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About Northampton

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We love Northampton

Northampton welcomes you with (socially distanced) open arms! Whether you’re a local falling in love with Northampton all over again, a student exploring your new home or you’re enjoying a UK staycation, the men's shoe-making capital of the world with friendly faces and culture addicts is ready to delight you with its rich cultural heritage, unique architecture, breathtaking estates and manor gardens along with vibrant shopping experiences.

There’s nowhere quite like Northampton. This is the town that offers a perfect combination of bustling urban life and peaceful countryside.

We love history

Northampton has a long and varied history, with evidence of Neolithic and Bronze Age activity, but the most notable early archaeology can be found at the Iron Age Hunsbury Hill Fort. Following the Norman Conquest, Northampton became valuable as a strategic stronghold in the centre of England, leading to the construction of Northampton Castle. At its height in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the town was an occasional royal residence and hosted Parliament, and the Royal Treasury.

For the next few centuries, the town continued provide a location for the many of the country’s internal clashes, including the Barons’ War in the thirteenth century and the Wars of the Roses in the 1400s. Then two centuries later, the people of Northampton backed the Parliamentarian cause in the English Civil War, producing thousands of pairs of shoes and boots for Cromwell’s troops. The clash culminated in the defeat of King Charles I at nearby Naseby in 1645.

King Charles II took his revenge when he was restored to the throne in 1660, ordering the destruction of Northampton’s walls and partial demolition of the castle. The Great Fire of Northampton caused further destruction 15 years later. In an act of reconciliation, Charles II donated timber from the royal forests at Salcey and Whittlebury. By the end of the 1700s Northampton had become a major centre of footwear manufacture, partly due to the abundance of oak bark for tanning and leather from local cattle markets.

This position was cemented during the Victorian era and the shoe industry provided the backbone of the town’s industry right up to the 1980s when cheap imports from overseas all but destroyed the footwear trade. Some firms managed to endure and the Northampton name is now once again synonymous with quality footwear.

We love culture

Experience Northampton's culture quarter and immerse yourself in theatre, music, sport and much more in some of the town’s most stunning venues.

We are proud of the growing cultural offer we have in Northampton including acclaimed theatres, independent cinemasmuseums and galleries. All the hard work they do to showcase our town and culture to the world with brilliant exhibitions, shows and educational tools.

We cannot wait to show you our newly refurbished and extended Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, that will open in 2021. The museum will host the largest collection of shoe heritage in the world, featuring more than 12,000 shoes from Egyptian footwear to contemporary British design, documentary footage and fine art.

Lovers of Art Deco architecture can visit 78 Derngate, a stunning example of world-famous architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s work, and the only house he designed in England.

We love shoes

A local industry with a global footprint, Northampton is known as the men's shoe-making capital of the world. Made to measure for James Bond and Prince Charles footwear remains a thriving local industry today. The town has a rich footwear heritage with a number of high-end, traditional brands operating today including Church’s on St James’ Road, Crockett & Jones in Perry Street, and Tricker’s on St Michael’s Road, Premier League footballers’ favourite brand, Jeffery West, just off the Billing Road, and the Edward Green factory in the same vicinity.

We love shopping

Northampton is well known for its safe and enjoyable shopping experiences offered by a vibrant mix of independent shops alongside high street names, boutiques, cafes and bars. Our market, hosted by one of the oldest and largest market squares in England, offers a further layer of shopping delights giving you access to traditional local produce.

We love outdoors

We love our outdoor spaces in Northampton, and we’re blessed with an abundance of them, including three award-winning parks. There are many stunning country houses to explore throughout Northamptonshire including Althorpe, the ancestral home and final resting place of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and the spectacular urban country house - Delapré Abbey opened to the public for the first time in its 900-year history in 2018.  They are easy to access and there is so much to discover!

We love sports

The passion for sports runs deep here and we have an unrivalled mix to choose from - the Premiership rugby club Northampton Saints, League players Northampton Town Football Club and Northamptonshire County Cricket Club. The town is also a great base for a visit to Silverstone circuit, home of the British Grand Prix, and the Towcester Racecourse Greyhound track that hosted the World Hovercraft Championship in 2010.

We love local

We’re so proud of all of our independent businesses in Northampton. From restaurants, bars and coffee shops to clothing stores, vintage stores, bookshops, music venues and festivals, there are so many creative people in the town that bring it to life. Now is the time they need our help the most. Shop local, book a table at your favourite independent restaurant, show some love on social media, shout about your much-loved businesses - the smallest gestures are so much appreciated and keep our incredible town going!

Find out more about the vast array of visitor attractions in the county by visiting the Northamptonshire Britain's Best Surprise website.