Spring can be seen all around us right now, and It’s amazing how these sunnier and slightly warmer days are making me feel more motivated. Whether it’s the brighter mornings, the sound of bird song, or the pops of colour from the bright white snowdrops. Spring is certainly my favourite season!
Based in the county of Northamptonshire, I’ve been lucky to enjoy this third lockdown in and amongst the countryside, enjoying whatever it may bring – pre-Xmas it was a much less pretty picturesque, with scenes of flooding across many parts! Thankfully, first signs of spring are here and with that, we have enjoyed some glorious sunshine and warmer days – (long may this continue!).
Plus, with the latest news of clear dates in sight for lockdown lifting and some return to normality, I hope to welcome you to my home county very soon. Here’s a low down on spring in Northants…
Northants (also know as The Rose of the Shires) is the southern most landlocked county in the East Midlands. Surrounded by eight other counties means there is a wealth of diverse environment around us to visit and enjoy. For example, we have Rutland to the north, Cambridgeshire in the east, Buckinghamshire in the south and Warwickshire to the west. You’re never too far from something going on, and the landscape is just as inviting, consisting of a patch-work of fields with idyllic countryside views spanning miles.
Starting with my birth town Kettering, its historically a market town surrounded by a wealth of quaint villages. Much of the area’s land is still owned by Boughton House Estate. Originally a Tudor building, the 1st Duke of Montagu in 1683 inherited and developed the house to reflect the hugely popular French style. As English ambassador to France, Montagu was inspired by the architectural symmetry and elegance of the French Palace of Versailles – resulting in the masterpiece we see today which is often referred to as ‘The English Versailles’. Now the Buccleuch family, a descendant of the Montagu’s, inherited this vast land ownership and house in the 20th century, and remain residents to this day.
The house, its manicured gardens and over 100 acres of landscape including water features, amazing views and tree-lined avenues are open to the public (covid dependent) during the summer months, and is well worth a visit. Additionally, Boughton has featured in many history and arts programmes, and has also appeared in the Oscar winning “Les Misérables”.
Visit for More Info: www.boughtonhouse.co.uk
If you enjoy the water, then head over to Stanwick Lakes; where you’ll find the River Nene which flows north-east to The Wash and offers 75 acres of countryside attraction and nature reserve. Recently featured on the TV show Country File, nature lovers will find it a good day out as the water attracts many types of wild birds. Great for keeping the kids occupied too, with on-site bike hire service for the family, a café for snacks and drinks, and a fab playground and huts dotted throughout for the kids to explore.
Visit for More Info: www.stanwicklakes.org.uk
The River Nene also has two major canals – the Oxford and Grand Union, with a flight of locks which can be visited at Stoke Bruerne, a picturesque canal village in Northamptonshire. Aside from admiring the beautiful barges on the locks, there you can also find the museum giving some info and history or alternatively, on a sunny spring afternoon, there is nothing better than enjoying a chilled drink and The Boat Inn – perfectly placed to relax canal side after a long walk.
Visit for More Info: www.stokebruerne.co.uk
If you prefer to remain terra firma, then the variety of woodland in the area is certainly worth a visit. Heading to Corby (going towards Uppingham, Rutland), you’ll come across the magnificent Rockingham Castle perched proudly on a hilltop, with plenty of forest walks. Built on the instruction of William the Conqueror, Rockingham Castle has been home to the Watson family for 450 years, and still is to this day. Prior to this, the Castle was held by the crown. Throughout the year, the Castle offers a variety of things to do including an on-site Land Rover Experience, Castle tours, Castle garden tours, and various speciality events (e.g. Halloween “spook” theme events, or my favourite – the Victorian Christmas experience). Please check online/book in advance prior to visiting, and please follow all Gov covid rules before travel.
Visit for More Info: www.rockinghamcastle.com
Fermyn Woods Country Park is found going out of Corby towards the historic and picturesque town of Stamford. The country park offers a range of activities for kids from bush craft to a cycle ride (with paths for all abilities). After the morning spent cycling, why not pop over to Stamford for a cosy pub lunch. Although Stamford is not under Northamptonshire, it is only a short 10-min drive in from Fermyn country park. A beautiful historic town, full of characterful yellow stone buildings lining each street, home to the most wonderful independent boutiques and stores selling interesting pieces – from homeware to fashion, from books to fine foods… you’ll be in heaven! The streets of Stamford also offer the most perfect setting for those “insta-worthy” photos!
Visit for More Info: www.fermynwoods.org
Getting back to the realms of Northamptonshire, if you enjoy exploring the countryside and are looking for a place to stay whilst visiting us, then there is no better place than Rushton Hall Hotel & Spa. From a location perspective it’s a great base to explore the county, with many attractions within a half hour drive. Plus, if some luxury is what you’re after, then I cannot recommend this place enough.
Before its transformation into a luxury hotel, Rushton Hall in Kettering, Northamptonshire was the Grade I listed Country House and ancestral home of the Tresham family from 1438, when William Tresham bought the estate. Now, the hotel, nestled in 25 acres of immaculate grounds and splendid 16th Century surroundings, is a place where you can live the dream (well for a few days at least!). With 4 red stars and 3 rosettes you’ll be spoilt in the finest luxury Northamptonshire has to offer. From country pursuits, a fancy afternoon tea or fine-dining supper, through to relaxing in its beautiful Stable Yard Spa. Take your pick!
Visit for More Info: www.rushtonhall.com
There is so much Northamptonshire has to offer, and I hope you can visit us soon to enjoy our little piece of countryside. If there is anything else you would like to know about the area, please contact me via my Instagram account – more than happy to be your personal tour guide 😊
Regional Reporter - East Midlands
Female, 28 years old, Northamptonshire living (but also very familiar with Rutland due to parents living there), work full time in marketing. An avid lover of the British countryside and all that relates to it. I have an Instagram page with mostly countryside related content, and try to keep this updated as frequently as possible. In my spare time I enjoy travelling (although limited during COVID), hiking, camping and generally exploring what the UK’s countryside has to offer. When I have some spare time available, I enjoy a spot of clay shooting, home décor shopping (what women doesn’t love a bit of retail therapy?!) and thoroughly enjoy a day at the races with my other half, or a summers day spent at a country show. Always wanting to push my boundaries and try something new and exciting!