What to See and Do in Northampton
Living life at a gentle pace, Northampton is miles away from the hustle and bustle of big city pressure.
The relaxed, rural charm of Northampton will delight all visitors no matter where your tastes lie. There is always something entertaining to see and do.
See the tranquil countryside, stroll through thatched roof villages, be a Saints or Silverstone spectator or settle down to some well-earned refreshments.
Every trip to Northampton is a chance to have a weekend break, perfectly suited for you.
With Holiday Inn Express, we have some favourite ways of spending a weekend in our charming town. For a little guide on how you may wish to spend some time in Northampton, please have a look at our guide.
Hope to see you in Northampton soon!
Fresh Morning Air
Just a short trip from our Northampton hotel is the old hunting ground of Henry VIII, which today is a brilliant place to explore. Salcey Forest probably has slightly less wild boars than it did in Henry VIII's day, however you will still be able to see your fair share of wonderful wildlife.
For animal lovers, squirrels, deer, woodpeckers and various birds of prey live within the forest so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that lucky sighting. There are plenty of colour-coded pathways to walk along. Each of which varies in length, great for a short stroll through the woods or a good forest hike.
If you'd like to explore the forest from a different perspective, make sure to take the great tree-top walk, winding through the woodland branches before taking you to the top of the forest and the spectacular vista.
There is even a kids' play area to let the little ones loose on and when the time comes to feed some hungry souls, Salcey Forest has plenty of picnic areas to settle down in.
For those with a sweet tooth, the forest café stocks lovely ice cream...so go on, treat yourself!
Speaking of treating yourself, Northampton has a varied and rich selection of shopping opportunities – so don't feel guilty when something special catches your eye.
Whilst shopping in Northampton, you'll soon realise it's a different experience to most other towns. There is relaxed almost calming mood. With the combination of exotic items, brand bargains and fine traditional items to uncover - Northampton is an enjoyable shopping experience for all.
The lovely Victorian Courtyard in which you'll find the Heart of Shires. A delightful, quirky retail outlet that's home to a range of independent shops containing plenty of interesting items to browse over. If you're looking for that gift you just can't find anywhere else, chances are you'll find just such the thing here.
After a satisfying hunt, you should stop by the Darlington Tea Rooms for a chance to rest the arms and enjoy a tasty light lunch – accompanied by the toe-tapping tunes from the bands on the bandstand.
Everybody appreciates a good, well-stocked outdoor market, which will please visitors in Northampton. The well-known and well-aged gathering in Market Square is just such a pleasant market. The atmosphere, colour, scents and hidden gems are plentiful.
In Market Square, you'll find everything from the best selection of fresh local produce, retro clothing, fashionable antiques and exotic crafts – maintaining the historic tradition that has taken place in Northampton for many a year.
The grounds of Castle Ashby are just lovely to visit.
The peaceful gardens are ideal for a wonderful summer's day stroll, each are extremely well maintained with beautiful floral attractions. For families, there are plenty of areas to explore in the warming sunshine. There are four distinctive gardens to enjoy, particularly the inspiring Butterfly Garden.
You may also want to stop by the Orangery Building or the churchyard for some memorable photo opportunities. The greenhouse is filled with colourful fuchsias and impressive chilli plants. A peaceful woodland oasis awaits you at the Arboretum, with the UK's largest willow tree there to enchant all who see it.
Children will love the farmyard with the local animal residents; ponies, pigs and the cute and mischievous meerkats. On the impeccably manicured lawns, you can all settle down to a friendly game of croquet.
With the café, you can spoil yourself with a lovely homemade cake or stop in to pick up some freshly made jams or chutneys to take home with you.
Visit Castle Ashy and you'll have a great green day out.
If the weather decides to be uncooperative, why not pop into a village pub for a pint and tasty pie!
The historic town of Northampton has always served thirsty travellers well. Since the 18th century, the coach inns of Northampton saw traffic passing through from Oxford, London and Liverpool. Even Charles Dickens drank in one of Northampton's traditional inns. Today, the local pubs have lost none of their old-time charm.
66 Overstone Road
The Lamplighter is one of Northampton's finer pubs. A welcome shelter for locals and guests, the warm friendly atmosphere that radiates inside is only bettered by the fantastic, home-cooked food on offer.
The available pub fare is as you'd expect, with the refreshing surprise that whatever you plump for you could be sure of a hearty meal. The Lamplighter's Sunday roast comes with all the proper trimmings, bold gravy, giant roast potatoes and those all-important Yorkshire Puddings.
The homemade burgers are terrific and the tasty sandwiches all come on delicious thick bread. If you have room left, we can recommend the cheese board for desert, with a selection supplied by the local mongers St. Giles Street cheese.
Importantly for a pub, there is a great selection of real ales, fruit ciders, wines and whiskies to cater for your particular fancy. The old fashioned, relaxed nature of The Lamplighter makes for a lovely stop-off for both young and old.
121 Bridge Street
This atmospheric pub is just as it should be; the staff are friendly and knowledgeable, the curio on the wall is authentic and interesting and the range of cask ales are far too tempting.
Perfect for when you'd like to know a little more about any of the seasonal ales on tap, you'll find yourself trying something new with every trip to the bar. For an interesting surprise, there are a few Belgium fruit beers to sample and with their obvious affinity to all things hoppy and refreshing, The Malt Shovel Tavern regularly holds beer festivals celebrating the finest local drops around.
Come here for a lovely taste of Northampton, with good company and no distractions to interrupt the conversation by the crackling fireplace. If you do like a bit of live music with your pint, the Malt Shovel Tavern has a brilliant blues band to enjoy on Wednesday nights.
Woburn Safari Park
Have a go at something different. Of course, Northampton has plenty to keep all ages entertained, but for a daring day amongst some serene scenery Go Ape! makes for a perfect adventure. Set in the wonderful Woburn Safari Park, Go Ape! is a fun filled treetop adventure course, featuring 6 sections of absolute enjoyment.
You will have to challenge any fear of heights you might have, although there is no better way to do so than at Go Ape! The whole experience makes for a thrilling time; soaring many feet above the ground, swinging like Tarzan and showing the monkeys in the safari park how it's done.
The supportive staff at Go Ape! ensures every visitor is comfortable, take safety very seriously with (expert equipment) and after their thorough safety briefing you are ready to take on the incredibly fun course.
Starting with an adrenaline-filled zip-line crossing, conquer your apprehension before making your way through the various obstacles, bridges and platforms. Depending on group numbers, the expected time to complete the course would be between 1.5 to 3 hours.
It is a great rush for kids and adults to see the spectacular views of the forest and although perhaps it is initially scary, it is well worth fighting the fear. The course does have some tricky points at which upper body strength may be tested however; there are also alternative, less strenuous routes and the instructors are very encouraging.
The whole family will feel extremely satisfied with the whole experience, especially with the final zip-line journey to finish the course.
• Children must be 10 years old or over
• Wear something you don't mind getting muddy and dress for the weather.
• Gloves come in very handy as does insect repellent.
Adventure course Prices
Children (10yrs +): £24
Health and Safety requirements
• Minimum Age: 10yrs
• Minimum Height: 1.4m (4ft7")
• Maximum weight: 20.5 stones (130kg)
• Under 18s must be supervised by a participating adult