I’m back with a very spontaneous travel guide to somewhere not so far away from Northamptonshire: Market Harborough.
Market Harborough is a market town within the Harborough district of Leicestershire, but it actually just sits on the Northamptonshire-Leicestershire border, with many believing that it does lie in the Northants county. Nope, I can tell you it’s definitely in Leicestershire and I would hate to upset any Leicestershire based people by calling this a #NavigatingNorthants guide!
However, even coming from Towcester, it was only a 45 minute drive and if you’re planning on spending the majority of the day there, it is 100% worth the trip! In fact, I’ve detailed below just how far Market Harborough is from each town in Northamptonshire just so you can get a rough idea:Brackley – 37.6 miles (roughly an hour)
So as you can see, it’s not incredibly far from South Northamptonshire and is even closer if you’re based in East Northamptonshire. That’s why it makes the perfect day out.
And since it was both mine and Josh’s first time visiting, I thought I’d put together a ‘first-timers guide’ so if you’re like me and you’ve never visited Market Harborough and fancy taking the day there, then this guide will detail exactly what we did.
Bear in mind, the day we visited, it was a hot sunny day on a Bank Holiday Saturday, so there’s definitely more things we could have done if it wasn’t so hot!
But here’s what we got up to and how you can spend the day in Market Harborough…
There is plenty of parking around Market Harborough, some short stay and long stay. As we literally decided that we were going to visit the town on the morning we arrived, we didn’t take much time to plan where to park.
Instead, as we arrived, we quickly Google mapped a parking location and we ended up staying at the Market Hall car park which we paid £2.50 for 4 hours parking, which we ended up not using all of but feel it’s a reasonable amount of time and money for what you need.
You can find a list of car parks here to help plan your journey.
By the time we arrived in Market Harborough, it was 10am and we hadn’t eaten yet (I know, shocker!) So before we decided to explore or do anything, we needed to find somewhere to fill our stomachs.
Again, Josh did a quick Google search and found Milo’s Cafe in the Courtyard shops, which funnily enough, was a 30 second walk away from where we were standing – so we opted for this as it sounded like the type of thing we were looking for.
You wander through a tiny alleyway to find a cute courtyard which consisted of a few shops and Milo’s Cafe right at the bottom. Cute, quiet and offered plenty of brunch options = perfect!
If you’re like me and love anything to do with brunch, Milo’s has a variety of things from Full English Breakfast, several Eggs options and a big plate of Avocado Smash on Sourdough toast with poached eggs, which I chose – I also added Smoked Salmon on mine for an extra £2.50.
For two cups of coffee, two glasses of orange juice, a full english and my avocado smash, it came to around £29, which is a bit pricey for brunch, but I can’t deny it was GOOD. I’m sure next time, we can find some cheaper alternatives but as it was such a lovely day and brunch, we didn’t mind too much.
I don’t know whether I just notice a lot more interior shops when I visit somewhere because I now have a house, or whether Market Harborough just has A LOT of interior shops, but either way, I was very happy to have a mooch through them all.
As mentioned, Market Harborough is not short from a cute, vintage interior and gift shop and I was very happy to drag Josh around them all for some house inspiration – really, I don’t think he minded!
One shop that really reminded me of Mooch in Northampton was a shop called In Heaven at Home on 30 High Street, mainly because it consisted of a few independent retailers of which Mooch have in stock too. But there was everything from hanging plant baskets, pillows, cute prints and frames, to stationary and lots more. I didn’t buy anything there, but it’s definitely one I wouldn’t mind shopping next time.
Based on Church Square, it consisted of lots of wooden interior, soft furnishings and more for the living room, kitchen, dining room and it even has a lovely bath and body section. I felt some of the items were quite pricey, but it’s definitely another great one to browse around and treat yourself to an item from.
Another one I really liked for all the unique bits and bobs was Barker Fleming Interiors on Abbey Road, which had some of the most beautiful lamp shade I’ve ever seen and wished I could had afforded at the time – it’s round the corner of the main Market Square, so it could be easily missed, but it’s another fab shop to have a look around.
And finally, we visited The Kitchen Range Cookshop which is apparently Britain’s award-winning kitchen shop and I can see why – it’s filled with so many useful and quirky kitchen supplies and accessories – I even brought an egg slide which was the most adult thing I have ever purchased!
I’m so glad we found this little gem, as it was hidden down a small alleyway that could have easily been missed if you’re not curious like me and you like navigating down secret alleys.
Quinns Bookshop is an independent (yay!) bookshop that sells (obviously) books galore of different genres as well as quirky book gifts, small gifts and even acrylic paint supplies if you’re into art and crafts.
I did, in fact, buy a book to take home with me which was Beth O’Leary’s ‘The Flat Share’ who I actually met at Louise Pentland’s book signing at Piccadilly London. So if you’re a book bod and love to support independent, this is for you!
As we had brunch, we didn’t get to explore the lunch options available in Market Harborough, but a lot of you on Instagram suggested Rocksalt, which as we walked by looked immense, so this will definitely be one we head to next time.
However, we were not short of visiting other little food and drink places for small refreshments.
Firstly, The Three Swans Hotel was where we decided to grab a table and enjoy a nice glass of wine and a pint of larger for Josh, in the sunshine as it has a very scenic pub garden which everyone could enjoy – even dogs!
Next, we discovered that Randall’s was in Market Harborough, as we love the one based at The Bean Hive in Kettering and is literally a haven of American sweets, drinks and savoury stuff. We ended up getting some Pokemon drink cans, which Josh likes to collect.
We also discovered Ranch flavoured Pringles which blew our minds a bit!
And then just at the end of our trip, I found a beautiful little chocolate shop called Chocolate Lovers which looked as though it sold gelato and as it was an incredibly hot day, I really fancied one!
The owner was incredibly sweet and actually talked us through the process of making the ice creams and informed us that she only makes them with dark chocolate and water – so absolutely no milk involved, which is mad considering the texture was so creamy and like Mr Whippy consistency.
Before we left Market Harborough, we swung by to Farndon Fields Farm Shop, which I have been DYING to visit and so many people who follow me have recommended to me, so I knew I couldn’t visit the town without visiting here.
If you’re familiar with Northamptonshire farm shops, it’s similar to Beckworth Emporium and Bell Plantation and is full of all the little cute, farm shop items you would expect from home-grown fruit and vegetables that are bigger than anything you’d see in a supermarket, a colourful deli counter that even included Warner Edwards gin infused cheesecakes and giant meringues of every colour.
I also ended up spotting some of my favourite local food & drink produce on display in the shops, including Warner’s Gin, Saxby’s Cider, Yau’s Food, Friars Farm, i’m real ice cream and many more – it’s nice to see some familiar favourites stocked over the shire.
There was also a fab garden and home section which, obviously, I was all over! I’ve definitely got garden inspiration from looking around and if you love homey, garden stuff, then you will love it here too.
Overall, we made the most of the day as we left Market Harborough at 3pm. Next time, we will definitely take advantage of some lunch and I’m sure we’ll be back to do that and explore other places we missed out on this time – especially being so close to us now.
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