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, including ones that have adjusted to the pandemic.
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
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
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 usually co-insides with New Years Day. It’s normally 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 this one takes place on 15 February 2020. Can’t make that? 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).
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
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.
Recommended Reading: 9 Lovely Northamptonshire Walks
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.
Sheep Shearing and Vikings
An unusual combination, but this fun family event at West Lodge Rural Centre works. My boy 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.
Recommended Reading: The Best Country Parks in Northamptonshire
June Events in Northampton
Harpole Strawberry Picking
Harpole Pick Your Own gets going in June as it’s strawberry picking time. They’ve made small adjustments to accommodate social distancing – screens at the tills, card payments, spreading visitors out down the aisles etc.
Head to the field, grab a basket and pick the ripe strawberries. Expect to pay around £4/5 for a large basket. Oh and don’t forget to see the pigs in the pen at the bottom of the field (where you enter).
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.
July Events in Northampton
Bite Street NN
Woohoo Bite Street is back! This street-food pop-up will be on 10 and 11 July 2020 with new social distancing measures in place. Tables will be spaced 4m apart, groups limited to six people and there will be a one way socially distanced queuing system.
Expect epic food and drink traders serving artisan craft cider, tacos and more. Book your spot in advance (see link).
Car Park Party
A safe drive-in experience for families and friends, this exciting weekend (17-18 July 2020), offers three fun events.
On the Saturday, there are two Horrible Histories performances to enjoy. The cast typically perform in London’s West End and Horrible Histories live on stage has become a worldwide phenomenon, so it’s a real treat to have the chance to see this show in Northampton – and from the comfort of your own car! Choose from 11.30am or 2.30pm. My two are very excited to see this show!
There’s the chance to watch The Comedy Club on the Friday evening and on the Saturday evening, a spot of karaoke, featuring 80s cheese and musicals – what a combo! A live band play on stage and the lyrics are projected on to a screen, so you can sing along from your own car.
Tickets are selling out quickly, so to nab yours and find out more head here.
Delapré Abbey is hosting a foodie event on 17 July 2020. Try some delicious food and drink, whilst enjoying the music from DJ Jazzi Vibes. Expect flavours from South Africa, Italy and more.
The event is geared up in line with the Covid-19 protocols, so expect timed entry, spaced out stalls and seating etc. Tickets are only £1, but must be booked in advance.
August Events in Northampton
Blisworth Canal Festival
Looking for cheap things to do in Northampton? Head to the Blisworth Canal Festival on 8 and 9 August 2020 – 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
This year the iconic Northampton Festival is on 18-19 September 2020 at the Racecourse. A weekend of hot air balloons, funfair rides, fireworks, local produce and more. It’s £2.50 entry (free for those under 1m), so a great cheap family day out in Northampton.
Harpole Scarecrow Festival
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. My boy loved the homemade slime stall where you could notch it up a level with glitter and colours.
Entry is free, though donations are welcomed. It’s on 12 and 13 September 2020.
Sunflower PYO is fairly new here in Northampton. In 2019 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.
October – Halloween Events in Northampton 2020
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!
2019 saw a 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. Dates for 2020 are yet to be confirmed.
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.
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. Dates for 2020 are yet to be confirmed.
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.
Recommended Reading: Warwick Castle Events
November – Fireworks Events in Northampton 2020
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 usually 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
Santa Fun Run
Want to do something a bit different this year? Join in with the Northampton Santa Fun Run at the Racecourse. Entry usually 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 – 2020 event dates to be confirmed. 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 usually 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.
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 usually 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 sell out super quickly.
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
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.
Other Paused Events
The Northampton Balloon Festival is currently taking a break. Fingers crossed it comes back for summer 2021.
Yardley Fest Northampton was a firm favourite in our household, but the pub is soon to be under new management and the event may or may not continue.
The Big Olney Food Festival is taking a break for 2020 and hopes to be back in 2021. It usually takes place in September.
The Teddy Bear Festival is in the small village of Little Houghton and is sadly not taking place in 2020.
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 also amateur raft racing, which gets loads of laughs. Unfortunately, this event is on pause for 2020 too.
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