The Ultimate Northamptonshire Post Lockdown Bucket List
15 March 2021
While we’ve all enjoyed fantastic walks and new hobbies in lockdown, most of us are now ready to get back out there. We’re looking forward to sitting down in a bistro, enjoying a glass of wine by a river, and rummaging through the many boutiques of Northamptonshire.
So with that in mind, we’ve put together a Northamptonshire post lockdown bucket list, with the attractions, restaurants, places and shops we’re eager to visit!
Stanwick Lakes is a 750-acre nature reserve in Northamptonshire’s picturesque Nene Valley. While at the moment, you can run, cycle, and enjoy 7 miles of wheelchair accessible footpaths in the park, in normal times, you can also enjoy an indoor play area, visitor centre, historic artefacts and traditional craft courses. These include basket weaving, furniture making and blacksmithing!
Tip: Currently open for exercise, but the car park shuts at 5pm.
900 years ago, a group of Cluniac nuns formed the Abbey of St. Mary de la Pré, close to the River Nene. After many adventures and misadventures, the Abbey and parkland were renovated and reopened at the turn of the century. Today, the house hosts tours, events, plays, exhibitions and more. You can explore the parkland, the gardens and the gift shop, which even stocks locally brewed beer.
Tip: You can visit the beautiful walled gardens now – look out for the sculptures!
After visiting the majestic Delapré Abbey, another post lockdown must is a visit to this gorgeous AA rosette restaurant, conveniently located in the Billiard Room. Chef Squires has worked at the Ritz, the Grove and under 3 Michelin-starred Chef Arnaud Lallement. His goal is to make fine dining accessible, with a focus on British cuisine and a truly excellent wine list.
Tip: Try the ten-course tasting menu with wine flight!
Stoke Bruerne is a charming village south of Northampton, which is glorious in the summer. You can visit the Canal Museum, with café and gift shop, take leisurely, golden boat tours, or hire a boat yourself. You can grab a pint by the waterside and watch the boats go by, enjoy an afternoon tea, or savour a tandoori at the Spice of Bruerne.
Tip: The Spice of Bruerne is currently open for takeaways.
In 1070, William the Conqueror ordered Rockingham castle to be built. In 1544, it was granted to Edward Watson, whose descendants live in the castle to this day. The Castle is set in twelve acres, and is open on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. You can explore the romantic rose garden, enjoy the elephant hedge, and experience centuries worth of exquisite art and furniture within the house.
Tip: The Castle does special events at holidays, including the popular pumpkin rolling at Halloween!
Family fun in Kettering, where kids can get hands on with creepy crawlies! Their award-winning meet and greet sessions are popular with all ages. Visit and touch giant snails, cockroaches, stick insects, millipedes and if she’s feeling calm, you might even get to meet Sally the Tarantula! Suitable for ages two and up, perfect for families drawing up a Northamptonshire post lockdown bucket list.
Tip: Book ahead to make sure you get in!
Lyveden New Bield
This Elizabethan lodge and moated garden are owned by the National Trust. This Grade I listed attraction features a restored Elizabethan orchard, among 27 acres of beautiful grounds. It’s perfect for family visits and picnics, as well as being a haven for wildlife, with rabbits and squirrels in Spring, deer grazing in Autumn and red kites soaring overhead.
Tip: Check out their new visitor centre and facilities!
Brackley Antique Cellar
One post lockdown pleasure will be getting to rummage in Brackley Antique Cellar, which has been voted the best antiques centre in Great Britain. You can pick up antiques, retro collectables and vintage furniture dating back as far as the 18th century. They also have a tearoom, serving tea, coffee, cake and a selection of light lunches. Check them out as part of your Northamptonshire post lockdown shopping trip!
Tip: Check out their range of Autentico chalk paint, perfect for upcycling older pieces!
Rookery Open Farm
Perfect for family bucket lists, Rookery Open Farm is an attraction with a wide range of animals and attractions. You can meet Alpacas, donkeys and pigmy goats, chickens and turkeys as well as Daisy the milkable cow. There are also go karts, mini tractors and a three-storey indoor play area for rainy days. There’s a café and picnic area near the outdoor play area.
Tip: Why not book them for a birthday party?
Brew Babu Café in Oundle
Brew Babu is a quirky café in the picturesque market town of Oundle. The town features churches, a theatre, several cultural festivals and a range of charming boutiques for luxury shopping. At the café you can enjoy everything from a flat white, to a locally brewed tea, to milkshakes and Bubble Tea. They also do a selection of food, with vegan friendly options and afternoon tea available.
Tip: Check out their online store, where you can buy tea sets, ground coffee, loose leaf tea and more!
Nene Court is an independent retail park in Wellingborough, featuring an array of food outlets and bespoke boutiques. Why not buy a unique ring from silversmith Beylinda, at B Jewellery? Or shop carefully curated pieces from Heidi’s Boutique, get a tattoo from Whiskey and Ink, or a facial at LG Beauty Suite, before finishing your day at the Pumphouse Café.
Tip: Ask Heidi’s Boutique about their free personal styling service!
Heart of the Shires Shopping Village
Heart of the Shires shopping village was built in 1867. It now houses a selection of incredible shops, including boutiques stocking quality women’s fashion, upcycled furnishings, gifts, homewares, gardening supplies and sweets. You can relax afterwards in the charming, licensed Darlington’s Tea Room, with ‘cakes to die for’ and outdoor space.
Tip: They also have a safe and secure play area!
Still looking for things to do in Northamptonshire post lockdown? Check out our guide to Northampton in a Day, and let us know in the comments below where you’re most excited to visit when things reopen!