Happy Saturday this time!
As I promised the brand new travel post is already here. Let`s talk about Northampton which is a lovely place to go. Enjoy!
Who said that Northampton is boring?! Yes, I`ve heard that so many times: Caroline why do you even go there? There is nothing special to see just a boring place. Hang on a minute. Everyone who said so was actually pretty wrong and I am going to prove that here.
The first thing which I don`t really understand is why people express their opinions on things they have no idea about. If you don`t know something please stop gossiping around passing the wrong information to someone else. If I would have listened to all that made up stories about Northampton and thousand of reasons why I shouldn`t go there probably I would regret that. I am so glad I went there and this also taught me that we always need to follow our heart no matter what others opinion could it be. We know the best what`s good for us or not and we can make those decisions by ourselves.
Well, let`s go back to Northampton now. Maybe it`s not the best city in the world, maybe it doesn`t have top attractions like London or Cambridge or whichever well known cities but it has still lots to see and discover. I am really glad I did make my way there and it wasn`t waste of time at all.
Let`s get started then.
Quite important thing to mention is the fact that the city is improving and developing which is easy to see. Lots of new projects and possibilities for people not only from the city but also from outside. New skate park is one of them which became quite a popular place in the city. Also very new train station (opened 2015) with really easy access and great space for commuters. I was actually coming back to London by train and I had a nice `waiting` time eating my Pizza before the train arrived. Northampton doesn`t have that many tourists as London or other big cities but sightseeing is really easy in here. Lots of information, new signs and maps make things easier to find and I am pretty sure it will get even better.
Normally when someone mentions Northampton the first thing which comes into somebody`s mind is leather manufacture and footwear. Unfortunately not anymore but going around the city we can still see related things. Look at those shoes ^^
If you want to buy nice fresh fruits and vegetables please visit that place. Not only everything looks so colourful and lovely but it also does taste deliciously. Believe me they are so yummmmy! The food is not the only thing you will get there. There are many people selling bags, clothes, electronics and lots more. There is so much to choose from but anyway fruits were the best for me. Probably you won`t find the same quality in the supermarket. Honestly try them and you won`t regert. Mmmmm.
For the sports lovers there is something to do too! I`ve got great news as Northampton has Football team—-> Northampton Town F.C. (The Cobblers) as well as Rugby team—-> Northampton Saints(The Saints). Two great sports to choose from. Yeaaaah!
PEARL OF THE CITY
Very special thing which the city owns is 78 Derngate. It was the house owned by Wenman Joseph Basset- Lowke who chose an amazing and famous architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh to use his skills and design the interior house. It`s the only place touched by C.R.Mackintosh in the entire England which makes Northampton really special. He was born in Glasgow known as incredibly talented and skilled architect. His projects were always amazing and unique as he could use different influences and his wide knowledge about design.
The house looks stunning and at the same time unusual as it`s very rare to see this kind of style anywhere. Beautiful colours and different shapes used in the house does surprise a lot at the first moment you come into the house.
The entrance is only £ 7.50 and what`s even better your ticket is valid entire year and I really think the money is well spent. Looking after the building and keeping it in a good condition cost lots of money that`s why visiting the attraction is not free of charge. People working there are only volunteers which help with managing the building making it possible for us to visit it. Really beautiful place and I honestly haven`t seen that style anywhere before which made my visit even greater.
The city can definitely take it as a big advantage. Lots of beautiful and historical churches and yet they are so different.
When I went to All Saints Church I couldn`t stop myself from listening to the beautiful organ music. The acoustics in the church are really great which allows the sound going all around the building. That was amazing! It`s quite impressive as well how the church looks now as it was almost completely destroyed during Great Fire of Northampton (1675).
The oldest building in the city is The Holy Sepulchre dating from 1100. I had a look only from outside I don`t really know if the church is still open to the public but I decided to have only a quick glimpse as the surrounding area didn`t seem to be safe enough. It`s a shame as I saw lots of homeless people living in the backyard of the church bringing hundreds of broken things trying to make a shelter actually living there.
I also had a chance to see St. Guiles Church and St. Mary the Virgin CHURCH which was also great. I don`t know why but I always find churches fascinating maybe because they were so important in the past and the architecture is just incredible. I always try to see as many as I can discovering new things with every visit.
Unfortunately there is hardly anything left from the Castle now if anything at all. It used to be one of the most important castles in England which held around 32 Parliaments in the past. The only part we can see now is a Postern Gate near Northampton Railway Station. That castle was also the place where Thomas Becket was imprisoned and where he luckily escaped from.
Walking around Northampton you can actually see lots of other places related to Thomas Becket and his history for example Becket`s Well near Beckets Park which is believed to be a place where he drew the water from escaping from the castle.
GREAT FIRE OF NORTHAMPTON
Northampton was hit really badly by the fire in 1675 when ¾ of the city was completely destroyed. That time was horrific as most of the houses were made of wood which helped the fire to spread really quickly. Strong wind made things even worse and within only 24h the city was ruined. Local people were trying to collect as much money as they could to rebuilt city centre. Building the new houses and buildings they decided to make streets wider to have more space to escape in case fire would occur again in the future. That`s clever isn`t it?
MOST BEAUTIFUL BUILDING IN NORTHAMPTON
Northampton Guildhall is just simply extraordinary and breathtaking building. The style and all the details included in the design are outstanding. I couldn`t stop staring at it trying to see the smallest details. There are many scenes from Northampton`s everyday life as well as important events in the history of the city. It looks really beautiful when the sun is shining which reflects the sun rays making it so bright and shiny.
The building is huge and taking a photo was quite a big challenge as I don`t have any professional equipment. That was my favourite place in Northampton and non of the photos can actually show how amazing it really is. Guildhall`s rooms are used for many different purposes as wedding parties, concerts, private celebrations and much more. That would be a dream destination for me.
PLACE OF CULTURE= CULTURAL QUARTER
If you are an art lover and you really want to know lots more than you actually know now that`s the place for you. Surrounding area is really beautiful so take a good walk around and look at different buildings and their architecture.
You will also find here superb Session House and NN Contemporary Art with interesting exhibitions and displays. Royal & Derngate Theatre ( the main theatre in Northampton), Errol Flynn Filmhouse and the greatest Northampton`s Museum and Art Gallery. Unfortunately the museum is shut until autumn 2018 as they try to extend their area. I wasn`t lucky enough to see it either which is a shame because the museum is considered to be the best and biggest shoe museum in the world. I really wanted to see it but never mind if not now maybe the next time 🙂
BEST STREET EVER
St. Giles Quarter is the street I am talking about and it`s really not only my opinion. That fabulous street has lots of shops, cafes, restaurant and what`s so great about it is everyone will find something for their budget. When you walk around you will notice lots of places rich in Gothic architecture which are mainly visible in this part of the city. I do think street is worth visiting even when you have only little time to look around. Not surprisingly the place which is St. Giles Quarter was rewarded in 2015 for its outstanding features being: `THE GREAT BRITISH HIGH STREET`. I think that`s quite impressive, isn`t it?
If you like having a good pint Northampton is a place you need to visit. The city was well known for their very great breweries such as Phipps and Northampton Brewery Company. Unforunately they had to close their business in 1957 BUT just 3 years ago (2014) Phipps NBC was opened again and people can enjoy their beer anew. You can also try to visit: Frog Island, Pamfret Arms, Malt Shovel. I think it`s pretty good isn`t it?
BOOTS AND SHOE QUARTER
Asking someone: what do you know about Northampton? Probably the first thing you would hear or most likely to hear are boots, shoes, footwear. That`s right Northampton is still connotated with shoes manufacture. Unfortunately is not that advanced and popular anymore however we can still see some of the historical buildings from that time and obviously very high quiality shoes. They are still known and popular around the world having lots of customers worldwide like Loake, Jeffery West, Doc Martens + other brands.
This place is magical. If I had more time to stay in Northampton I would probably spend there few hours more having my packed lunch ready sitting on the grass and enjoying beautiful views and peaceful sounds of nature.
My favourite part was Marina with lots of boats and even more…swans and ducks. I felt surrounded by those lovely creatures and I had such a great fun watching them. Really funny animals. The day was beautiful and sunny and everything looked so special with the reflection of the sun in the water. Best place when you need a rest. 🙂
National Lift Tower or Express Tower or Northampton Lighthouse.
If you`ve heard any of those names it`s still the same tower. You can easily spot the building from a far distance as the tower is quite tall (128m). I was wondering what could be this tower for or what is the purpose of the building. Unfortunately not many people from Northampton were able to tell me this. I did my little research and…tadadadam….I found the answer. Well, it`s a lift testing tower and that`s pretty all I could say about it however the tower is the only one in Britain and second when it comes to Europe so not so usual tower. That`s definitely the fact which makes this plain building very special. I just took a picture of it and I could still see it very well from far away.
DID YOU KNOW?
❓There are still lots of medieval tunnels under the city centre however they are probably not used anymore (if they are probably it would be kept as a secret).
❓When Black Death occurred in Northampton more than half of the people living there died reducing the numbers tragically.
❓It took only 24hrs for the city to be badly destroyed by Great Fire of Northampton.
❓Northampton was the first city outside Denmark where Carlsberg opened its brewery.
❓The city has a special app : www.lovenorthampton.co.uk/app where we can stay updated and check what`s going on in the city. Perfect for tourists, shoppers, business people, locals… actually for everyone.
Looks like my review about Northampton is finished here but don`t you worry. If you have any questions feel free to ask. I am happy to answer them all.
What do you think about the city? Is it worth spending some time in there or you wouldn’t even make your way to Northampton? I am really curious about your opinion.
Have a good weekend and till the next time!