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Things to do in Oundle, Northamptonshire

The market town of Oundle sits on the banks of the River Nene in Northamptonshire, about 12 miles southwest of Peterborough.

new St.Oundle showing Post Office, and Talbot Hotel. © Roger Gurney
New Street showing Post Office © Roger Gurney

Oundle has a population of just over 5,000 people.

The main street of the town has elegant architecture and there is a war memorial in the town centre.

Many of the buildings date back to the 17th century and are in Tudor style, including the Town Hall.

Along with the famous Talbot Inn there are several other public houses such as The Rose and Crown, the 14th century Ship Inn, The Angel, The George and The Riverside Inn.

New Street, and Oundle School © Roger Gurney
New Street and Oundle School © Roger Gurney

The town has a fine collection of churches.

St Peter's Parish Church dates back to the 13th century and is the most prominent with its tall steeple and large churchyard.

The grand Memorial Chapel was built in 1922 in Milton Road and is a monument to the scholars of Oundle School who died in World War I.

The lovely Roman Catholic Church was built in 1879 by the Watts Russell family, Lords of the Manor.

The town also has a primary and a junior school along with a secondary comprehensive school.

The Great Hall, Oundle School. built 1908 © Roger Gurney
The Great Hall, Oundle School © Roger Gurney

Entertainment and Shopping in Oundle

For local entertainment, the town has the Stahl Theatre and a children's playground with a skatepark.

Along with local shops, Oundle has a farmer's market once a month and a regular outdoor market every Thursday.

Around the market place are many cafés and a bookshop.

St.Peter's Church spire from Oundle Marina © Roger Gurney
St.Peter's Church spire from Oundle Marina © Roger Gurney

Oundle's main business is Fairline Boats which specializes in luxury motor yachts.

The company was founded at its existing factory location on Barnwell Road.

Things to do in Oundle

Oundle is well located for walking and cycling in the pleasant countryside or beside the river.

Summer events in Oundle include the June Carnival, the Oundle Festival of Literature and the Oundle International Music Festival in association with the pipe organ school.

Barnwell Mill and lock, R.Nene, Oundle. © Roger Gurney
Barnwell Mill and lock, R.Nene © Roger Gurney

Oundle Museum, in the Council offices in Mill Road, is worth a visit.

Further afield is the lovely Elton Hall and Gardens, which are open to the public and parts of the nearby 14th century Southwick Hall can also be enjoyed.

History of Oundle

Oundle's history can be traced back to the Iron Age and it later became a trading place for local craftsmen and farmers.

Over time shops were set up in the town and local tradesmen formed guilds.

Oundle School is one of the oldest surviving public schools in the country, founded in 1556 as a grammar school by the Worshipful Company of Grocers.

North Street, Oundle. © Roger Gurney
North Street © Roger Gurney

Sir William Laxton, a member of the local guild, became the Lord Mayor of London in 1544.

He used his prosperity to replace the original school at Oundle, started in 1485, which he actually attended.

Oundle was one of the few towns which were not affected by the plague in the 14th century.

One of the oldest buildings is the Talbot Inn which was originally built of wood and later rebuilt with stones from the ruins of Fotheringhay Castle.

School bookshop, Market Place, Oundle. © Roger Gurney
School bookshop, Market Place © Roger Gurney


The castle, despite its importance, fell into ruin and was eventually demolished in 1627. The inn's wooden staircase also came from the castle.

The Talbot Inn is said to be haunted by Mary Queen of Scots who was tried and executed at Fotheringay Castle in 1587.


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