Northamptonshire is the place to go for historic homes and churches. Althorp Park, home of the Spencer family for five hundred years, is the location of the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial. The house is set in 450 acres of parkland. The stable block, where the exhibition is found, at one time held 100 horses. Don't miss the house. Its contents include furniture, ceramics and a fine collection of portraiture.
Holdenby House sits across a field from Althorp. It was built to entertain Elizabeth I and later became a palace of Charles I. The restored gardens are home to a birds of prey centre. Sulgrave manor house, dating from c 1500, was the home of the great, great, great, great, great grandfather of the first US president, George Washington. The conducted tour is most interesting.
Another notable historic home is 17th century Boughton House. Built over time with its beginnings as a Tudor monastery, it has seven courtyards. Inside are collections of 17th and 18th century French and English furniture, tapestries, porcelain, painted ceilings, and fine art. Outside you can explore the grounds, parkland, and lakes.
Canons Ashby is an Elizabethan manor house with plasterwork and a medieval priory church. It sits in 70 acres of terraces, walled gardens and parkland. Deene Park has old-fashioned roses and long walks by the water. The house developed over six centuries, starting as a medieval manor house. There are furniture and picture collections in this lived-in family home.
Cottesbrooke Hall was built during Queen Anne's reign. It has a famous picture collection, English and continental furniture, and porcelain. The gardens include herbaceous borders, water gardens, specimen trees, and wild gardens.
Prebendal Manor House is a grade I, 13th century manor house with a 15th century dovecote, tithe barn museum, and 14th century re-created gardens. Kirby Hall is a ruined stone built Elizabethan mansion. The gardens include a topiary frequented by peacocks. Mansfield Park was filmed here.
Southwick Hall has been a family home since 1300. It has exhibitions on Victorian and Edwardian life and collections of tools and archaeological finds. Lyveden New Bield is an incomplete Elizabethan garden house and moated garden.
Lamport Hall has outstanding furniture, china, books and paintings. The façade dates from the 17th-18th centuries. Rooms include the 1655 Oak and High rooms, the 18th century library, and a room with rare Venetian cabinets. The gardens include lawns and parkland and a cockpit.
Other gardens in the county include the traditional English garden at Coton Manor House. Roses, water gardens, yew hedges, meadows and bluebell woods can be enjoyed. Walled and informal gardens are found at Georgian Kelmarsh Hall.
Folly lovers can visit Rushton Triangular Lodge, built in the late 16th century. It's a 3 storey triangular building with three gables and three trefoil windows on each side. The three sides represent the Holy Trinity.
The chief town in the county is Northampton. Early buildings were destroyed by fire in 1675, and Northampton castle fell under the wrath of Charles II. However, 12th century circular St Sepulchre church survived, and Lamport Hall with its period rooms full of furniture and art can be seen. The cathedral is open during services.
Northamptonshire is noted for its churches. Be sure to visit All Saints at Brixworth, considered to be England's largest and finest intact Saxon church (built circa 660) with a 9th century tower. The church was built with recycled Roman materials, and inside are Roman tiles. The village of Earl's Barton also has a Saxon church with a 10th century tower. King’s Sutton church has a grand spire while Slapton’s church shows off 14th and 15th century paintings. Also worth a visit is the church in Higham Ferrers: St Mary the Virgin dates from the 13th century. Another 13th century church found in Rothwell is Holy Trinity. Here you can view its bone crypt.
A village of historical note is Naseby, site of an important English civil war battle. Cromwell defeated the Parliamentary army here in 1645 instigating a beginning to the end of the civil war. A monument marks the spot. Victorian red brick cottages are the main architectural style. All Saints church dates from the early 13th century. There is a battle and farm museum just outside the village with collections of armour from the battlefield, period rooms, and vintage farm machinery.
Canal enthusiasts will want to visit the Canal Museum located near Stoke Bruerne on the banks of the Grand Union Canal. Here are the details of the history of canal building. Welland viaduct, 3/4 of a mile long, is located at the north-west corner of the village of Harringworth. Completed in 1878, it spans the Welland Valley. The viaduct has 82 arches, each with a 40 foot span. Over 20 million bricks were used in the viaduct's construction.
For opening times and full details of attractions see the Attractions section of our website.
On A428 between Rugby and Northampton
Tel. for booking and info: 0 1604 770 107; estate office: 0 1604 770 006
Tel. 0 870 333 1181 (to book tour)
Boughton House (HHA)
3 miles northeast of Kettering on A43 junction
Tel. 0 1536 515 731
Web: Boughton House
Canons Ashby (NT)
West of Bedford and south of Daventry on minor road
Tel. 0 1327 861 900 or 0 1327 860 044 (infoline)
For full details and photos see our feature at Canons Ashby Manor House
Coton Manor Garden (HHA)
9 miles north-west of Northampton
Tel. 0 1604 740 219
Web: Coton Manor Garden
Cottesbrooke Hall and Gardens (HHA)
10 miles north of Northampton on A5199 near Brixworth and Kelmarsh between Rugby and Kettering off the A14
Tel. 0 1604 505 808
Web: Cottesbrooke Hall and Gardens
Deene Park (HHA)
6 miles northeast of Corby off A43
Tel. 0 1780 450 278
Web: Deene Park
Holdenby House, Gardens, and Falconry Centre (HHA)
6 miles northwest of Northampton off A428 or A5199
Tel. 0 1604 77074
Web: Holdenby House, Gardens, and Falconry Centre
Kelmarsh, near A14/A508 junction
Tel. 0 1604 686 543
Web: Kelmarsh Hall
Kirby Hall (EH)
Deene, Corby, on minor road off A43
Tel. 0 1536 203 230
Lamport Hall and Gardens
Near Cottesbrooke Hall and Gardens 10 miles north of Northampton on A5199 near Brixworth and Kelmarsh between Rugby and Kettering off the A14
Tel. 0 1604 686 272
Web: Lamport Hall and Gardens
Lyveden New Bield (NT)
4 miles southwest Oundle by 1/2 mile footpath
Tel. 0 1832 205 358
National Garden of the Herb Society
Manor Rd, Sulgrave Manor, off the B4525 near Banbury
Tel. 0 1295 760 205 (Sulgrave Manor)
Web: Herb Society and Sulgrave Manor
Number 78 Derngate, a Charles Rennie Mackintosh house
Northampton, town centre, near Derngate Theatre; entrance through 82 Derngate
Tel. 0 1604 603 407
Web: 78 Derngate
Mill Rd, Oundle
Tel. 0 1832 272 741
Prebendal Manor House
6 miles north of Oundle, 9 miles west of Peterborough
Tel. 0 1780 782 575
For photos and more information see our article Prebendal Manor House
Web: Prebendal Manor House
Rushton Triangular Lodge (EH)
One mile west of Ruston, on minor road, 0ff A60
Tel. 0 1536 710 761
Quinton to Hanslope road
Six miles south-west of Northampton near Hartwell village
Tel. 0 1780 444 920
Southwick Hall (HHA)
3 miles north of Oundle
Tel. 0 1832 274 064
Web: Southwick Hall
Stoke Bruerne Waterways Museum
Stoke Bruerne, Towcester, on banks of Grand Canal
Tel. 0 1604 862 229
Manor Rd, Sulgrave, off the B4525 near Banbury
Just south of Canons Ashby
Tel. 0 1295 760 205
Summer Leys Local Nature Reserve
near Wellingborough, part of the Nene Valley Reserve
Fineshade Woods, Rockingham Forest
off A43 between Stamford and Corby
Tel. 0 1780 444 920
Web: Top Lodge
Northamptonshire Tourist Information Centres
2 Bridge Street, Brackley
Tel. 0 1280 700 111
Fax. 0 1280 700 157
George Street, Corby
Tel. 0 1536 407 507
Fax. 0 1536 400 200
Moot Hall, Market Square
Tel. 0 1327 300 277
Fax. 0 1327 876 684
The Coach House, Sheep Street
Tel. 0 1536 410 266 (01536 534 212)
Fax. 0 1536 534 370
Northampton Museum & Art Gallery
Guildhall Road, Northampton
Tel. 0 1604 622 677
Fax. 0 1604 604 180
14 West Street, Oundle
Tel. 0 1832 274 333 (01832 273 326)
Pebble Lane, Wellingborough
Tel. 0 1933 276 412 (0 1933 225 365)
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Our Northamptonshire Articles
Prebendal Manor House
Cottesbrooke Hall and Gardens
Stoke Bruerne Canal and Waterways Museum
Canons Ashby Manor House
Cottesbrooke Hall and Gardens
Coton Manor Garden Boughton House
Holdenby House Garden and Falconry Centre
Other England Articles