30 Free Things To See And Do In Northamptonshire

20 January 2017

Northamptonshire has long had strong links with the nobility, and its many stately homes and beautiful gardens attract lots of tourists from around the country.

However, the county has so much more to offer, and there are plenty of things the whole family can take part in, completely free of charge.

We’re going to take a look at the top 30 things you can do in Northamptonshire without spending a penny.

Museums

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery

For the number one place to find out more about the town of Northampton and its history, head to the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery.

Here you’ll learn about the areas importance to the footwear industry (they have over 1,200 pairs of shoes!), as well as displays of fine art and archaeology.

Abington Museum

This free museum in Northampton features a number of interesting exhibitions such as their historic fashion gallery, a look at the local leather trade, and the Victorian Cabinet of Curiosities.

Irchester Narrow Gauge Railway Museum

Set in a beautiful country park in Wellingborough which houses a number of exhibits and artefacts from the rail industry, including steam and diesel locomotives, with over 30 items of rolling stock for train lovers to enjoy!

Wellingborough Museum

This museum explores the history of the market town of Wellingborough and its surrounding villages, with galleries dedicated to the Victorian age and World War One, as well as a full 1940s living room.

Sywell Aviation Museum

Discover Northamptonshires military and civilian aviation history at this museum in the village of Sywell.

Visitors can explore aircraft cockpits, uniforms, photos, dioramas and more, and it’s a perfect day out for kids.

Rushden Transport Museum

The Rushden Transport Museum is found in the Old Midland Railway Station which dates back to 1894, and now houses this excellent museum which highlights the development of road and rail transport in the area.

Carpetbagger Aviation Museum

The Carpetbagger Aviation Museum was initially formed as part the USAAF’s 801st / 492nd Bomb Group (also known as the Carpetbaggers).

Nowadays it’s a fully functioning museum with a history of the airfield itself, and the Carpetbagger’s secret missions to deliver agents and supplies to resistance groups in Europe during WW2.

Fishmarket Gallery

The old Fishmarket Hall in Northampton has been transformed into a home for the arts, and as well as being home to independent retail outlets, it also hosts a number of artists studios and exhibitions which are free to enter.

Outdoors

Wellingborough Aquatic Playground

In the summer, the Wellingborough Aquatic Playground is perfect for younger visitors to cool off and play in the water jets and other interactive wet play features.

Brampton Valley Way

The Brampton Valley Way is a 14-mile linear park which links Northampton with Market Harborough, featuring woodland spinneys and ancient meadows.

It makes for a perfect family walk or perhaps a bike ride between the two towns.

Daventry Country Park

This popular park has lots to see and do, including lots of woodland trails, a nature reserve, picnic areas and an adventure playground for the kids.

Rockingham Forest

This forest has over 200 square miles to explore, with a good mixture of woodland and open parks.

There are also plenty of historic features and stone built forest villages to see.

Fermyn Woods Country Park

And in the heart of Rockingham Forest, you’ll find this lovely park with woodlands, thickets, meadows and ponds for you to explore with the kids.

Top Lodge Fineshade Wood

This popular attraction is also found within Rockingham Forest and has two play areas for the kids as well as the new Superworm trail and a whole wood to explore.

Barnwell Country Park

This park in Oundle features a wealth of wildlife and three waymarked trails for you to follow.

There are also orienteering packs available if you wish, as well as a brass rubbing trail.

Irchester Country Park

This park was formerly an ironstone quarry and is now home to an extensive series of walking trails through its 83 hectares of mixed woodland.

Salcey Forest

This forest is home to the Tree Top Way, an impressive walkway high up in the trees where you can see right over to Northampton and its surrounding countryside.

It also has a play area, cycle trails and some incredible ancient trees.

Brixworth Country Park

This charming park in Brixworth is home to its very own gnome trail, as well some unusual sculptures which are sure to capture the imagination, as well as some stunning views of Pitsford Reservoir.

Sywell Country Park

This park in Ecton has its own play area with sand and water play, as well as a small arboretum and heritage trail.

Corby Boating Lake

The boating lake at Corby is home to a number of wildlife such as geese, ducks, waterfowl and swans, and for a fee, you can also go fishing.

East Carlton Country Park

On the edge of the Welland Valley, you’ll find the beautiful East Carlton Country Park.

As well as being the perfect place for a relaxing walk, the park is home to a heritage centre which is found in a converted coach house, and details the development of the iron and steel industries in the town of Corby.

Summer Leys Nature Reserve

The Summer Leys reserve is made up from old gravel pits which have been transformed into a haven for breeding and wading birds.

Many bird species can be spotted here, primarily the common tern, many of which nest in a colony on the reserves islands so they are safe from predators.

Historic sites

The Church of St Mary the Virgin

This church in Fawsley dates all the way back to the 13th century, and is a Grade I listed building and is worth a look around if you’re in the area.

If you’re a history buff, you might notice the coat of arms of George Washington carved into the stone at the entrance and in the stained glass windows.

This is because, in 1720, the reverend of the parish was Lawrence Washington, the future presidents great great grandfather.

The Northampton Queen Eleanor Cross

When Eleanor, the wife of King Edward I, passed away in 1290, instead of erecting a simple shrine to her, the King built 12 dramatic and beautiful Eleanor Crosses.

The most famous is Charing Cross in London, but in Northampton, you’ll find one of only three which remain.

All Saints Church

The All Saints Church in Northampton is a Grade I listed building, and had to be rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1675.

Nowadays it is a must visit to anyone who appreciates fine architecture, and is also home to one of the countrys most successful church choirs.

Borough Hill

Borough Hill is a large Iron Age hill fort in Daventry which has been designated at a scheduled moment.

Since then the hill has been notable for broadcasting the BBC World Service and being the site where some of the first radar technology was demonstrated in 1933.

Above all else, it makes for a relaxing walk with great views over the surrounding area.

Montagu Monuments

The Montagu monuments are a series of statues which were erected to commemorate key members of the local Montagu family.

The statues are sculpted from fine marble and are definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Kelmarsh Tunnel

The Kelmarsh tunnel is a 418m (quarter of a mile) disused railway tunnel which is found just outside Oxendon.

Nowadays the tunnels make for a good walk or cycle path, although they are completely unlit so it can make for a bit of a spooky experience!

St Peters Church

St Peters is a redundant church found in the centre of Northampton, and is considered to be one of the highlights of Romanesque architecture in the country.

While it closed in 1995 you can still visit and enjoy the impressive architecture.

The Iron Trunk Aqueduct

This aqueduct in Cosgrove is a fantastic example of Georgian architecture, and takes the Grand Union Canal over the River Ouse.

It’s a nice place for a walk, and you can catch your breath at the nearby Galleon pub.

 

When you consider that this is just the things which you can do for free, you can see that there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained in Northampton, especially when you take into account the grand stately homes and other attractions that the area has to offer.

If you are interested in a break in Northampton shire, be sure to have a look at our parks at Billing Aquadrome and Cogenhoe Mill.

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