15 Best Things To Do In Northampton, England

15 Best Things To Do In Northampton, England

By will

When it comes to exploring the hidden gems of England, Northampton is a destination that should not be missed. As a native of this historic town, I can proudly say that there are countless amazing things to see and do here. From delving into the rich history of Northampton Castle to indulging in the vibrant atmosphere of Market Square, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

In this article, I will take you on a journey through the 15 best things to do in Northampton, England, giving you an insider’s guide to experiencing the true essence of this charming town.

One of the highlights of Northampton is its fascinating history, and what better way to start your exploration than with a visit to Northampton Castle? As you wander through the remnants of this ancient stronghold, you can’t help but be transported back in time to when knights roamed the halls and battles were fought.

Another must-visit is the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, where you can immerse yourself in the art and culture of the town. From stunning paintings to intriguing historical artifacts, this museum offers a captivating insight into the story of Northampton.

So, whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply looking for a unique cultural experience, Northampton has it all. Join me as we embark on a journey to discover the 15 best things to do in this enchanting town.

Explore Northampton Castle’s History

Postern Gate All That Remains of Northampton Castle
Photo by Roy Hughes

If you’re looking for a fascinating historical adventure, you can’t miss exploring the captivating history of Northampton Castle!

As soon as you step onto the grounds, you can feel the weight of centuries of history enveloping you. The castle, once a mighty fortress, dates back to the 11th century and has witnessed countless battles, sieges, and royal visits throughout the years.

Walking through the castle ruins, you can’t help but imagine the grandeur and strength it once possessed. The remains of the Great Hall still stand, allowing you to envision the lavish feasts and important gatherings that took place within its walls.

As you explore the castle towers, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, giving you a glimpse into the strategic importance of this formidable stronghold. History comes alive as you learn about the castle’s role in the Wars of the Roses and its connection to prominent figures such as King John and King Henry III.

Visiting Northampton Castle is an absolute must for history enthusiasts and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of England’s rich past. The site offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the medieval world and witness firsthand the impact of this majestic fortress.

So, put on your walking shoes, grab a guidebook, and get ready to embark on a journey through time at Northampton Castle. You won’t be disappointed by the wealth of knowledge and adventure that awaits you.

Visit the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery
Photo by Mark Percy

Explore the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, where you can immerse yourself in a captivating world of artistic masterpieces and historical artifacts. As you step through the doors, you’re immediately transported to a place where creativity and history intertwine.

The museum boasts an impressive collection of artwork, ranging from contemporary pieces to ancient sculptures. Each piece tells a unique story, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of the artistic movements that have shaped our world.

One of the highlights of the museum is its historical artifacts. From ancient Roman coins to medieval weaponry, there’s something to pique the interest of every history enthusiast. As you explore the exhibits, you can’t help but be amazed by the intricate craftsmanship and the stories behind each artifact.

The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, ensuring that there’s always something new and exciting to discover.

In addition to its impressive collection, the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery offers a range of interactive experiences. You can try your hand at pottery, learn about conservation techniques, or even participate in a guided tour. The knowledgeable staff is always on hand to answer any questions and provide insights into the artwork and artifacts on display.

Visiting the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery isn’t just a trip to a museum, but a journey through time and creativity. Whether you’re a lover of art or a history buff, this is a place that’ll leave you inspired and enlightened. So, take some time out of your day to explore this hidden gem and uncover the rich cultural heritage that Northampton has to offer.

Take a stroll through Abington Park

Abington Park
Photo by Von Thunen

Immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Abington Park as you take a leisurely stroll through its picturesque pathways and discover the enchanting wonders that await you.

With its sprawling green lawns, vibrant flower beds, and majestic trees, Abington Park is a true oasis of tranquility in the heart of Northampton.

As you wander through the park, you’ll be greeted by the soothing melodies of chirping birds and the gentle rustle of leaves in the breeze, creating a peaceful ambiance that instantly washes away any stress or worries.

Abington Park isn’t just a feast for the eyes, but also a treasure trove of history and culture.

Along your stroll, you’ll come across the historic Abington Park Museum, housed in a beautiful Georgian manor.

Step inside to discover fascinating exhibitions showcasing the rich heritage of Northamptonshire, from its ancient past to its vibrant present.

As you continue your walk, you may stumble upon the stunning Japanese Garden, with its serene pond, wooden bridges, and meticulously landscaped foliage.

This hidden gem offers a tranquil retreat where you can sit and reflect, surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape, a place to enjoy a picnic with loved ones, or a chance to explore the history and culture of Northampton, Abington Park has it all.

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So, put on your walking shoes, take a deep breath of fresh air, and let the enchanting beauty of Abington Park transport you to a world of serenity and wonder.

Discover the charm of Delapré Abbey

Get ready to be captivated by the charm of Delapré Abbey, a historic gem that will transport you to a world of enchantment and wonder.

As soon as you step foot on the grounds, you’ll be greeted by the breathtaking beauty of the abbey’s stunning architecture. The intricate details of the building, from the ornate stonework to the grand entrance, will leave you in awe.

Inside the abbey, you’ll find a treasure trove of history waiting to be discovered. Take a guided tour and learn about the fascinating stories of the people who once lived here. From royal visits to wartime tales, there are countless narratives that will captivate your imagination.

As you explore the rooms, you’ll be transported back in time, imagining what life was like centuries ago.

One of the highlights of Delapré Abbey is its beautiful gardens. Step outside and stroll through the meticulously manicured lawns, taking in the vibrant colors of the flowers and the tranquil atmosphere. Find a quiet spot to sit and soak in the serenity, or take a leisurely walk along the pathways, enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Delapré Abbey is a must-visit destination. It’s a place where time stands still, and you can’t help but be enchanted by the charm and beauty that surrounds you.

So, make sure to add Delapré Abbey to your list of things to do in Northampton, and get ready to be transported to a world of wonder.

Shop at the bustling Market Square

When you’re in Northampton, don’t miss the chance to experience the vibrant atmosphere of Market Square as you shop for unique treasures.

As soon as you step into the square, you’ll be greeted by a bustling scene filled with colorful stalls, enticing aromas, and the sounds of vendors calling out their wares. It’s a sensory overload that will leave you feeling energized and excited to explore.

Market Square is a shopper’s paradise, offering a wide variety of goods to suit every taste and budget. From fresh produce and local delicacies to handmade crafts and vintage finds, there’s something for everyone.

You can spend hours browsing through the stalls, discovering hidden gems and chatting with the friendly vendors who are always eager to share their stories and recommendations.

Not only is Market Square a shopping haven, but it’s also a hub of community activity. Throughout the year, the square hosts a range of events and festivals, adding an extra layer of excitement to your shopping experience. Whether it’s a vibrant food fair, a lively music festival, or a charming Christmas market, there’s always something happening in Market Square that will make your visit even more memorable.

So, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Market Square and let your senses guide you as you shop for unique treasures. You’ll leave with not only a bag full of goodies but also memories of a lively and unforgettable experience in the heart of Northampton.

Indulge in local cuisine at St. Giles Street

As I stroll down St. Giles Street, my taste buds are tantalized by the enticing aromas wafting from the local eateries, inviting me to indulge in the delectable flavors of Northamptonshire cuisine. The street is lined with a variety of restaurants, cafes, and food stalls, each offering their own unique twist on traditional dishes.

From hearty pies to mouthwatering sausages, St. Giles Street is a food lover’s paradise. One of the must-try dishes in this area is the famous Northamptonshire sausage. Made with locally sourced ingredients and a blend of herbs and spices, these sausages are bursting with flavor. Whether you prefer them grilled, fried, or served in a sandwich, the Northamptonshire sausage is a true culinary delight.

Another local specialty is the Northamptonshire cheese, a creamy and tangy cheese that pairs perfectly with freshly baked bread. As I sample these local delicacies, I can’t help but appreciate the rich history and culinary heritage of Northampton. St. Giles Street truly offers a unique dining experience that showcases the best of Northamptonshire cuisine.

In addition to the savory offerings, St. Giles Street is also home to a range of sweet treats. From traditional English pastries to decadent cakes and desserts, there is something to satisfy every sweet tooth. One local favorite is the Northamptonshire plum pudding, a rich and fruity dessert that is often enjoyed during the holiday season.

As I indulge in these sweet delights, I can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia and warmth. The food here not only nourishes the body but also feeds the soul, making St. Giles Street a culinary destination worth exploring in Northampton.

Immerse yourself in history at the 78 Derngate Gallery

Immerse yourself in history by stepping into the 78 Derngate Gallery, where the vibrant colors and intricate designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic furniture and interior design transport you to a bygone era.

As soon as you enter the gallery, you’re greeted by the striking geometric patterns and bold color schemes that are characteristic of Mackintosh’s work. The attention to detail is truly remarkable, with every piece carefully crafted to create a harmonious and visually stunning environment.

Walking through the gallery, you can’t help but be captivated by the unique combination of art and functionality in Mackintosh’s designs. From the elegant chairs and tables to the sleek cabinets and lamps, each piece tells a story of innovation and creativity.

The gallery also offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of the building itself, which was originally designed by Mackintosh in 1916 as a remodel of an existing Georgian townhouse. It’s truly a testament to his skill and vision that his designs still feel fresh and modern today.

Immersing yourself in the 78 Derngate Gallery is not just a visual experience, but a journey through time. It’s a chance to appreciate the legacy of one of the most influential figures in the history of design and to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and artistic movements of the early 20th century.

So, if you’re a history enthusiast or simply appreciate beautiful craftsmanship, a visit to the 78 Derngate Gallery is an absolute must when exploring Northampton.

Enjoy a performance at the Royal Theatre

Get ready for a thrilling evening of entertainment by catching a performance at the Royal Theatre in Northampton. This historic venue is a must-visit for theater enthusiasts and offers a wide range of shows to suit all tastes.

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From classic plays to contemporary musicals, there is always something exciting happening at the Royal Theatre.

As you step inside the theater, you’re immediately greeted by its grandeur and elegance. The ornate architecture and plush seating create a sense of anticipation and excitement.

The stage is set, and you can feel the energy in the air as the lights dim and the curtains rise. Whether you’re a fan of drama, comedy, or musicals, the Royal Theatre has something for everyone.

The talented actors and actresses bring the characters to life, transporting you to different worlds and captivating your imagination. The performances are always top-notch, with impeccable acting and stunning set designs that add to the overall immersive experience.

Attending a show at the Royal Theatre isn’t just about watching a performance, but also about being part of a shared experience. The laughter, gasps, and applause from the audience create a sense of community and make the evening even more memorable.

So, grab a ticket and immerse yourself in the magic of live theater at the Royal Theatre in Northampton. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

Take a scenic walk along the River Nene

Strolling along the River Nene is an absolute delight, offering a picturesque walk that never fails to take my breath away.

The river winds its way through the heart of Northampton, providing a serene escape from the bustling city streets.

As I begin my walk, I’m immediately captivated by the tranquil beauty that surrounds me.

The shimmering waters reflect the sunlight, creating a mesmerizing dance of colors.

The gentle breeze rustles through the trees, carrying with it a sense of calm and tranquility.

I find myself completely immersed in the natural wonders that unfold before my eyes.

The River Nene is lined with stunning greenery, with trees and flowers adorning its banks.

The vibrant hues of the flora add a touch of magic to the already enchanting scenery.

As I continue my stroll, I encounter charming bridges that span the river, inviting me to pause and take in the breathtaking views.

The sound of birds chirping fills the air, their melodies blending harmoniously with the gentle lapping of the water against the riverbank.

I can’t help but feel a sense of peace and serenity wash over me as I immerse myself in this idyllic setting.

Walking along the River Nene is not only a visual feast, but also an opportunity to connect with nature and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Whether you’re seeking a moment of solitude or a romantic stroll with a loved one, this scenic walk is an absolute must-do when visiting Northampton.

So, put on your walking shoes, take a deep breath, and let the river guide you on a journey of tranquility and wonder.

Visit the beautiful Althorp Estate

Discover the captivating beauty of the Althorp Estate, a must-visit destination that will transport you to a world of enchantment and grandeur.

As you step onto the estate’s grounds, you’re immediately greeted by the breathtaking sight of the magnificent Althorp House. This stately home, steeped in history and surrounded by lush greenery, is truly a sight to behold. Its striking architecture and well-preserved interiors will leave you in awe, offering a glimpse into the lives of the Spencer family who’ve called this estate home for over 500 years.

Exploring the Althorp Estate is like stepping back in time. Wander through the meticulously manicured gardens, taking in the vibrant colors and fragrant scents that fill the air. As you stroll along the tree-lined paths, you may even stumble upon the tranquil lakeside, providing a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the impressive Stable Block, which houses an exhibition showcasing the history of the estate and the Spencer family. From antique carriages to fascinating artifacts, this exhibition offers a fascinating insight into the heritage of the estate.

A visit to the Althorp Estate is a truly enchanting experience. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a moment of tranquility, this destination has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the beauty and grandeur of this historic estate, and create memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Discover the hidden gems of Northamptonshire’s countryside

Immerse yourself in the picturesque countryside of Northamptonshire and uncover its hidden gems, waiting to be explored and cherished. As you venture into the countryside, you’ll be greeted by rolling hills, charming villages, and breathtaking landscapes that will take your breath away.

One of the must-visit destinations is the quaint village of Fotheringhay, famous for its historical significance. Here, you can explore Fotheringhay Castle, the birthplace of Richard III and the site of Mary, Queen of Scots’ execution. The castle ruins offer a fascinating glimpse into the past, and the surrounding countryside provides the perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll.

Another hidden gem in Northamptonshire’s countryside is the stunning Rockingham Forest. This ancient woodland is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Take a walk along the peaceful trails, breathe in the fresh scent of the forest, and listen to the birds chirping in the trees. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and an array of bird species.

For those seeking a bit of adventure, you can even try your hand at mountain biking or horseback riding through the forest. No matter how you choose to explore Rockingham Forest, you’ll be captivated by its natural beauty and tranquility.

Explore the historic St. Peter’s Church

When you step into the historic St. Peter’s Church, you can’t help but be overwhelmed by the sense of awe and reverence that fills the air. The church, with its stunning architecture and rich history, is a true gem in the heart of Northampton.

As you enter, your eyes are immediately drawn to the magnificent stained glass windows that line the walls, casting colorful rays of light onto the ancient stone floors. The intricate details of the carvings and sculptures that adorn the walls and ceiling are truly a sight to behold. Each corner of the church holds a story, from the beautiful altar to the intricately designed pews. You can almost feel the weight of history as you walk through the centuries-old doors.

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As you explore further, you’ll come across the church’s impressive organ, which has been played by talented musicians for generations. The sound of the organ fills the space, adding to the sense of grandeur and spirituality that permeates the church.

The church also houses a collection of historical artifacts, including ancient manuscripts and religious relics, which provide a glimpse into the past. The knowledgeable guides are always on hand to share fascinating stories and answer any questions you may have.

Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply someone looking for a quiet place to reflect, St. Peter’s Church is a must-visit destination in Northampton. Its beauty, history, and peaceful atmosphere make it a truly special place to explore and experience.

Experience the thrill of Silverstone Circuit

After exploring the historic St. Peter’s Church, I was ready for some adrenaline-pumping excitement. Luckily, just a short drive away from Northampton is the renowned Silverstone Circuit. As a racing enthusiast, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience the thrill of this iconic race track.

Silverstone Circuit is the home of British motorsport, and it has a rich history dating back to its beginnings as a World War II airfield. Today, it is one of the most prestigious racing circuits in the world, hosting the British Grand Prix and various other major motorsport events.

As I arrived at the circuit, I was immediately struck by the impressive facilities and the buzzing atmosphere. The sound of roaring engines filled the air, creating an electric atmosphere that was impossible to resist.

I decided to take a tour of the circuit to fully immerse myself in the world of motorsport. The knowledgeable guide led me through the paddock, where I saw teams preparing their cars for upcoming races. I even had the chance to stand on the famous podium and imagine what it would be like to celebrate victory in front of a cheering crowd.

As I walked around the circuit, I couldn’t help but feel the adrenaline rush that comes with the anticipation of high-speed racing. Whether you’re a motorsport enthusiast or simply looking for an exciting experience, Silverstone Circuit is a must-visit destination in Northampton.

Learn about shoe manufacturing at the Northampton Shoe Museum

Get ready to be amazed as you discover the artistry and craftsmanship behind shoe manufacturing at the Northampton Shoe Museum. As soon as you step foot inside, you’ll be transported into a world where the rich history of Northampton’s shoe industry comes to life.

The museum showcases the evolution of shoe making techniques and materials, giving you a fascinating insight into the meticulous process that goes into creating every pair of shoes.

The museum displays a vast collection of shoes, ranging from the elegant and ornate to the practical and functional. You can marvel at the intricate details of handmade shoes that were once worn by royalty and celebrities, or learn about the innovative techniques used in modern-day shoe production.

The exhibits are thoughtfully curated, allowing you to see the progression of styles and designs throughout the years. From the traditional leather shoes that put Northampton on the map to the cutting-edge technologies that shape the industry today, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the art of shoemaking.

A visit to the Northampton Shoe Museum is not only educational, but also a sensory delight. You can feel the different textures of leather, admire the vibrant colors of various shoe designs, and even try on some replica shoes to experience the comfort and craftsmanship firsthand.

The museum also offers guided tours and workshops, where you can learn about the different stages of shoe production and try your hand at some basic shoemaking techniques.

Whether you’re a shoe enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a unique cultural experience, the Northampton Shoe Museum is a must-visit destination that will leave you inspired by the skill and creativity that goes into every pair of shoes.

Take a day trip to the picturesque village of Stoke Bruerne

Immerse yourself in the charm of the picturesque village of Stoke Bruerne during your visit to the Northampton area. Nestled along the tranquil Grand Union Canal, this idyllic village offers a delightful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

With its quaint cottages, historic canal boats, and stunning countryside views, Stoke Bruerne is a hidden gem that is sure to captivate your senses.

As you wander through the village, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. The well-preserved 18th-century buildings exude a sense of history and charm, while the peaceful canal creates a serene atmosphere.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Canal Museum, located in a former warehouse. Here, you can learn about the fascinating history of the Grand Union Canal and its impact on Stoke Bruerne. From interactive exhibits to informative displays, the museum offers a captivating glimpse into the village’s past.

After visiting the museum, take a leisurely stroll along the towpath and soak in the beauty of the surrounding countryside. Admire the colorful narrowboats moored along the canal, each one with its own unique character and charm. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even hire a canal boat and navigate the waterways yourself.

Alternatively, indulge in a delicious meal at one of the village’s charming pubs or tea rooms, where you can savor traditional British cuisine while enjoying the peaceful ambiance.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, Stoke Bruerne is the perfect destination. Its picturesque setting, rich history, and serene atmosphere make it an unforgettable day trip from Northampton.

So, make sure to add this hidden gem to your itinerary and experience the enchantment of Stoke Bruerne for yourself.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Northampton, England is a hidden gem that offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. From exploring the rich history of Northampton Castle to immersing yourself in the art and culture at the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

One of the highlights of a visit to Northampton is strolling through the picturesque Abington Park. With its beautiful gardens, tranquil lakes, and charming cafe, it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind.

And don’t forget to pay a visit to Delapré Abbey, a stunning medieval building that’s steeped in history.

Whether you want to shop until you drop at Market Square, learn about the fascinating world of shoe manufacturing at the Northampton Shoe Museum, or experience the thrill of the Silverstone Circuit, Northampton has it all.

So why not plan a trip to Northampton and discover all that this amazing city has to offer? With its rich history, cultural attractions, and beautiful scenery, it’s a destination that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.

Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or a nature lover, Northampton has something for everyone. So pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to explore all the best things to do in Northampton, England.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.