Northamptonshire is in the very heart of England, often described as the "Rose of the Shires" it benefits from being within easy reach of London, Birmingham and Oxford. The county is home to some of the most beautiful countryside in England meaning you can choose between the vibrant town or the country lanes and pretty villages.
Northampton town centre hosts an array of shops from recognised high street brands to independents. Out of town shopping can be found at the retail parks of Sixfields, Riverside and St James', or for something with more character you can visit Heart of the Shires which is based around a Victorian courtyard.
The county as a whole is home to an array of restaurants, bars and cafés, with an annual Food and Drink Awards event promoting the very best of the best. The range of cuisine available across Northampton includes well-known chain restaurants and diverse and independents bistros. You can choose from international cuisine including Portuguese, Thai, French, Italian and Japanese.
Sport and Leisure
Northampton enjoys world famous sporting heritage, including the Saints rugby, Northampton Town Football Club (known as the Cobblers) and the Northamptonshire County Cricket Club (known as the Steelbacks).
A short drive from Northampton is Silverstone race track, the home of British Motorsport. Rockingham Road speedway in Corby offers Europe's fastest banked oval racing circuit and offers events throughout the year.
On top of that, Northamptonshire boasts a number of golf courses, equestrian and country pursuits, indoor rock climbing and excellent water sports centres to keep you busy.
There are a number of award-winning country parks, each with their own unique features. these include:
- Irchester Country Park hosts the Jungle Parc UK high ropes adventure course
- Stanwick Lakes - set in the Nene Valley, features unique play areas for the children, bird hide, cycling, horse riding route, picnic areas and an outdoor theatre.
- Sywell Country Park - hosts Beckworth Emporium, renowned for its afternoon teas.
- Brixworth Country Park - offers stunning views over Pitsford Reservoir and trails for walking, cycling, running, wildlife spotting and family picnics.
- Brampton Valley Way - a 'linear' country park, this 14-mile old railway line runs between Market Harborough and Northampton, and is a great cycling route taking in the renowned spooky Great Oxenden Tunnel.
- Barnwell Country Park - near to the historic market town of Oundle.
- Salcey Forest - only 7 miles from the centre of Northampton, offers a tree-top walkway.
- Fineshade Woods - also worth a visit with play areas and cycling available.
Stately Homes and Country Houses
Northamptonshire boasts a number of fascinating stately homes and country houses spanning Medieval to Victorian eras. These include Althorp - the home to the Spencer family for over 500 years and the burial place of the late Princess Diana, and Canons Ashby - a tranquil Elizabethan manor house set in beautiful 18th Century gardens.