The Best Northampton Events 2020 for Families

The year is jam-packed with fun family-friendly Northampton events. You just have to know where to look, which is where I come in! Wondering what’s on in Northampton? I’ve rounded up all my favourite events for the whole year.

I’ve lived in Northampton for over 30 years. I love taking my children to these exciting events in Northampton, Northamptonshire and just beyond the county lines. And I’m sure you will too.

Looking for things to do in Northampton, rather than events? Try this round-up of 30 of the best activities in Northampton.

The Best Northamptonshire Events for 2020

Best Northampton Events
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Most of these events are pretty cheap and some even have free entry, but make for the most lovely full day out in Northampton. I’ve put them in calendar order as there’s something for every single month. Enjoy!

January Events in Northampton

Park Run

Shake off the January blues and kick start those resolutions with a family-friendly run at the Northampton Park Run at the Racecourse.

The Park Run is normally on a Saturday morning, but this run will be on a Wednesday to co-inside with New Years Day. It’s free and all abilities are welcome. It’s a 5k route and children are welcome; running with an adult, being pushed in a buggy or cheering on from the sidelines. There are a few playgrounds at the Racecourse.

Recommended Reading: Over 30 Things to Do in Northampton

February Events in Northampton

Santa Pod Raceway Events

Looking for unusual things to do with kids in Northamptonshire? Head to Stunt Fest at Santa Pod. Watch monster trucks and other quirky, high speed cars perform stunts, tricks and race one another. It’s loud, exciting and super fun. There are also fairground rides and sometimes firework displays.

It’s usually held in the February half-term and the next one takes place on 15 February 2020. Can’t make that one? They have a whole Santa Pod calendar of fun events.

Top tip: Bring ear-defenders for little ones.

Recommended Reading: The Best Restaurants in Northampton

Lambing at West Lodge Park

The Lambing Festival at West Lodge Rural Centre is such a good family day out in Northampton. Children (and adults!) have the chance to bottle feed the fluffy new lambs, watch the ewes give birth and to hear informal, but informative talks about the lambs.

Around this time there’s usually a lot of other newborns around, including piglets, chicks, guinea pigs and bunnies. It’s a very cute family day out, particularly as there’s a great outdoor and indoor playground too.

The Lambing Festival usually takes place in the February half-term (16-24 February).

Guinea pig petting at West Lodge Rural Centre
Guinea pig petting at West Lodge Rural Centre

March Events in Northampton

Bottle Feed Lambs in Northampton

Need more cuteness in your life? Bottle feed lambs at Mini Meadows as part of your visit to the farm. You’ll be asked if you want to take part when you arrive at the farm and given a slot. Places are limited and you’ll be ushered into a pen.

You’ll be given a bottle and the hungry lambs then bound in to guzzle the milk. They do get very excited, jumping up on you, so it’s worth prepping young children so they know what to expect.

Top tip: Arrive for opening time and book your slot straight away as they often sell out.

April – Easter Events in Northampton

Best Easter Events Northampton
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Castle Ashby Easter Egg Hunt

The Castle Ashby Easter Egg Hunt is a firm favourite in our household. Held in the impressive grounds of the Castle Ashby estate, children are given a sheet to follow and tick off on the way round the gardens. At the end of the loop route they can exchange their sheet for tasty treats.

It’s buggy-friendly and there’s a playground at the start/end, as well as a small café, so it’s probably a half-day activity. Toilets are available at the start/end. Children tickets are usually a few quid.

Top tip: Tickets go on sale in March and often sell out, so set yourself a reminder.

Recommended Reading: Your Guide to Castle Ashby

Muddy Education Easter Egg Hunt

Muddy Education offer awesome forest school style sessions for children throughout the year, but again, the Easter one is very popular.

Set in the beautiful village of Holdenby, children are encouraged to explore the beautiful woodland, tracks, hedgerows and historical ponds.

Top tip: Puddle suits and wellies are ideal gear. It’s all about embracing nature here.

Delapre Abbey Easter Egg Hunt

The Delapré Abbey Easter Egg Hunt is a celebration of spring, set in the beautiful, historical gardens. It offers little ones the chance to follow a themed trail to earn an Easter prize. There are usually opportunities to take part in Easter craft activities and Easter characters to entertain the children.

Top tip: Time your visit with lunch and dine in the Delapré Abbey café. It’s pricey, but lovely.

May Events in Northampton

Althorp Food and Drink Festival

This is such a great family day out in Northampton. Who doesn’t like food and drink?!

The Althorp estate only runs a few events a year, so this is a great chance to visit the beautiful grounds. At the award-winning Althorp Food Festival you’ll find over many marquees packed with over 100 stalls selling homemade and creative foods, as well as local brews, gins and fizzes. The best bit is they tempt you over with free samples.

There are also usually bird, bug and reptile shows, face painting, cookery masterclasses, live music and more. It’s a great family day out in Northamptonshire.

It’s buggy-friendly, with a free mini-bus offering rides from the car park to the site entry (it’ a 5-10 minute sloped walk). Under 12s are free with a paying adult, so with adult tickets costing £9 it’s great value.

Top tip: As it only runs over one weekend book as soon as the tickets go on sale.

Althorp Food Festival
Althorp Food Festival

Sheep Shearing and Vikings

An unusual combination, but this fun family event at West Lodge Rural Centre works. Nova spoke about this Sheep Shearing and Vikings event for months afterwards!

Enjoy the usual fun of the farm, including the indoor and outdoor playgrounds, but also watch the sheep being sheared and learn about the process. It’s a lot harder than you might think. Children are encouraged to ask questions and can touch the freshly trimmed sheep.

At the back of the farm step back in time to the Viking era. Enter a Viking encampent, meeting Vikings, seeing their tools and how they would have lived, before watching a role play fight.  

Top tip: Check the schedule when you arrive to ensure you don’t miss out on the various activites.

June Events in Northampton

Harpole Strawberry Picking

Harpole Pick Your Own gets going in June as it’s strawberry picking time.

Head to the field, grab a basket and let them pick the ripe strawberries. No doubt, like mine, they’ll scoff loads on the way round, but that’s the fun of it all and I’m sure the prices reflect that. Expect to pay around £4/5 for a large basket.

Top tip: Check their Facebook page before visiting to check it’s open and that they have strawberries. Sometimes they close for a few days to allow them to ripen or to recover from a busy period.

Harpole Strawberry Picking
Harpole Strawberry Picking

Family Camping Weekend

This is a lovely thing to do with kids in Northampton. At the end of June West Lodge Rural Centre usually open up their field for a Family Camping Weekend.

Bring your tent for two-nights and enjoy twilight walks, hog roast, camp fires, marshmallows and stargazing.

An adult ticket is £26, children under 2 cost £7 and older children cost £20.

Top tip: Pitches are limited so book ahead. And pack a head torch for younger children.

S’mores – a campfire favourite

Recommended Reading: Ultimate Packing List for Families

July Events in Northampton

Teddy Bear Party

The Teddy Bear Festival in the small village of Little Houghton is super cute. Spread over a weekend in July, villagers decorate their houses and gardens with various teddy bears. Some go all out with toy trains and abseiling teddies!

There are various stalls with classics like Tombola, as well as food and drink stands, and even dog shows. Wander round the village ticking off the various teddy characters.

Top tip: Bring a hat for little ones.

Northampton Festival

The iconic Northampton Festival is usually at the start of July at the Racecourse. A weekend of hot air balloons, funfair rides, fireworks, local produce and more. It’s free entry, so a great free family day out in Northampton.

RiverFest Olney

Okay, so this is slightly outside of Northampton, but it’s such a good free day out and not too far away that I had to include it.

RiverFest in Olney is a day of family fun. A load of plastic ducks are chucked in at one end of the River Great Ouse and then ‘race’, so you can imagine how fun that is for littles. There’s amateur raft racing, which gets loads of laughs.

RiverFest Olney

The whole village joins in, with a field at one end offering fairground rides, live local music, food and drink.

Olney RiverFest
Olney RiverFest

August Events in Northampton

Northampton Balloon Festival

See the sky fill with colour during this family event in Northampton. Subject to the weather lots of hot air balloons go up at 6am and 6pm on the three days of the event.

On the Saturday evening, usually around 9pm, the balloon glow scores highly with little ones. The hot air balloons are tethered to the ground and bob to music.

The Northampton Balloon Festival has been going for years, but has changed location and format over time. The 2019 event was held at Billing Aquadrome and entry was £10 per car.

Yardley Fest Northampton

Another favourite in our house, this village pub usually runs a lovely family weekend, known as Yardley Fest. The field behind the pub becomes the festival site, with a bouncy castle for the kids, an impressive BBQ and live music. Entry is free – just pay for your food and drink.

Top tip: Bring a blanket to sit on.

Blisworth Canal Festival

Looking for cheap things to do in Northampton? Head to the Blisworth Canal Festival – it’s free!

The village is dressed in cute bunting and you’ll find classic and military vehicles, crafts, live music and dancers, funfair rides, dog shows and lots more.  

September Events in Northampton

Ah, the Harpole Scarecrow Festival so lovely. A real feel-good day out in Northampton. The villagers create scarecrows and put them in their front gardens for all to enjoy. It’s not just all twee though – some go all out. Last year there was a Star Wars moving spaceship that was almost taller and wider than the house! The Harry Potter Sorting Hat was also a favourite of ours.

You’ll find locals selling food, drink and a few other things. Nova loved the homemade slime stall where you could notch it up a level with glitter and colours.

Entry is free, though donations are welcomed.

Sunflowers Northampton

Sunflower PYO is fairly new here in Northampton. This year Overstone Grange Farm opened its field for Sunflower picking and was overwhelmed with the response. Take a pair of secateurs and pick your own sunflowers for 50p a flower.

At weekends you can buy a coffee or light snack from the food van.

Top tip: Check their Facebook page to check their open and have flowers. Go as soon as you can so you don’t miss out.

sunflowers PYO northampton
PYO sunflowers in Northampton

Olney Food Festival

The Big Olney Food Festival is a feast for all usually around the second weekend of September. Again, it’s just outside of Northampton, but worth a spot on here.

Expect lots of stalls selling food and drink from all over the world. The Greek dishes and paella are usually a winner with my family. There’s live music throughout the days too.

Entry is free, so just bring cash to match your appetite.

October – Halloween Events in Northampton 2020

Halloween Events in Northampton
Halloween Events in Northampton

Castle Ashby Pumpkin Hunt

The Castle Ashby pumpkin hunt is a winner for my family. We love it! And it seems it’s not just us, as it often sells out, particularly on the weekend slots.

Set in the sweeping grounds of the Castle Ashby estate, follow a loop route in the gardens, ticking off the creatively carved pumpkins. Some are up high, some are hiding and some a little easier. One section of the pumpkin trail usually goes through a spooky marquee filled with ghouls and creepy things. It’s a family-friendly event so it’s nothing too scary, but if your little ones aren’t keen you can bypass this small section.

As mentioned in the Easter event, there’s a playground, café and toilets at the start/end of the loop. And it’s buggy-friendly. Adult tickets cost £8 and children tickets cost £3. It’s worth it.

Top tip: Buy your tickets as soon as they go on sale – usually in September. And don’t forget your warm clothes for this outdoor event.

Muddy Education Pumpkin Trail

Set in the small village of Holdenby – home to the famous Holdenby House – little ones can follow a trail in the woodland, ticking off the unique pumpkins. The E.T. one is a favourite with my two!

The Muddy Education pumpkin trail usually ends with crafts and a campfire, with toffee apples and drinks. There’s even a special pumpkin for babies session. Too cute!

Muddy Education Pumpkin trail
Muddy Education pumpkin trail

Halloween Ice-Skating

Another new addition to the Northampton events circuit; Halloween ice-skating!

The ever popular Christmas ice-rink at Beckworth Emporium is now being joined by a Halloween themed ice-rink. There are half-price sessions available, as well as exclusive parent and toddler ones. You can take buggies onto the ice – I did last year at the Christmas one and honestly, it’s so much fun!

Fancy dress is encouraged, with a prize for the best. Make a whole day of it with lunch, or at least a cake, in the ever popular café.

Pumpkin Picking Northampton

Pumpkin Picking in Northampton is available at Overstone Grange Farm. 2019 was the first time it had been offered. Expect it open around the third week of October. Little ones (and adults!) can pick their very own pumpkin. Prices haven’t been announced yet.

Top tip: Go as soon as you can. The patch is quite small so it’s likely the pumpkins will go quickly.

Pumpkin picking northampton
Pumpkin picking in Northampton

Ghost Walk Northampton

If you have older children why not try a ghost walk this Halloween? Usually at the end of October Abington Park Museum offers ghost walks.

The walks detail the history, and many uses of the manor house, which include being a 19th century asylum. Hear ghost stories and tales of strange goings on in the house. Spooky!

Tickets cost £12 per adult.

Halloween Events Beyond Northamptonshire

Cattows Farm Events

With over 100,000 pumpkins, Cattows Farm offers a much more scaled-up pumpkin PYO patch up. We went a few years ago and had loads of fun. There are free wheelbarrows to use and every kind of pumpkin you could imagine, as well as some family-friendly spooky displays.

You don’t need to book and the pumpkin patch is open seven days a week from 9am – 5pm during October. There’s an onsite café and playground, so you can make a day of it. It’s only a 60-minute drive from Northampton.

Warwick Castle Halloween

Better suited for older children, but worth a mention because the Warwick events are so good. The Warwick Castle Halloween event includes a family-friendly ghost trail, a witches show, Halloween trail with lively characters and more. Tickets usually have 25% off and start from £20.

Warwick Castle Events
Warwick Castle

Recommended Reading: Warwick Castle Events

November – Fireworks Events in Northampton 2020

Fireworks Events 2019 Northampton
Fireworks Events 2019 in Northampton

Fireworks in the Park 2020

This family-friendly day out offers much more than just fireworks and combines forces with popular local food event, StrEAT food.

Usually on the first Sunday of November, there’s a fairground, food and music. There’s also talk of mulled wine and hot chocolate, glow in the dark face painting, wands and more. Fireworks usually start around 7.30pm.

Fireworks in the Park is a free fireworks show in Northampton, but donations are welcomed.

Firework Night in Northampton

Billing Aquadrome usually hosts a firework night on the first Saturday in November and the fireworks usually go up at 8.30pm.

Entry is normally £5 per car.

December – Christmas Events in Northampton

Best Christmas events Northampton
The best 2019 Christmas events in Northampton

Santa Fun Run

Want to do something a bit different this year? Join in with the Northampton Santa Fun Run at the Racecourse. Entry starts from £8, with the funds going to the Northampton Hope Centre and three other local charities.

The run follows both a 2.5k and 5k route, with free Santa costumes for entrants.

Top tip: If you’re not joining in, go along to watch and cheer. It’s not very often you see a group of Santas!

Recommended Reading: The Best Christmas Events in Northamptonshire, Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire

Northampton Santa Run

Want to do something a bit different this year? Join in with the Northampton Santa Run in Abington Park. This festive course is one of the UK’s largest Santa runs and walks.

You can walk, run or conger in this charity fun run and dressing up is thoroughly encouraged. Free Santa suits are given out on arrival. Families are welcomed, as are dogs – there’s even a prize for the best dressed dog!

Entry starts from £10 and the money goes to the The Lewis Foundation.

Top tip: Spread holiday cheer for all to hear by going along to watch!

PYO Christmas Tree in Northampton

Go to the Christmas tree farm Northampton over at Mears Ashby. Pick your own Christmas tree from the huge range and then chop it down yourself (or get a hand from one of the staff). The staff are so lovely and will even entertain Elf on the Shelf antics – my sister had them bundle her elf into the netting!

Usually open during the first two weekends of December.

Beckworth Ice-skating

It’s an annual tradition to go ice skating at Beckworth Emporium. It’s a temporary rink offering ice skating for all, with regular parent and toddler sessions (you can take the buggy on), as well as curling lanes (like bowling on ice!).

There are penguin ice skating aids available for little ones and every now and then the snow machine blasts fake snow on skaters. It’s a classy, lovely bit of Christmas fun.

Team your visit with Beckworth Emporium Afternoon Tea or lunch. Skating sessions start from £8.

Recommended Reading: The Best Afternoon Teas (including Beckworth Emporium)

Christmas at Riverside Hub

Oh Christmas at The Hub is so much fun. It’s bonkers and over the top, but lovely and endearing at the same time.

Booking a visit to Santa means that you can also enjoy Riverside Hub; one of the UK’s biggest soft play places. It’s a great day anyway, but paired with the Christmas event it’s even better and a whole day out.

Children take part in Christmas crafts, like biscuit decorating, play festive games and enjoy a snow blizzard disco with very enthusiastic entertainers. And of course, get to meet Santa (one family at a time). The Santa is really convincing and the children love it. We go every year.

Top tip: Book as soon as tickets go on sale – usually around September. Weekend slots have reportedly already sold out.

Christmas at the Hub
Christmas at the Hub

Wild and Woolly Northampton

The Wild & Woolly Motocross event is a firm favourite with locals in Northampton. Taking place on Boxing Day, it’s been going for years and years and is even said to be the world’s oldest continuously-run scrambles. Sadly it got called off in 2019, but it’s hoped it’ll be back for 2020.

Don your wellies, put littles in snowsuits and watch the motorbikes racing in the mud! The 50 or so motobikes usually start at the Arm Farm, Blisworth (NN7 3DW). Entry is free and practice starts at 10am, with the race at 11am.

Christmas Events Beyond Northamptonshire

Blenheim Lights

We’ve been going to the Christmas Trail at Blenheim Palace for the past few years. It’s a lovely festive evening and worth the hour or so drive from Northampton.

The grounds are adorned in twinkly, colour-changing lights in various artistic displays. Walk underneath lit up tunnels and past blankets of festive colours. It’s magical.

You’ll find festive stalls and rides at the start of the trail and a few food and drink opportunities midway round the loop walk.

This Christmas event runs from 23 November 2020 – 6 January 2021. Tickets start from £12.50. Under 5s are free.

Top tip: Book as soon as tickets go on sale as they sell out, especially for weekend slots. If you have young ones book the earliest slot so they’re not too tired.

Christmas at Waddesdon Manor

A little closer at 40-minutes from Northampton, the Waddesdon Manor Christmas fair is held at National Trust property.

There’s a beautifully lit up Christmas trail to follow in the gardens, as well as the opportunity to make a lantern, write a letter to Santa and more. There are lots of dining opportunities, including inside a winter wigwam.

Christmas at Waddesdon Manor runs from 17 November 2020 – 6 January 2021. Tickets start from £5.50.

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