,363 acre (1361ha) agricultural estate at the heart of which stands the eighteenth century Kelmarsh Hall, surrounded by its pleasure gardens and parkland.
    Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens
  • Lamport Hall
    Lamport Hall was the home of the Isham family for over four centuries.
    Lamport Hall
  • Lyveden New Bield
    The empty shell of Lyveden New Bield stands like a doll's house awaiting furniture and a family to move into it. After 400 years, that is unlikely to happen.
    Lyveden New Bield
  • Manor House Museum (Kettering) & The Alfred East Art Gallery
    Explore Kettering's history at the Manor House Museum and view the constantly changing programme of exhibitions at the Alfred East Art Gallery.
    Manor House Museum (Kettering) & The Alfred East Art Gallery
  • National Waterways Museum
    Housed in a restored cornmill in the picturesque village of Stoke Bruerne, the museum collection vividly portrays the heritage of 200 years of inland waterways.
    National Waterways Museum
  • Northampton Museum & Art Gallery
    Fascinating footwear worn throughout the ages is just one of the many attractions in the museum.
    Northampton Museum & Art Gallery
  • Rockingham Castle
    Overlooking the beautiful Welland Valley and offering fine views over five counties visitors will immediately understand why William the Conqueror ordered this fascinating Norman Castle to be built.
    Rockingham Castle
  • Santa Pod Raceway
    Santa Pod Raceway in the UK is the home of European Drag Racing and host to the televised FIA European Drag Racing Championships.
    Santa Pod Raceway
  • Southwick Hall
    Dating from the 14th Century and owned successively by three families, Southwick Hall illustrates the development of a manor house.
    Southwick Hall
  • Sywell Aviation Museum
    Sywell Aviation Museum charts the history of the delightful Art Deco Sywell Aerodrome from 1928 to the present, and aviation in Northamptonshire as a whole.
    Sywell Aviation Museum
  • Wicksteed Park
    Wicksteed Park is situated in 147 acres of landscaped English countryside and offers the elements of a country and theme park in one.
    Wicksteed Park

Places to Visit in Northamptonshire

  • Ashton
    We have just received a description of Ashton from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
  • Blisworth
    Blisworth a beautiful village in South Northamptonshire. The village contains St John The Baptist C.O.E church dating back to the twelfth century. And the area is surrounded by deep, lush Northamptonshire countryside. The Grand Union Ca
  • Corby
    The modern industrial town of Corby is in north east Northamptonshire in the East Midlands.
  • Finedon
    Finedon is a Saxon Village with a great history. Finedon Hall, now converted into several homes is the grand building seen in the picture there are many historic buildings around the old end of the town...
  • Great Oxendon
    Great Oxendon is a small village on the A508 just south of Market Harborough. It mainly dates from around 1800 and is built in red brick and local Northamptonshire sand stone.
    Great Oxendon
  • Higham Ferrers
    The town of Higham Ferrers is one of the gems of Northamptonshire. It contains a number of historic buildings and has a scenic market place. Its most famous son, Henry Chichele became Archbishop of Canterbury and adviser to Henry V
    Higham Ferrers
  • Kettering
    The market town of Kettering is in Northamptonshire, on the west bank of the River Ise between Corby and Northampton.
  • Maidford
    Maidford is a small, compact village on the slopes of a shallow upland valley on the former main road between Northampton and Banbury and is designated as a conservation village.
  • Maidwell
    Maidwell is a small village situated on the edge of the Northamptonshire Leicestershire borders, approximately 4 miles from the market town of Market Harborough and 10 miles from Northampton.
  • Northampton
    Northampton is a large market town of around 200,000 people, about 50 miles southeast of Birmingham. It was initially a farming community around the 7th century and later became the centre of the ancient kingdom of Mercia.
  • Oundle
    The market town of Oundle sits on the banks of the River Nene in Northamptonshire, about 12 miles southwest of Peterborough.
  • Raunds
    We have just received a description of Raunds from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
  • Rushden
    Rushden, called Risedene in the Doomsday Book, apparently takes its name from the stream or brook that can be seen in Rushden Hall Park before it disappears under the modern Duck Street.
  • Silverstone
    Silverstone is a highly desirable village in Northamptonshire, best known as the location of the Silverstone Racing Circuit and home of the British Grand Prix.
  • Slapton
    Buried deep in the heart of England, the Northamptonshire village of Slapton is a small settlement with much to offer a wide range of visitors and residents alike.
  • Thorpe Waterville
    Thorpe Waterville in Northamptonshire is a quiet little village, with a nice country pub, which has been very updated.
    Thorpe Waterville
  • Thrapston
    Thrapston is a delightful small town in Northamptonshire Near the River Nene, with a population of just over 5,000 residents. It is just off the A14 between Kettering and Huntingdon.
  • Upper Boddington
    'The Boddingtons' - we are one village comprising of Upper and Lower Boddington. Together we are very quiet and very rural.
    Upper Boddington
  • Wilbarston
    We have just received a description of Wilbarston from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.

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