“ Northampton is a large market town and a local government district in central England on the River Nene, and the county town of Northamptonshire, in the English East Midlands region. The district has a population of 194,800, whilst the Urban Area has a population of 189,474. By this measurement, it is the 21st largest settlement in England and is the UK's third largest town without official city status, after Reading and Dudley. It is situated 67 miles (108 km) north of London. „
I have lived in Northampton since 2004 and have found it a thoroughly pleasant place to live. Northampton is of a size where, although it should probably rightly be classified as a small city, it still has the feel of a big village. You see faces in the high street that are recognisable and well known. For a town of its size Northampton has excellent shopping facilities with all the major retailers and two massive Tesco Extra 24hr shops. On the sporting front Northampton has it all: a top tier Rugby size, a family friendly football club, some beautiful golf courses, and of course, is only 7 miles or so away from Silverstone Racecourse and the unique Towcester Racecourse.
The town has a large number of historical sites either within the town boundaries or at a very short drive. The most famous of these probably being Althorp House, which was the childhood home of Diana, Princess of Wales.
One tip, if you are visiting Northampton Town Centre for the day, the Car Park at Morrisons is free, with no time limit! I think this must be unique for a big town these days.
The famous oldie worldy journalist Danielle Defoe once described Northampton as the 'handsomest town in all this part of England'. But that was back in 1676. Its certainly not an asthetically pleasing place anymore, looking like it fell out the ugly tree and hit every branch! Moral is so low the front of the Chicago Rock Café fell off last night in pure desperation as the 'R' landed on the bouncer!
Before Blair got into power the town was neat and tidy enough for Hyacinth Bucket, no less, to live hear in 'Keeping Up Apperances', the town used for locations for the very British sitcom. But Under New Labour Northampton has changed dramatically, going from that traditional upwardly mobile market town to a cosmopolitan but non-descript and boring Midlands town, purely a destination for someone who wants to work, surrounded with huge industrial estates that have acted like giant magnets to Eastern Europe, the worker drones trudging in on the arterial roads every morning like iron fillings to that magnet of hard labour. Although the third largest town in Great Britain without city status its purely a place you come to have a family, not to find inspiration and a good career. The most glamorous thing here is a bloody grave, that of Princes Diana.
Here is my A-Z of the place I was born in, escaped regularly from to seek that excitement and glamour, but will probably end up rotting away in, all very depressing. I'm seriously considering getting involved in local politics now to change that general apathy here as the town has always had great potential. We are one of very few towns or indeed cities with a major cricket, rugby and football team in the country and our location in the heart of England with motorway and train connections should bring far better here. If we do get the World Cup to England then the Poles could base their team here, a home from home, now 30,000 Eastern Europeans living in Northamptonshire. We failed miserably to get the Jamaican Olympic team based here, Birmingham winning out this week, bound to be lumbered with the Ghana team or something. That apathy was summed up when plans for a huge Ikea warehouse to move here and for the Cobblers to expand the football stadium to 20,000 were both knocked back by the moron council.
A is for Abington Street
This is the main shopping street, a predicable generic mix of the usual chain and department stores and those mobile phone places. But what we never had before under the Tory's and John Major was pound stores and pawn shops in the town centre, now three 99p stores and three pound versions in the centre. The pawn shops are everywhere, David Dickenson no less opening one not last week. It has become a 'cheap town' because of its high transient population and it's more working-class than ever. The poshest shop we have is one of those that sells Pot Poirier and monogrammed letterheads!
B is for Balloon Festival
We recently lost our balloon festival, a big summer event and crowd-puller for the town, the council's decision to start charging people after 17 successive years it being free and drawing huge crowds of 200,000 plus the straw that broke the camels back. Although the fee was three quid there was nothing to see, and never was, other than the usual pyramid of young lads on the back of an old motorbike and a kite flying demonstration, the whole event only worthwhile if the weather is good and so the balloons can actually go up. In recent years it became clear the balloonists couldn't be bothered to launch in marginal conditions and they too got bored of the event, resulting in it being dumped last year.
C is for the Charles Rennié Mackintosh
78 Derngate, a rather innocuous house in the town centre, is bizarrely one of our most famous historical sights, a house 'done up' but not owned by the famous Scottish architect. It's CRM only commissioned work outside of London, nicknamed locally, 'the house that Jock built'. There's a much more exciting and Art deco designed house near Abington Park by a German designer but I can never remember the address. Dooyoo member Koshka has written an excellent write up on CRM house if you want to know more.
D is for Diana
The Princess of Wales is allegedly buried on the island of the family estate, a museum and various attractions in the late 1990s pulling in the punters £££££, mostly menopausal housewives though, any men on the grounds of Althorp being gay or designated drivers. Charlie '£££££' Spencer made a few quid off the back of his mawkish enterprise, making a complete mockery of his infamous speech at the funeral by turning her grave into a tacky tourist attraction (although, as yet, not neon lit at night), the 'Goddess of Hunting' still under halogen flashbulb attack from the tourists in her death (to be fair Diana would have secretly enjoyed that). Everyone exploited Diana and she exploited every single one of them back, her obsession with being the world's most famous woman what killed her. At the time of Spencer's speech lambasting the intrusive media his sister was courting he too was in the media, working as a showbiz reporter for, amongst other publications, Hello Magazine, snooping around in famous people's lives his job. Some say he was jealous of his sister's fame and wanted some of it to rub off, a man of there wives and little respect for women, refusing to even allow his sis to stay at Althorp on the few occasions when Diana genuinely needed to hide away from it all. Last year the visitor numbers (£15 day ticket and £30 family!) dropped away at Althorp House to around 500 a day and the house and grounds is only open in high summer now as the Diana exhibition is now sent around the world to generate more cash.
E is for the Express Lift Tower
It was once the highest building in the UK (we also had the 'lowest' building in the U.K., that of the Groggers Rest pub) but now the tower a disused embarrassment. It was built to test lifts but for some reason the world no longer needs to test lifts in purpose built towers. If your not testing them here then where guys? Please don't tell me you built another tower! It's all very odd and now purely used as a marker for visiting rugby fans to find the Saints home ground just below it.
F is for Famous residents
We have everyone from Burt Reynolds ex wife (Judy Carne) to current gay stand up comedy king (no, not Michael Macintyre) Alan Carr, the son of our most successful recent football manager, Graham Carr, he the leader of the legendary (in our minds) mid 80s Cobblers side, the lads scoring 100 points and 100 goals in 1987!
Miss Marple (Joan Hickson) was born in Kingsthorpe, Northampton, as was the far less talented (always a drink in her hand - in the sitcom) Lesley Joseph of 'Birds of a Feather' fame, very much a sitcom town it seems. Actress Nanette Newman (she was famous once) and Radio One's Jo Whiley are locals as is broadcaster Andrew Collins, who wrote a dire book about the town (and so very accurate). Further investigation on wikipedia reveals that Actor Robert Llewellyn, Kryten from Red Drarwf, lived just around the corner from me as a kid. James Morrison, the poor mans James Blunt, lived her 'for a bit' (presumably where he got his meloncholy from), as did Roger Moore and Des O'conner, where they got their incentive to leave and be very famous. And on that entertainment theme the new Doctor Who is also a Northampton boy, of course, who I tenously know through being a cricket writer. Even Doctor Who wouldn't leave the tardis unlocked here though, why he now has that beep beep electronic lock we saw on the last episode. Marc Warren, Danny Blue from The Hustle, was born just around the corner from Matt by the way. Sport wise we can muster only Greame Swann and Derek Redmond.
G is for Grand Prix
If Diana's bones attracted menopausal women and camp men to the town in the last ten years then Silverstone brings the testosterone and celebrity. The town and county are very proud of having the British Grand Prix and have stopped that little man Ecclestone taking it away on many occasions. It's the home of motor sport and the fact that ten teams build their cars and engines not thirty miles from the circuit suggests by right it's the home of the sport, Cosworth building the generic F1 engine for 2010 in the town. Yes it's expensive to get in Silvers but it is worth it and brings the worlds attention on to this county. When Sly Stallone car breaks down in nearby Towcester and four hairy bikers give him a push on to the A43 then you know glamour is in town!
H is for History
Charles Bradlaugh, the famous 'radical MP'(he was slightly right of Hitler) and town MP of long ago is a name of note here and still celebrated, if those polics float your boat, as is Jerome K Jerome, who just scribbled notes on a boat. Local MP from long ago Spencer Perceval went on to be the last Prime Minister to be shot in the House of Commons, assassin John Bellingham doing the deed in 1812, although we would have no problems with reknewing that noteriorty this year with Gordon Brown or Cameron. John Clare, who went nuts through heavy drinking, was aslo resident in the town and one of the 19th centuries most important poets (think of that Blackadder scene in Mrs Miggins Pie shop!). Northamptons oldest standing building is The Church of the Holy Scepulture, just off the twon centre, one of the biggest round churches in England and designed on the church of the same name in Jeruselum. Its very impressive to look at although the drunks sleep in the grave yard.
I is for Immigration
To show how rigged central governments assessment is of how much money you get to deal with the asylum and immigration surge, my town is assessed as being 88.7% White. In that 87% white is a huge mass of Poles putting a stress on services, having one-in-five of the babies born in the general hospital. But we have a lot of black African asylum seekers here too and both those groups are not reflected in the statistics so to avoid extra funding coming our way to deal with it, why the council tax goes up and up every year. I would say about 70% of the town is English now. Anyone who lives here should be able to confirm that to you. Northampton officially has the 4th highest concentration of overseas residents outside of London. Before Blair we were 75th in GB in that statistic.Im not complaining about the place being cosmopolitan as most of these guys work and some even pay council tax but I am the fact we are getting bigger and bigger in negative ways as far as services go.
To be fair you don't see those guys in the dole office and the Poles have a cracking work ethic, many second hand cars packed with young lads in fluorescent jackets heading out to graft on the many industrial estates here in the morning, proudly preferring to go home when the work dries up or gets boring rather than sign on like certain other racial groups tend to in the U.K. I recommended to my MP in 2008 that we should repay that Polish work ethic to the town by officially adopting Poland as the town's team after England failed to qualify for the European Championships. With 30,000 plus of them here doing most of the tedious temp work on behalf of our 2000 plus long term unemployed it seemed a good commercial idea, people with some extra cash ready to spend. The council sent me a letter and said no, not even sanctioning some footy banners over the high street, yet again a chance to mix and make friends with our new comers blighted, the long term unemployed the ones who would probably complain on racism grounds.
J is for Jobs
There is surprisingly low unemployment here and we have weathered the recession, the HQ's of Carlsberg, Nationwide and Barclaycard notable employers. We are not too reliant on public service jobs and there are plans to make cuts by selling off the peripheral ones like parks and gardens and refuse. A guy I know who litter picks on the parks gets a mind boggling £334 a week for 37 hours (no weekends) and a tasty pension to! It can take up to two years to fire union slackers. They even employed a mass murderer just out of prison on the parks and gardens here, forgetting to ask him what he had done in the previous 21 years, the guy repeating the same murder of a prostitute in only this third week of employment, and with a Borough Council hammer!
K is for Killers
Northampton has the highest number of dangerous people incarcerated here bar Rampton Mental Prison, St Andrews the countries most exclusive and expensive top security hospital hidden in the most idyllic of town centre locations. The facility has its own cricket ground and nine hole golf course and so all the more innocuous, but sure to have some dark secrets, the countries Shutter Island, possibly! We have had two serving Royals in there and the celebrities that are too far gone for The Priory, Paul Gascoigne's own room dusted down and ready. It is the only building in the town that had those double red lines outside on the road, absolutely no parking on any circumstances or you will be shot type deal. About ten years ago one patient escaped and immediately blew up a litter bin with a pipe bomb outside of the perimeter fence, a concern indeed.
L is for Lawmakers
Northampton has surprisingly low serious crime and very rarely do the cops discover firearms that can or have been used, only the occasional bank heist in the news. As we are a transient town on the M1 the drugs seem to just whiz through between London and Birmingham. We don't have any criminal gangs and most crime is delinquent stuff. Muggings are up here as they are nationally because we now carry more valuable items on the person that these guys can pawn than we do in the house. Burglary is down 8% here and muggings are up 10% to bare that out.
It was Northamptonshire Police who recently discovered that over 50% of Burglars who left a footprint at the crime scene wore Reebok trainers. Apparently it's because they are light and silent and aid speedy getaways. It's not an agreed strategy in the robbing community to wear these so to confuse the coppers as they are too thick to consider that. Sadly we are slashing beat bobbies and replacing them with the community wardens here, up to 19 of them walking Nptons streets today but managing just ONE arrest between them in 2008. Still today our most famous criminal moment is the fact the Great Train Robbers got off here and legged it.
M is for the Market Square
Its one of the countries biggest (we think the biggest), dating back to the 13th century, and still smelling like that in the summer! The council ripped up the ancient cobbles ten years ago (health & safety) and put new cobbles in (still compo claims going in). They have also reduced the traditional market stalls by 50%, causing uproar amongst traders, believed to be a compromise for traditional retailers paying higher rents to sell the same tat. The council's traffic warden blitzkrieg policy has driven shoppers out of town and into Milton Keynes and so the feeling is the council covertly wants to get rid of the market through a war of attrition and extend the shopping centre on top of it, it valued at £122 million.
N is for Northampton Town FC
With a couple of promotions in the last ten years the football team are as yo-yo as ever, the affluent owners in the Cardoza family incredibly patient or just plain stupid. They want to develop the land around the Sixfields Stadium site and build a hotel and casino. But the council won't let them and so the owners have stopped buying good players in retaliation, all loans and out-of-contracts deals now. We are safe this season but if this continues its Conference football by 2012. The purpose built 7000 seat stadium is the sum of our aspirations, football wise.
O is for Overspill
Northampton is growing faster than a pensioner on Viagra in a Thai Brothel! New houses are being built on flood plains and we intend to expand to city status by 2025, big John Prescott demanding another 30,000 houses as immigration pushes the big city overspill up and down the M1as the country swells to 70 million people. 95% of the British population lives in the cities and towns and Labour are coming after the Tory stronghold of the countryside with these mini new towns.
P is for Pop
The King of Pop Michael Jackson wasn't born here but Feye Tozer from Steps was! No, me neither, presumably the one on the end. Some of you older ones may remember Bauhaus (formerly 'Jack Plug and the Sockets', believe it or not) and no one has heard of non entities 'Slipstream', (alternative college Indie band). Rebecca Hunter, a singer from pop group allSTARS*; Pat Fish, leader of the 'Jazz Butcher', and 'The Departure, a rock band who have gone on to gain mainstream success, complete the walk of fame on the Market Square. (as yet no money found to fund that that walk although I'm sure they will find it soon).
Q is for Queen Eleanor's Cross
There were twelve wooded crosses King Edward placed on the funeral route across England to commemorate his wife Queen Eleanor's death, the cortège moving from Charring to Lincoln, an impressive romantic gesture. Only three crosses survived, now decorated in stone, and Northamptonshire has two of them. They are in the same state as the Queen though.
R is for Rugby
The Saints are having an amazing season and sit second in the league and still in all three cups. Ben Foden has been a revelation as have other signings over the summer. I'm not a huge fan of rugby and so rarely watch although you do tend to get cracking women watching rugby which you don't at lower league football.
S is for the Speeding and traffic tickets
Northamptonshire has the most cameras for a shire and the fifth most in the country for a city or town. The speeding partnership between council and the police love it and they are coining it in, one camera actually attached to the police station and another making one million pounds just by itself! Because we are an arterial location many cars are transient and so not from the county and so easy targets. To put it in context, in 1998 the cameras bagged £148,000 grand and in 2008 it had risen to £2.5 million in just one year.
Northampton is the fifth most parking ticketed place in England with wardens handing out a peak of 72,500 yellow tickets in 2005, the first year of private wardens. Pretty much everyone in the town has been ticketed and the system is very advanced, the wardens allowed to fully utilizing the towns very advanced CCTV system to catch drivers. If you briefly stop on a patrolled area, yellow lines etc, without a warden to see you a camera can snap you there and then for the fine. The CCTV system is being abused and not used to catch the bad guys, why our police have one of the worst crimes clear up rates for street robbery and burglary in the country.
Northampton also pioneered the supermarket car park scams. Because 1.4% of the population are disabled and so access to a blue badge the law states supermarkets with less than 200 parking places must offer at least two disabled places for every one hundred on offer. But the supermarkets are sneaky and offer far more, meaning many are in priority places close to the entrance of the store but remain empty. It's pretty obvious that most people who use the blue badge are not always the owner of the blue badge and have 'borrowed it' to go shopping or to park on double yellows outside the bank. The point here is that the people, often young mums with kids, who can't find a spot for young mums with kids near the store- 50% of shoppers in the day time- dive in there and then get snapped on the car park cameras for using a disabled space. I worked out a well known store about ten years ago and they make hundreds of thousands of pounds through parking enforcement, Northampton also pioneering out of town stores and car park fining.
T is for Tunnels
Northampton has a much darker history under the streets (and I'm not talking about the sewers), a lattice of old crumbling tunnels, crypts and vaults linking various ancient houses and churches around the town lying unseen and mysterious. Clashes between church and state in the medieval times happened regularly and so the tunnels were believed to have been built by the church to escape the king's forces over the decades and centuries. The battle for Northampton Castle was one of the most pivotal in the War of the Roses, King Henry himself captured in the town by Yorkists! It's believed the once Arch Bishop of Canterbury, Thomas a Becket, may have fled from Northampton's now derelict Castle (torn down by King Charles's 11 for our support of the parliamentarians in the English Civil War) through a tunnel to the central All saints Church so to make haste to France and freedom. In fact the castle was the countries parliament in the 12th century when the Normans were in charge. Bloody immigrants!
U is for University College Northampton
Our first university was established as early as 1261 by scholars from Cambridge (no media studies then!). It briefly flourished, but was dissolved by Henry III in 1265 apparently as it posed a threat to Oxford. University College Northampton poses no threat to Oxford now. Its most popular course is 'American Studies'.The English course probably lists University College Northampton under the example of an 'Oxymoron'. It has been accussed of taking students on just for funding reasons rather than academic ones and has one of the worst of those cheap cinema adverts in history. To get its uni status (previously the less erudite Nene College) it had to get the Privvy Council to overturn King Henrys decree that their should be no higher learning here. Margeret Thatcher opened Nene College back in 1972 and it has climbed to 87th in the good university list (well take that! I never even knew there was that many universites). 74 million pounds of recent spending has taken it form 107th postion in 2006. Northamptonshires star-and now ex-cricketer- riki Wessels played for their extremly succesful hockey team. Honorary degree recipitants included Former F1 world champion and president of the British Racing Drivers' Club Damon Hill, Kettering born comedian Hugh Dennis, fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, Andrew Collins, Joe Willey and singer Joan Armatrading.
V is for Vision
The town planners have finally grasped the nettle and set to utilise the River Nene that runs through the centre of the city likea sewer. If you ever wonder why Carlsberg beer tastes so horrible its because the brewery is here and they suck up the green and brown water to make the beer. The river is quite nice in places and yet theres never been a riverside pub in the town centre. Theres one up the river near the industrial estate and that used to be crammed in the summer and a cool place to go. Cute women loved it as it means guys with cars. With plans to build a marina on the old Avon Cosmetics site in the towen (they moved to Poland for cheap labour, all very ironic...) the signs are good that the riverside will become cool and we will bring in some trade. We have more water around the town going spare than after a Kate Winslett acceptance speech at an awards ceromoney but we just don't use it.
W is for Wantage Rd
Wantage Road is the home of Northamptonshire County cricket, my beloved team, and who I write on for the local paper. We had a good season last year when the better players finally made an effort for the whole campaign and if you want to taste some one-day cricket then get down to your local county ground for some T20. Its £15 for three hours cricket and when the beer is flowing and when the sun goes down under our new floodlights it's a good night out with a surprisingly high number of pretty girls going. We do Sunday afternoon games to for the same price and the more erudite 4-day cricket in the week.
X is for XXX
If you want to get laid then Northampton on a weekend is no different to any other market town, although don't expect your conquest to be sober. It's a white working-class town on the whole and so the pubs geared to that demographic, tinny dance and pop music 'banging' out in pretty much every bar on the main town centre drag. There's one or two 'studenty' bars but they are now up by the university, town centre not the middle-class drinking hub by any means. We have seen some piano bars pop up, a further demarcation in the social class's night out but these places tend to be full of men with sports cars and fake tans and girls wanting to date such men. Even I wouldn't be seen in there!
Y is for the Y chromosome!
Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick, he who helped map the human genome, discovered the Y chromosome, critical in DNA databases. He was born in Northampton and certainly in the right place to find the 'missing link', especially on a Friday Night! We erected a rather modern and out of place metallic statue in tribute to him on the main high street, something more suited to the lobby of a towering Manhattan skyscraper if you ask me, not a graffiti ridden drunken two finger salute to the gene pool between a pawnbrokers and our only local Primak it has become.
Z is for Zebra crossing!
Useless fact of the day! Northampton has the most Zebra crossing and beep beep things outside of the big cities. Apparently a lot of road signage was pioneered in Northampton by town planners. We had the first National Speed limit sign with the black line through the white circle to go with all our speeding tickets!
I await you're A-Z's guys!
This is a lovely town to live in.
With a huge choice of schools including Faith Schools, Private schools not too far away and state schools.
Things to do:
Northampton has the serene Abington Park to walk your dogs and frolic in the sun all summer long. When autumn comes the fun still isn't over as you'll be crunching the leaves down the rolling paths. Why not take some bread and feed the ducks too?
The Best Park:
While your in the park why not pop into the museum then grab an ice-cream from The Old Oak and nibble away whilst feeding the squirrels and seeing the peacocks and budgies in the averies.
The Best Theatres:
The Royal and Derngate host a number of popular plays, from Oscar Wilde to Pantomimes, not to mention their music concerts, drive down to the local theatre and see what's on.
While you're down the Derngate you can see what the arts have to offer either by seeing the art displays in Northampton Museum (not the same one as the one in Abington Park) or have a look round 78 Derngate home of Basset-Lowke, designed by Charles Renee Mackintosh.
Also the towns award-winning music service is open to people wanting to take up an instrument or those that already play. They perform in a number of concerts around the year be it Brass Bands or Orchestra's. The Northampton Music Performing Arts Service has never been better!
If you're one for the big screen there are three to choose from. Either go to Vue in town, or Lings forum - which also have fitness classes and a swimming pool to cool off in on sweltering summers days. You could even pop down to Six Fields. There, there is a number of restaurants and diners, not to mention the ever-popular Megabowl, and a Cinema with all the most popular screenings.
Also the town's football and rugby teams have matches on at Sixfields which are not to miss!
Experience retail therapy at its best at the Grosvenor Centre and Peacock Place that have an array of shops from Jane Norman to Laura Ashley to HMV, you'll be bowled over by the choice!
My Fave Café:
My favourite café to end a shopping journey is Caffe D'Italia on Fish street for that real feeling of being on holiday. Try their creamy milkshakes, it'll be sure to make you feel like you're in Napoli!
This gorgeous town has fantastic countryside too. As a home it's my little slice of paradise.
Northampton Classic Northampton well I have lived here all my life and to be very honest I have always loved it ok its not the greatest place on earth I have to admit but people are very friendly. I have found compared to some other areas, and has some nice surroundings. I for one love a country stroll around sywell Country Park located in Northampton with my dogs, which is also an aerodrome so if flying is your thing Northampton could be your place to visit. Also some of the exterior of Northampton is nice, the housing and brickwork I find is better than places such as Corby, Northampton is also closely linked to London so you can soon have some entertainment As Northampton is often seen to be quite, Well I don't think it is maybe that because I don't go out to the clubs, although there are quite a few located in the town centre.
Northampton also has a town centre which has a small market and a good range of shops; I would say it's quite big and up build with some tradition building and even a theatre, museum and art gallery all on your door step, with two cinemas Chinese, Indians restaurants all only a walk away. Also if you like the football you can go and watch Northampton town play at there local football ground located at six fields. And also Northampton saints rugby team which I heard are pretty good.
And in nearby Towcester in Northampton they have a racing ground which I have visited a couple of times some famous horse riders often visit, Is also has a lovely building and is often free to enter but it can attract massive queues so you will need to be early, and some advice don't visit in winter as it is FFFFrrreeeezzzeeinnnggg. Also just out of Northampton there is Rockingham race way which is great for seeing crashes and fast car racing and they often put on an air show so well worth the visit!
The area I live around we have never had any trouble even know it is situated in-between council estates, It also has a park and woods only a couple of meters away from my house which lets face it there's not many places where you can get both a park and woods on your doorstep, perfect for walking your dogs and for children to play, With a skate park and football court only a small walk away, also Northampton town run a football club to help the younger generations get involved in the community.
Also Northampton not only has quite a range of shops at the town centre but Weston favell which is quite a well known shopping centre for all the shops you may need Tesco etc, Parking is also free which is a bonus compared to some places, however parking at the town does cost.
Also a lot of local shops and post offices which you only ever a short walk from, and there is also a mix of schools in the area. Also Northampton is one of the biggest towns in Europe and ever growing it has even tried to become a city population of over 190,000, billing aquedome is also easy to visit and hosts a fair during the summer months you can also go camping and caravanning if your into that and jet ski's, also a fair is held at the race course I don't know the cost of rides now but it used to be just 50p, and Abington park which has a variety of events on and a fantastic play area for the little children. Pubs are widely located in Northampton and often have great offers on so eating out is always in budget.
I know there are negatives of Northampton but I think there are to all areas such as bad areas, There are also successful schools such as Northampton school for boys who are one of the top performing schools, and just resiantly the new doctor who was from Northampton boys school.
It's also a multi ethnic place to live, with a mixture of cultures and variety and religion. It also hosts a balloon fair every year although I have to admit the balloons have got worse and they now charge, but it can still make for a great day out
Northampton is near junctions 15, 15a and 16 of the M1 London to Yorkshire motorway. Is is easily accessed and close to Milton Keynes, Birmingham and oxford. It has a railway station so it is easily accessible by all means of transportation. Although the bus station has seen better says as it was on the tv demolition program as one of the worst buildings.
This could also be a good place to study as Northampton university is on the up and has become much bigger and better than ever, Also quite a nice place to study. As my brother currently studies computing at the university he said that the course is pretty good and would recommend it.
I feel improvements could be made to Northampton as the market which has also been associated with Northampton has became ever smaller, I feel this is a down point and is drawing Northampton away from tradition, Also I feel some areas could be improved and maybe a new bus station would brighten up the area! I don't think Northampton people have a strange accent; this may be due to me living here all my life.
I would recommend Northampton for as an area for growing and producing a family. Also would recommend visiting Northampton as a day out maybe in the summer months, Northampton also started the show industry and played a big part in the products, I think that why the football team is named the cobblers, Also I would recommend the walks in Northampton and unspoilt countryside, great for a day out, I'm sure if you visit Northampton you won't be bored and the shopping a lone could entertain you with a number of shopping places, Weston favell, town centre, riverside.
Riverside is great and just located up from billing it has a number of places to shop like currys and comet etc.
I grew up in a small village in Northampton until I was 14 years old.
We used to get the bus into town on a saturday armed with enough money to look about on the market which is a good one.
Now we go once every couple of months for a shopping spree.
We always go to gazebo they have a fabulous range of underwere, and more importantly they stock my size.
We used to go to sixfields quite abit to watch the latests releases the cinema there is a cineworld one and has nine screens so you can always find something to watch.
At sixfields there is also a pizza hut,KFC and mcdonalds. It has a great bar there but I can't remember its name!
Northanmpton is also home to the cobblers ( Northampton Football Club) who are currently in league one.
Nightlife in wellingbourgh, is made up of bars and pubs with the main nightclub Evolution which is on sheep street. There is a kebab shop opposite which is great for when you come out.
Northampton has two theatres the derngate and the royal both which are close to the museum and art gallery with easy transport links to them.
For short summer breaks their is Billing aquadrome where you are able to camp in tents or caravan they have a funfair, marina, and restaurants.
In august there is balloon festival which is held over 3 days which is a great day out for kids and adults alike.
So how do you sell a town like Northampton as a place to visit for the day tripper or tourist, well that must be one of the most challenging jobs going because if I'm honest there is not a lot to attract the day visitor to the town, no historically famous land marks, no large impressive buildings, in fact the only building I can think of that has gained any national recognition is the towns bus station and that was only because it made the final of a national competition titled something like "Buildings that should be torn down". It is an absolute eye sore and sits in the middle of the town centre.
On the plus side the town does boast a large lift tower where, you guessed it, lifts were tested. On a sporting front it does have a reasonably good rugby team whi were European Champions a few season ago although relegation the season before last was a tough one however they did get promoted back into the Prem this year, the town also boasts a Division 1 football club which is not bad given the size and dominance of rugby.
If you are into shoes Northampton is not a bad place as it has a good shoe industry despite the recent decline and was home to the film Kinky Boots.
The surrounding countryside is pretty good with some local woods and naure walks and just outside of town is the family home of Lady Diane family and the place where she is buried.
Personally I find the town centre pretty dire with lots of pubs that are a bit rough and I much prefer drinking and eating out in the village pubs locally.
Northampton is located close to the M1 junctions 16 to 15 which makes it easy to get to however it is also easy to just keep driving and hit te night life of Milton Keynes or Birmingham if I'm honest.
very good read just 1 thing to complain about as a cobblers fan,we were in the top division in 1965/66 & not the early 70s other than that very good as ive said.
Whether I like it or not Northampton is my hometown. I have lived here most of my life, so perhaps naturally have some allegiances to the place. However, having seen the town change over the years - in a good and bad ways - I have stored up a few opinions.
What follows is not a visitor's guide to everything you can see and do in Northampton but just something that will hopefully give you a personal 'on the street' flavour of the place.
WHERE IS IT?
Northampton is not up north but slap bang in the middle of England in the East Midlands.
It sells itself on its convenient locality - near the M1, main canal network and both 1 hour away by train to London (Euston Station) and Birmingham.
As the capital (if you like) of Northamptonshire "the rose of the shires", Northampton is twinned with Poitiers, France and Marburg, Germany.
This is a big town (the largest one in Europe) and not quite a city with a population of over 190,000 people. It was nominated to become one a few years ago but lost out to Sunderland.
In terms of prosperity Northampton is slightly above average and has a history of riding recessions well.
The town spreads far and wide. You need a taxi, a car or bus (if it happens to be on the route) to get from one side to the other. Imagine lots of villages melded by housing estates and dual carriageways - Kingsthorpe, Duston, Weston Favell, Abington and Dallington to name but a few.
The areas of Church Brampton and around Abington and its park are where the more well-heeled live. Nearby to Abington are Bellinge and Rectory Farm where, at the other end of the spectrum, house prices are the most affordable in the town.
Some of these villages swallowed up by Northampton like Dallington and Harlestone still have rural charm having a slight Cotswoldy feel (with the exception of being built in a stone peculiar to Northamptonshire that's mellow orange).
The town has achieved world fame for its boot and shoe industry with makers such as Church's and Barratts.
Industrially there are lot of distribution and manufacturing due no doubt to the town's central location. Barclaycard has their UK head office here; other firms based here include Nationwide, Levi-Strauss (distribution) and motor industry related firms such as Cosworth Racing.
Express Lifts - well you can't miss it. It stands proud as a beacon lighting the way - a testing site for lifts that has gone with the tower (a so-called lighthouse) still in place with a housing estate built around it.
Billing Aquadrome - From a distance you could be forgiven that travellers (heaven forbid) had set up residence. Here, with the sea some 60 miles away, are masses of caravans all around a few lakes and an amusement park. Fine if caravanning is your thing.
Bus Station - A dark, smelly hovel voted by you (or viewers of Channel 4's Demolition programme) as an eyesore you want bulldozed. Some say, "Why stop there?"
Sol Central - The newest building to spring up, built upon a former 70s Barclaycard another eyesore. A steel and glass structure that protrudes towards the centre with acute angles sits uncomfortably among old stone buildings. Inside it is empty. OK, not strictly true, this big complex although looking vacuous inside has Topnotch Health Club, two restaurants, Ibis Hotel a Casino and Vue Cinema within.
Gold Street - Buy everything you need here for under a pound. Well almost. Mostly discount stores like Poundstretcher and Wilkinsons.
The Market Square - The largest square in Britain, it still has many of its original buildings and is quite attractive, although it's a shame they've taken away the cobbles. The market sells fruit and veg, clothes, mobile phones, cards, jewellery, wrapping paper (you name it). Northampton County Council called in an architect to draw up plans to cover it but then changed its mind when there wasn't much public support.
All Saints Church - a piazza so called (how cosmopolitan?) is a nice paved area in front of the columns of All Saints Church. But what is it used for? It can't just be for pigeons.
Wellingborough and Kettering Road
Thoroughfares (close together) with a raffish, multicultural vibe that if in London would be near Camden Lock or Brick lane. A haunt for students with plenty of charity shops, Indian restaurants, upmarket designer clothes shops, Asian supermarkets and tattoo parlours.
Derngate and Royal Theatre play host to some big stage shows: King and I, Buddy, Johan Strauss Gala, Hamlet, David Essex etc.
Sitting side by side with the massive 70's built Derngate is Royal Theatre, a cosy intimate place complete with Victorian chandelier, velvet seats, highly decorated safety curtain and utter sumptuousness. Very popular in panto season. Both are undergoing a £50m refit, which will undoubtedly make them one of the best town theatres in the country.
An alternative to this is The Deco newly reopened, sympathetically restored former art deco cinema which has recently had performances of Carmen, The Proclaimers and an Audience with George Galloway. Forming part of the building is the Jesus Centre, providing a place of worship, advice and support centre for homeless and asylum seekers. For good quality freshly-prepared hot and cold food you might want to pop into the Circle Café. Great value for money with service that's friendly and efficient.
Northampton is pretty sporty, proud of its Northampton saints - a premiership side with England players like Matt Dawson, Ben Cohen, has Northampton Town Football Club - called The Cobblers and the County Cricket team.
Brampton Valley Way provides a 14 miles of walking and cycling path between Northampton and Market Harborough. This is long and straight as it was once a railway track. At Brampton they have reopened the track for Steam engine rides, with themed events at Easter, Mother's Day etc.
There are sailing clubs in village reservoirs outside Northampton at Pitsford Reservoir and Hollowel Reservoir.
Northampton is rife with Golf Courses - 18 hole ones are sited at Brampton Heath, Collingtree Park, Delapre, Church Brampton, Kingsthorpe, Harlestone and Overstone Park.
Gyms/healthclubs in Northampton include Virgin Active, Fitness First, Livingwell, Esporta, Cannons and Topnotch Health Club. There are also council run leisure centres on three sites in the town where membership is a lot cheaper.
All the big name shops are here - Argos (one large and one small), Beatties, Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, Virgin, TKMaxx, H&M, Burtons, Miss Selfridge, Boots etc.
There are quite lot of victorian buildings in the town which although are quite attractive have been gutted by typical high street chains. Overall though the street pattern in the centre remains the same as it did many years ago.
The long pedestrianised Abington Street (the main shopping area) provides handy access to all the main shops.
Off Abington Street is St Giles's Street which has got to rank as one of the more scenic parts of the town. Here a handful of specialist shops, shoe shops, delicatessens, cookware shops, arts and craft materials. The sort of small shops that have been largely hounded out of town by ubiquitous chain stores elsewhere. Nearby is the stone-built Guildhall in all its intricate highly decorated gothic splendour.
Pad at the top of Abington Street is good for unusual gizmos and gadgets and fun stuff.
Out of town shopping dominates the town with four in Northampton alone at Sixfields, St Peters Way and St James and Riverside. All the familiar stores are there - Comet, B&Q, PC World, Staples, Next, Toys R Us etc.
EATING OUT AND NIGHTLIFE
Northampton has more bars than you could shake a cocktail stick at. So much so people come here from as far away as Coventry. Moon on the Square, Yates (townie pub) but also Balloon (trendy - DJ nights House, R'n'B and Club Classics), Black Bottom Club (middle class) and The Fish (quiet as a fish) and many, many more. Bridge Street has the largest concentration of more stylish watering holes.
The Picturedrome is one of a few that has real character, converted from a cinema built in 1912, it retains a stage for 'live' music venue, film nights, and a regular comedy club. It also has a bar and serves freshly prepared food.
Nightclubs for a young crowd include Time and Envy and for the over 25s, Chicago Rock (often having appearances by ageing 80s bands and numerous tribute acts).
In Northampton, there are many restaurants representing world cuisine where you can sample French, Hungarian and Mexican. My personal favourites are The Star and Merlin's (Indian) and Sorrentino's (Italian). Best value for money food in my opinion is at the pubs in the surrounding villages.
STATELY HOMES AND PLACES OF INTEREST
In Northampton, art and architecture lovers may want to visit the stunning art nouveau decorated house designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and recently renovated. The way the rooms are decorated has to be seen to be believed - very avant garde for its time. A tour is available by appointment.
Outside Northampton there are few stately homes in a country setting. The most notable, I think are:
Cottesbrooke Hall - a rather stately looking Queen Anne house dating from 1702 set in rural landscaped gardens. The model for Jane Austen's 'Mansfield Park' it has a highly regarded picture, furniture and porcelain collection.
Lamport Hall - 17th century hall set in quiet cottage gardens and parkland. Outstanding collection of books, paintings and furniture.
Holdenby House - Historically significant, the house was once the palace and prison of Charles I. In its grounds there are an Elizabethan garden, fragrant border, a museum, shops, Victorian tearoom and 17th century farm. An unusual addition is the Falconry Centre, where you can watch a variety of birds of prey being flown. The surrounding area formed the backdrop for the film 'Biggles'.
WHAT IT'S MISSING
It missed out on IKEA (as everyone in Northampton keeps on about) but desperately needs a store that sells modern homewares, like the long-gone Habitat.
The town has nothing outstanding in the way of cultural nourishment. Not a modern art gallery in sight. Just the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery that although has a fine collection of boots and shoes than you'll find anywhere is pretty much like any other with heavily guilt-framed oil paintings, roman artefacts etc. The Cultural Mile is the latest brainstorming idea to link all the town's landmarks together but this seems to be very much in the planning stage.
However, in what might signal a turnaround in the local arts scene a bizarre interactive video art installation descended on the Market Square in February - of the likes the town has never seen before. It consisted of videos of Northampton people projected onto the pavement which would interact with the shadows casted by people (tracked by CCTV) stopping by.
WHERE IS IT GOING?
Recently Northampton finally became a University town with its college gradually changing from 'Nene College' to 'University College Northampton' and now 'University of Northampton'. This is hoped to bring international status to the town.
In a recent survey Northampton came number 9 in most improved towns and cities since 1995. Bottom of the table was Blackburn. At number 15, Milton Keynes. MK as it's known is a bit of a rival (20 miles away) that tempts shoppers to go there with billboards placed brazenly in the town. It won the new IKEA store - but with every cloud having a silver lining has saved Northampton from any more traffic.
Grosvenor Centre - the main indoor shopping precinct is set to expand. Meanwhile you can't escape the notice of a number of shops in the town centre laying empty. Spinadisc - an independent that sold CDs and records of hard-to-find bands has recently shut up shop, along with it a Co-op department store and Littlewoods.
Roadmender - a venue for indie bands has closed down amid a big outcry, after funding problems; youth groups and care homes look set to close.
People in Northampton have a tendency to moan about what the town lacks and fail to appreciate its qualities. As a result the town doesn't get the recognition it might otherwise deserve whilst some of its finest assets fall by the wayside.
Perhaps one of the best things about Northampton is that it is generally rather leafy, trees line many a street and it has its fair share of parks dotted around the town.
The most attractive of them all has a nice sizeable museum (with history of the town military connections and costumes through the ages) a bandstand and café.
A large expanse of greenery for dogs and children to play in.
Unremarkable small but centrally located park that has a canal side walk.
Near the university campus featuring indoor tennis courts. Dangerous at night. For three days in the summer it becomes the venue for a big balloon festival that almost rivals the one in Bristol. Largely taken over in recent years by trade stands, it also has live music on stage plus performances by the Devil's Horseman, those annoying kids on motorbikes, camels and a mariachi band. In the evening, balloon glow, fun fair, fireworks display and evening concerts by the likes of Lamar and Ronan Keating entertain the crowds.
With more shops closing than opening Northampton has suffered a bit from the retail recession. This has got to be partly due, I think, to the lack of free parking, as compared with nearby Milton Keynes.
Free parking as far as I know it can only be had in St Peters Retail Park - a 10 minute walk to the centre, in Morrisons (2 hours free) with refundable £1, or in the station car park on Sundays.
Not quite as outgoing and welcoming as Brummies but generally friendly. Chav culture is well evident with sports wear of the hooded variety de rigueur among the young.
HOW TO SPEAK LIKE A NATIVE NORTHAMPTONIAN
People born and bred in the town tend to speak with a broad 'ooh arr' accent. It's funny but I hadn't really noticed this until living here many years. A watered down version of a Norfolk twang.
Gooing - Going
Caaaar paaark - Car Park
Tuesdee - Tuesday
NORTHAMPTON - FAMOUS FOR WHAT?
Apart from shoes, Northampton is hardly Hollywood but it does lay claim to a few famous associations Born here were Des O' Connor and Francis Crick discoverer of DNA. Princess Diana was born and buried at Althorp House (10 miles away), Jo Wiley (Radio One presenter) studied here and Keeping Up Appearances was filmed here.
TO SUM UP THEN
A bit above average. Nothing remarkable, but even so, with its range of old buildings and market square breathing life into the centre it is a pleasant place to shop, and a lot better than some towns that were bombed and rebuilt after the War. A market town sort of place lacking on specialist shops that you would normally expect but having all the big stores you might want. Everything is nearby within walking distance. The top of Abington Street has a 60s/70s built row of shops and is like any other clone town.
There are plenty of sports activities available, excellent theatres, good selection of restaurants and a vibrant (if binge-drinking fuelled) nightlife.
* Previously published by myself aka simoncjones at Ciao.
It all started so innocently. Six months I said and she believed me. That was 10 years ago and here we are still in my adopted hometown of Northampton. The days of us pining for a return to Birmingham appear to have disappeared forever with our roots well and truly entrenched in good old Northampton clay soil but it wasnt always so. Today we find the town serves our needs in many different ways, what with the excellent communication links and the notion of a short drive taking us into some of the most scenic countryside in the country. This is a long one so I apologise for that. If you are reading it as a reference document then feel free to skip bits that look boring (not the whole thing for Lordys sake!). Otherwise, enjoy the trip
Northampton began life as a Saxon village. Originally called Hamm tun (meaning the village by the well-watered meadow), it eventually became North Hamm tun, probably to distinguish it from Southampton. The name Northampton first appeared in writing in 914.
The late 9th century saw the invading Danes turn Northampton into a stronghold called a burh. This meant digging a ditch around the settlement and erecting an earth rampart with a wooden palisade on top. Northampton was not just a stronghold it was also a place of trade where craftsmen worked and where goods were bought and sold at a market.
Northampton gained its first charter in 1189. (A charter was a document granting the townspeople certain rights). Richard I gave the charter in return for money. In 1215 Northampton was given its first mayor.
The famous Northampton market started life in the early 13th century, the site of the main market still dominates the centre of the town today. The main industry of that time was wool and is reflected in many of the street names in the centre of the town i.e. Mercers Row (a mercer was a dealer in fine cloth), The Drapery and Woolmonger St.
Shoemaking came to prominence in the 17th century, taking over from the wool industry.
1642 saw civil war between King Charles I and parliament with Northampton supporting parliament. This backfired on the town in 1660 with Charles II ordering the destruction of the town walls in revenge for the people of Northampton opposing his father.
In1675 disaster stuck Northampton with a fire starting in St Marys Street and soon spreading through the town. About 600 houses were destroyed as well as many public buildings. The town was rebuilt with the opportunity being taken to update the town with the latest designs of the day.
Northamptons boundaries were extended in 1901. By the time of the1930s, many workers in the shoemaking industry had been laid off as that sector was in decline. The rapid growth in population of the late 19th century slowed to a crawl by the time of the1930s.
In 1965 Northampton was designated a new town which led to a huge expansion of its population. Many Londoners left for Northampton and a Development Corporation was formed in 1968. The first new area to be built was the Eastern District followed in the late 1970s and early 1980s by the Western District. The Northampton Development Corporation was wound up in 1985.
The Grosvenor shopping centre was built in 1975. The Derngate theatre was built in 1983. The new districts included industrial estates to attract new industries to Northampton. Today the main ones are financial services, soft drinks, cosmetics and brewing.
Today the population of Northampton is in excess of 200,000 and still growing with the boundaries between Northampton and the Milton Keynes conurbation becoming ever more blurred.
-How to get to and from Northampton-
Northampton is situated in the centre of the country. Accessible via junctions 15, 15a and 16 of the M1, the town is an hours drive from both Birmingham and London. The A43 takes the traveller onto the A14 and opens up the east of the country including Ipswich and Norwich whilst Northampton train station links with the main London line and the main Northern route to Birmingham and beyond. Approximately 1 hour on the train takes the traveller to London Euston or Birmingham New Street.
There is a large coach station based in the centre of the town called Greyfriars although this, together with the central Mayorhold Car Park have recently been voted amongst the ugliest buildings in the country. There are plans to tear the bus station down and replace it with an upmarket shopping mall but these plans have been in the pipeline for some time now along with the concept of building a tram system that will serve the outer parts of Northampton linking them with the centre of town.
Every year the town centre holds street fairs as part of the St Crispin celebrations. I was present this year as the Mayor of Northampton officially opened the fair as part of a ceremony in Abington Street (I was out shopping at the time as opposed to being a dignitary or something). This usually entails fairground rides situated throughout the town and attracts people from far and wide.
The town does boast a Tourist Centre that dispenses advice and leaflets to travellers. Based in the centre of town, the tourist centre is not from the magnificent Guildhall on St Giles St., which is used for functions varied from recording births to marriage ceremonies. The Guildhall is the site of the borough council offices but the neo-Gothic building itself was built in 1861 and designed by E.W. Godwin. It is well worth seeing.
The Derngate theatre is a very short walk from the Guildhall. Each year, the Derngate attracts artists as varied as Peter Andre to Noddy in Toy Town. It is possible to book online and the related site is listed at the end of the opinion. Ive been a few times myself to see Jack in the Beanstalk, last year amongst other things. The Derngate is a very traditional type of theatre with plenty of places to go and eat afterwards only a short walk away.
If its one thing that Northampton thrives on it is night-life. The town is crowded with bars, pubs and night-clubs. All along Abington Street there are pubs and if you are up for a real session then there are countless watering holes along Wellingborough road. There is no shortage of places to eat with Indian, Chines and Italian restaurants all featuring. Imrans Balti Hut is a cheap venue with a decent quality of meal situated on the Welly Road whilst The Royal Bengal on Bridge St also does a decent curry.
The Road Mender is a site for bands to play, having recently been completely re-built situated just to the rear of the Mayorhold Car Park. If its an erm gentlemens night venue you require then Urban Tiger has recently re-opened. There are several night clubs in the centre of town, the best known being Time and Envy. Its a while since Ive been and the overriding memory of my last visit is of a seeing an overweight Robbie Williams lookalike going down like a lead balloon!
A venture into the Market Square may take you to Chicago Rock Café, which charges for admission after 11pm. Drinks are pricey but if you are looking to pull then you cant really go wrong at Chicago Rock.
Sixfields is an entertainment complex that is located around 3 miles from the town centre. Along with major retailers like Sainsbury and Boots, the site boasts a cinema in the shape of UCG, a bowling complex, several pubs and places to eat including Old Orleans, TGI Fridays, MacDonalds, Frank and Bennys and others too.
As mentioned earlier, the Market Square has been established for many centuries and holds a market for 6 days of the week. The Grosvenor Centre boasts WH Smiths, HMV and a large Virgin store amongst others whilst youll find the obligatory Woolworth and Marks and Spencer down the adjacent Abington St.
Like many towns, Northampton has seen an explosion in out of town stores sop many of the larger retailers have take cheaper pitches in the suburbs. These include Tesco, PC World, Toys-R-Us and Alders to named but a few but Northampton is hardly a huge place so its only a short drive out to find the store you want. Traffic isnt that much of a problem as long as you avoid peak times.
Kingsthorpe welcomes the latest addition today in the form of an Asda store.
Northampton is more renowned for its rugby team than anything else. The Saints play at Franklins Gardens in the St. James area of town. Northampton has won the Heineken European Cup in recent times although they currently languish towards the bottom of the Zurich Premiership. Prices for admission can be as high as any top-flight soccer side due to the high profile of the rugby team. Ive twice been to Franklins Gardens and enjoyed both visits. There is a much more family-orientated atmosphere than at the football although Ive never been able to adjust to the good-natured silence that goes before a penalty kick for the opposition.
The towns soccer/football team play at Sixfields. Recent years have been difficult for the footie team although the early 70s saw them in the old First division rubbing shoulders with the elite. Those days are gone with the team trying to find a way out of Division 2. The club came close to going out of business a few years back but the dedication of the supporters coupled with some positive action from the council meant that a new stadium was built and leased to the club for a nominal rent. It can be relatively pricey to go and watch The Cobblers play (I saw them play on Boxing Day 2003 and paid £18 for a ticket) with the standard of football well below Premiership standard.
-Out of Town-
One of the nice things about Northampton is that 5 minutes in the car will take the traveller to many lovely country pubs and lots of local interest sites. A few miles down the A428 on the way to Brixworth will take you to Pitsford Reservoir. There is a small parking charge that goes towards conservation but this is a great spot for picnics. Many people take their bikes to cycle around the reservoir (approx 7 miles). There is a café, small wildlife centre and bikes can be hired for the day. The reservoir is actually built on top of a small town that was flooded to make the reservoir possible. Apparently, on a windy night the church bells can still be heard chiming from the flooded town.
A few miles down the Quinton Road takes the traveller to Salsey Forest. Weve been here a few times recently. This is a perfect spot for those with dogs whilst its not uncommon to see ponies being trekked. Bird spotting trips can be arranged with the forest wardens and there is a nice café spot where visitors can have a drink and a snack and simply look out at the forest environment.
Holdenby House and Sulgrave Manor are well worth a few hours of anyones time with links below to show the reader more. Both are steeped in history and tradition, both have strong links with The Sealed Knot resulting in Civil War re-enactments that are well worth seeing and complement an in interesting day out.
Northampton is a vibrant town with a rapidly expanding population. Popular with commuters, the town has the best of both worlds with an urban environment complementing the country venues that are reached within a few minutes by car. Weve come to love Northamptonshire in general and it holds many interests for the casual traveller. An opinion like this can only really scratch the surface. There really is lots more I could say but Im conscious that you have other things to do so Im hopeful folks may have found this interesting.
Come see us real soon!
This is part of the home-town challenge. Better late than never, Drew.
Thanks for reading.
Related web sites:
Northampton School for Boys, (known more freely as N.S.B) has had recently (about a year ago) a fully working theatre/concert hall put in to the new Cripps Hall "Expressive Arts/English Department". Not only does this provide excellent working space and experience for the students, but also it allows top quality plays by students and travelling theatre groups. These are founf quite regularly, and promise to be great fun. As well as the theatre, the Drama Studio has a great deal of working space and its own stage to put on smaller, but no less decent productions. A Planned Studio Production is A Midsummer Nights Dream in later February . The two main theatre productions are "Smike" in December (15th + 16th), and "West Side Story" in March. I recommend you go see these if you can!!! Not only are there great shows by students but stars suc as Phil Jupitus have performed too.
Supposedly Northampton is the biggest town in Europe although it’s short on everything else, living here all my life on and off I cant really say it’s a bad place to be but just a touch average. Its ideal for young families with a nice slopping high street with all the brand and multiples nestling comfortably as busy glum faces glued to their mobiles and push chairs trying to make the most of it and their tattooed boyfriends drag kids around attached to silver metallic balloons. We are no longer famous for shoes and three sided stadiums as the town is shedding its blue collar feel for the tertiary sector and the enigma that is Diana Princess of Wales who is supposedly buried in the grounds of Althorpe House. Unfortunately we who know what a money grabbing urchin her brother is believe that she’s buried in the family crypt three miles away and our beloved Earl Spencer (Now a show biz journalist believe it or not after his famous speech) is cashing in on her demise to save the family seat here that was seriously cash strapped before her death because even The National Trust wouldn’t bail him out. Its still open to the public between late June and August although it was only supposed to be open for a year (see what I mean) with tickets and crowds getting cheaper and smaller every autumn. To be fare though from all accounts it’s quite a nice experience for the hoards of middle aged women, tourists and gay guys who descend here every year with their designated drivers (Husbands), well come on its definitely a femine thing the Diana paradox. Like most of the male population I wasn’t affected at all when she died although very tragic and ironic. The main advantage of the town is its full off work with some big industrial estates and parks housing top name companies like Nationwide, Barclaycard, and numerous distribution centers. Sadly over the last year or so the borough council have had to flood the tow
n with illegal Asylum seekers to fill the growing number of low skilled industrial vacancies on anti social shifts through the vast number of employment agencies here. Some two and a half thousand in total amounting to %60 of the total for the whole of the Midlands are living in and around Northampton. Fair play to them if they can start a new life here fairly after we bombed them out of their poverty in Albania. Unfortunately it’s doubled the unofficial unemployment rate and all the social costs to the town that incurs pushing up council tax by 10 percent a year and these guys still pick up the heavy subsidies when they are working on the sly. If you are thinking of studying here remember that it makes seasonal work hard hunting as our new friends are in some cases paid less than the going rate. Nene is one of the newer polytechnics come Uni,s in England although it hasn’t yet been granted university status although in its desperate vanity it calls itself UCN(University College Northampton)Lets just say there are a lot of Sociology and American studies course here he he he . If I had the brains I wouldn’t study here. Nightlife is the main growth business here with a new boozer going up every other week to cater for the growing student and working population. The town center at the weekend is predominately banging tecno and dance, theme and wine bars etc encouraging you to drink up your three pound Bud and move on to the next one to do it all over again as one ogles the crumpet which isn’t too bad here guys with a healthy selection of make up less college girls and slap on slappers jammed into the boob tubes regardless of the climate. We have a biker’s pub and some student bars plus some 30+ places but on the whole it’s all very predictable. Night clubs, again all very predictable with a big commercial place called Visage and lots of smaller sweat boxes with one called the Roadmender for the mi
ddle class so they can hide away from the proletariat and bounce up and down to Blur and Morrisey. Housing is over priced with three bedrooms starting at 70,000 in the nice areas although the affordable bed sit and student accom has been nibbled away by our Eastern European and West African friends through lucrative landlord deals with our local Labor councilors. The rugby and football teams are going well with tickets starting at ten pounds for the Saints and The Cobblers. We have a good Cricket team to where you can laze the afternoons away watching some top line internationals players with a nice ice cream or two in the summer months or the enjoyable day night games. Safe and solid for young families.Not for dreamers.
Northampton Town are a great football team who have recently started the new season in Division 2. And they are improving all the time. As is the town itself. There are lots of people living here and is situated between Birmingham and Luton I think. I've been here many times - and I think the place is generally good. The Shopping facilities are good - Riverside Park - is the LARGE shopping retail park near to Wakes Meadow - on the Dual Carriage way, and the houses are all nice - mostly. I think in comparison to Milton Keynes - Northampton is a tired town - just been awoken by the constructions happening at Milton keynes - and is now catching up.
I have been visiting Northampton for many,many years now and it has never stopped amazing me just how seedy the town is. For instance, there is a walkway from the Major Hold car park to the main shopping area that is always dirty, smelly and usually inhabited by unsavory people drinking alcohol from bottles. Some of the subways are so offputting with the stink of urine and a feeling of impending danger, that it is preferable to take a chance with the traffic. Nothampton has, over the years, torn down lots of run-down areas and rebuilt, but they have failed to eliminate that feeling of seediness.
Northampton, unsurprisingly is the county town of Northamptonshire, which, depending on what TV region you are in, is either part of East Anglia, East Midlands, or the West Midlands. This identity problem is solved though as a lot of Northamptonians are proud of their town. Sporting success recently has raised the profile of the town nationwide. The rugby side the Saints are now European Champions, while the Cobblers (football) have just won promotion to the second division. The town was built up on the boot and shoe industry (hence the football team's nickname of the Cobblers) but in common with most traditional British industry has declined in recent years. Northampton is now known for it's businesses such as Nationwide Building Society, Barclaycard, and Avon Cosmetics, all of whom are based in the town.
Northampton is a large place approxemately 65 miles from London it grew in size in the early seventies as it was designated an overspill town for London. These huge estates were built on the outer edges of the town & the town just grew & grew.Along with the extra housing came the employment as many firms re-located there ascwell as shops schools etc. Now this is a really nice place the old, & new mixing creating something for everyone in nice surroundings in easy reach of both London & Birmingham. Northampton's original industry was shoes & great bargins can still be found in the factory shops.The lager brewed in the UK by Danes also finds its home here.