Things to do in Northampton
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Situated within the county of Northamptonshire, in the East Midlands region of England, Northampton is one of the largest towns in the United Kingdom, and a location with historic royal connections. In recent times, it has undergone significant expansion work and even applied for city status at the turn of the millennium.
The town has experienced major population growth since 2004 and also attracts visitors from around the country and abroad. In this article, we take a closer look at some of the most exciting and enjoyable things to do around town.
Visitors who are keen on shopping are likely to want to check out Northampton's Market Square. One of the oldest and largest examples of a market square remaining in England, the market operates a fresh fruit only market on Mondays, and a much more general market from Tuesday through until Saturday.
Aside from the market, the Grosvenor Centre is one of two shopping centres within Northampton's town centre. The facility spans two floors and includes more than 30 major stores, with some of the best-known examples including Next, New Look, Topshop, Costa Coffee, HMV and Sainsbury's.
The other major shopping centre is Market Walk, which is a slightly more modern building. Meanwhile, there are various retail parks scattered around the town, with examples including Riverside Retail Park, which has a number of large stores, and Sixfields Retail Park, which primarily consists of restaurants.
For culture lovers, the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is the largest museum in the town and it features art, exhibits covering local history and historical footwear, celebrating the town's association with shoemaking. Other museums and art galleries include the Primose Gallery, the Avenue Gallery and Abington Park Museum.
Additionally, 78 Derngate is a listed building, notable for being the only house in England to be designed by the famous architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. As a result, the house has become a popular destination for visitors to the town and a museum, celebrating the life and work of Mackintosh, is open to the general public.
Northampton Castle was a historically significant castle from the Norman era, where King John regularly stayed. Although the castle itself no longer exists, a reconstructed castle gate remains in tact and this may be of interest to some. The gate can be found next to Northampton Railway Station.
The Royal & Derngate theatre complex is one of the most popular entertainment venues in Northampton and visitors can enjoy a wide range of spectacles, including traditional theatre, opera and live music. Another venue, The Deco, also hosts a number of theatre productions and concerts throughout the year.
For visitors seeking contemporary live music, the Roadmender Centre night club regularly hosts performances from mainstream artists and bands. The town also has a number of music festivals scattered throughout the year, including the Northampton Music Festival and Alive at Delpare.
Those who visit the town in the summer may get to experience one its most popular events, the Northampton Carnival. The annual event, which has origins dating back to 1914, takes place over the course of a Friday and Saturday every June, and includes live music, a parade through the town centre and even a temporary fair ground.
Sport & Leisure
Northampton is home to a number of professional sports teams, including Northampton Town Football Club, who play their home games at Sixfields Stadium, and the Northampton Saints rugby union team, who play at Franklin's Gardens. Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, meanwhile, also play games at the town's County Ground.
Although technically outside of the town itself, one of the United Kingdom's most iconic sports venues, the Silverstone Circuit, is situated just a short drive away from Northampton. The race track is used for a number of different motorsport events throughout the year, with the most famous being the Formula One British Grand Prix.
Visitors who want to actually participate in sports, rather than watch them, will be able to find a range of different facilities within the town and surrounding area to suit their needs. These include the Delapre Public Golf Course, the Billing Aquadrome leisure park, Radlands Plaza skate park and Benham Sports Arena.
Places of Interest
The Holy Sepulchre is the oldest building in Northampton and attracts significant interest, because it is one of the most famous examples of a round church remaining in the United Kingdom. Another place of worship that attracts attention within the town, meanwhile, is Northampton Cathedral.
Castle Ashby Gardens offers a family-friendly day out, with a something for everyone. The beautiful parkland is ideal for picnics, while a cafe serves both food and drink. Additionally, a children's play area is provided.
The National Lift Tower, known locally as Northampton Lighthouse, is a listed building, which is visible from many parts of the town. Finally, the Town and County War Memorial, located in the town centre, is a prominent memorial for servicemen and women killed during the First and Second World Wars.