They say you should blog about what you know – and I’m fairly confident that I know a thing or two about Northamptonshire.
In case you didn’t know (although I’m pretty sure I’ve made it very obvious) I live in Northamptonshire – that county that is smack-bang in the middle of the country.
Northamptonshire gets a bad reputation sometimes and honestly, I don’t really know why – because let’s face it, every county in the country does!
But I’m not about highlighting the bad, I’m all about sharing the positive things on here.
Although I wasn’t born in and wasn’t originally from Northamptonshire, I have lived here since I was 13 years old so I like to think I have spent the majority of my teens and adult years growing up here.
And for now, I intend to stay here for longer and hopefully find and settle in a place of my own with Josh here.
So you can imagine I have lots of good things to say about the area.
That’s why I’m literally about to eat my own words and in attempts to blog about what I know, I thought I would share some reasons to love Northamptonshire.
This was actually really tricky to summarise to just a few points. As I could go on…
So if you currently live in the area and want a reason to actually like where you’re from, or you’re looking to visit the county, I hope these 10 items are educational and will inspire you to check out what’s on your doorstep…
Even though Northamptonshire is in the middle of the country, we have some stunning countrysides and gardens to visit, whether Summer or Fall.
If you love jumping on your bike and riding with friends and family, Brixworth Country Park offers delightful cycle routes and scenic views from the bridge looking out towards the river.
Or you can opt to spend the day in Northampton’s oldest park: Abington Park, which is host to many events throughout the year from food festivals, music festivals, the famous Umbrella Music Festival and there’s even a museum to check out.
Northampton is my go-to place for all my shopping needs.
The Grosvenor Centre is the place to go if you need everything on your doorstep. You can certainly spend the whole day there with its selection of retail stores, food & drink and yes… there’s a Primark, guys!
If you’re looking for more independent, Northamptonshire has so many vibrant and upcoming independent retailers and shopping centres that consist of small businesses.
Bell of Northampton is your number one spot for all things home and lifestyle, kitchens and local independent gifts, especially if you’re a fan of local alcohol suppliers like Warner Edwards and Two Birds Spirits.
If you’re looking to head further north of Northamptonshire, you’ve got Rushden Lakes which went through a huge development last year and finally opened to the public, boasting lots of major shopping brands including (yes, another) HUGE Primark, New Look, House of Fraser and many more.
Rushden Lakes also has a cool shop called Magazine Heaven where you can literally read any magazine whilst enjoying local coffee from The Roastery with a slice of cake.
And finally, The Yards based in Kettering is a unique shopping district that is known as the Camden Town of Kettering (it’s true).
One of my favourite things about Northamptonshire is the number of theatres and local performing companies.
Of course, there is Royal & Derngate, located on Guildhall Road in Northampton and is the hub for all community projects, touring theatre shows and the Made in Northampton productions.
I have been involved with the Royal & Derngate for a long time, from starting out in Youth Theatre, to volunteering and watching a variety of shows. It holds a special place in my heart.
There’s also plenty of local amateur dramatic theatre happening too, from companies like Northampton Musical Theatre Company who perform at R&D, a variety of pantomime’s that get performed at theatres like The Castle Theatre, The Deco and The Lighthouse Theatre in Kettering.
I am also a theatre reviewer for OnStage Northants, an online magazine that showcases local theatre managed by Rebecca – there is always something going on stagey in the county!
Believe it or not, Northampton has some fascinating history to learn and discover.
For example, did you know that Jane Austen based her 1814 novel ‘Mansfield Park’ mostly in Northamptonshire? Go ahead and read it now…
Watling Street, a long road that passes the majority of the county is an important Roman settlement known as Lacctodorum, which stands on the newly modernised Towcester high street. There are also Roman settlements in Kettering, Northampton and along Nene Valley Way.
Northamptonshire is also home to many museums which you can visit to get further education on the history of the county. Towcester Museum, which is very local to me, situated in a small and idyllic building boasts the Roman history of the town and county.
Wellingborough Museum There are lots of historical items of interest, including old slot machines, musical instruments and even Mammoth remains!
Or if you’re looking for something different, you can visit the Canal Museum located on Stoke Bruene where you can take a stroll and go for something to eat, whilst following the story of Britain’s canals.
You can always learn something new about Northamptonshire’s oldest hidden gems.
Eh? Shoes!? Hear me out…
Did you know, Northamptonshire is known for its production and making of shoes. We even have a museum dedicated to the history of why the county is so mad about shoes.
And if you know of the 2005 British-American film Kinky Boots, which later on turned into the legendary of a musical that it is, is actually based in Northampton and is based on the true story of a traditional Northamptonshire shoe factory.
Now that’s a claim to fame!
OH MY GOD THERE IS TOO MUCH TO MENTION!
I think I might actually need to write a different post for this, but we are so incredibly lucky to have such a huge foodie vibe in the county. From pop-up bars, local breweries, food festivals, independent coffee shops and restaurants and much more!
We even have the Carlsberg Food & Drink Awards in Northampton that is hosted annually (yes, the Carlsberg factory is located in Northampton!)
Whether you are looking for brunch, dinner, breakfast, afternoon tea or somewhere to enjoy coffee and cake, Northamptonshire has it (and it’s going to probably take me forever to visit every single place).
We have lots of big sports teams that play and train in the county, including Northampton Town Football Club, Saints Rugby Club and the Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, all of which host corporate events, awards ceremonies and other local events.
Do you remember Richard Coles the vicar who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing? He was born in Northampton, educated at Wellingborough School, is a chancellor of the University of Northampton and is the parish priest at St Mary’s Church in Finedon.
Another Strictly Come Dancing claim to fame from Northamptonshire is 2018 contestant, cricketer, Graeme Swann.
Fun fact: he went to the same school as me and his dad was a Maths and P.E teacher at the school too!
Another famous face from Northamptonshire is Alan Carr! He regularly mentions the town in his comedy stand up’s and his dad was a Northampton Town Football Club manager.
Whether you love or loathe Northamptonshire, you can’t deny we’ve got plenty to shout about and in my opinion, there is no reason to not love our shoe-making, vibrant, apparent Strictly Come Dancing alumni county.
There would have been so many other places and sectors I could have mentioned, but this post would have gone on forever!
If there is anything specific you would like me to write about in regards to Northamptonshire, please tweet me or message me. I want to feature more content about the place I live in and around – if London bloggers can blog about London, why can’t I blog about Northamptonshire and help put it on the map!?