Despite what you might have heard, Northamptonshire is not in the north of England. It’s only an hour away from London. And as we’re busting myths, there’s a whole lot more to do and see in this county than visit museums. If you’re looking for stylish, exciting and unique things to do in Northampton, let me be your guide. After searching the net for other travel blogs of my hometown I discovered, well not a lot to be honest. Let’s just say the stuff that I did find was a little on the dull side (at least for most people under the age of seventy).
Here are the Taylor Hearts Travel seven pearls of wisdom (#7POW) on things to do in Northampton:
♥ Bijou Screenings
If you’re over the party scene it doesn’t mean you have to stay in. Head to The Errol Flynn Filmhouse for a classy cinema screening. This filmhouse shows an eclectic mix of films and performances, including the best in world, independent, British and mainstream. Big blockbuster titles sit side by side operas, ballets and more. It seats a modest 88 guests, all in premium leather seats with their own side table.
Grown up snacks are available, including gourmet popcorn – try the olive oil and sea-salt flavour – though if you’re averse to noise, you could opt for one of the ‘food free’ screenings. You can enjoy drinks served in glass and crockery too, including wine from New Lodge Vineyard (a local fave). It’s a unique and stylish experience that’s well worth a try.
♥ Haycock & Tailbar
If you’re up for a classy night out, head to Haycock & Tailbar Associates. It’s a trendy, secret (or not so secret) cocktail bar just a few steps away from Errol Flynn. There’s no glaring signage, so you’ll need to book ahead and then look out for the discreet black door. Navigate your way in and you’ll be led down to the small den for some of the town’s most creative and bespoke cocktails. You can opt to have a bite to eat down here too, but why waste precious party time on food when there are delicious drinks to be sampled?
Buddies is an institution in Northampton. It’s become so popular that there are lots of branches in and around the area. However, the original branch in Dychurch Lane (Northampton town centre) might as well be the one and only. It’s an American style diner with exposed brickwork, enough memorabilia to open a museum and the best burgers in town.
The menu mimics those giant broadsheet papers, with over a billion different burger toppings. Without a doubt, make sure you add the pouring cheese to your fries. If you manage a starter, main and dessert you deserve a medal. Whatever you go for, don’t miss out on a dessert (even if you have to share it) – The Mint Stint sundae is firm favourite.
♥ Beckworth Emporium
Talking of ‘Bs’, make sure you include space in your itinerary (or stomach) to visit Beckworth Emporium. Dismiss the fact that it’s in a nursery (or what most people call it, a posh garden centre). It serves the best Afternoon Tea on offer in Northampton. It serves breakfast and lunch too, both of which are delicious, but the Afternoon Tea is the main reason to visit. It’s served on slates, with both savoury and sweet bites. At just over £20 for two, it’s really good value, but even if it was more it’d be worth it. There’s nearly always a queue to get a seat so factor in some buffer time if you’re busy.
♥ Countryside Escapes
Northamptonshire is full of beautiful countryside walks that leave you feeling like you’re a million miles away from urban life. You can literally travel in any direction and you’ll soon find a park. Brixworth Country Park, Stanwick Lakes, and Sywell Country Park are just a few of many top recommendations. Most of them have free, or very cheap, parking options and welcome dogs. There’s also a really pretty walk from Grendon to Castle Ashby.
At the mention of Castle Ashby, it’s the perfect chance to recommend a few other impressive buildings. Don’t worry, it’s not just about the architecture or history (though both of which are impressive). Many of the manor houses and stately homes have spas or Afternoon Tea experiences. Fawsley Hall and Sedgebrook Hall are always popular choices. Many of the sprawling lawns are often filled with cute fetes and fairs, showcasing local cakes, crafts and more, so check online before you visit.
Northamptonshire is home to some of the most iconic sports, teams and venues, including Silverstone (home of British Motorsport) and the Saints rugby team. Grab tickets to watch a match, try a race track experience or simply have a tour of the grounds. You’ll find loads of sports fun on offer. If you’re more into your sports men than sports, head to Aunty Ruths on a Friday or Saturday night and you’ll probably bump into one or two of the local rugby stars. If you prefer women, Una from The Saturdays is often seen at the Saints rugby ground cheering Ben Foden on.
Have you been to Northamptonshire? Do you have any recommendations to add to this list? X