History is everywhere you look in Northampton. There's the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which dates back to 1100 and is one of the biggest and best-preserved round churches in the country, with its awesome columned interior. There's also the All Saints' Church, built after the notorious Great Fire of Northampton in 1675: its splendid, vaulted interiors are matched by the grand portico outside, where 19th Century poet John Clare would famously write his stanzas. Elsewhere in Northampton, Abington Park has wide open green spaces, lakes, and the remains of an ancient village – lovely to see on a sunny day.
Things to see
You simply can't visit Northampton and not make time to see the Market Square. Few others in Britain can compare to it in terms of spectacle and heritage: there has been trading going on here since as far back as 1235. Linked to the main shopping area of Abington Street, the Market Square teems with colorful stalls selling everything from homemade jams to traditional pies to bags and shoes. Spend an afternoon having a leisurely wander, and admire the picturesque terraced buildings that surround on all sides. Another great landmark is the Northampton Guildhall, which stands on St Giles' Square. With its intricately carved arches, and its many statues and friezes of saints, it's a striking monument to the Victorians' taste for all things Gothic, and just one example of Northampton's rich history. If you fancy getting out of the town while you're in the area, you can also visit Flore – an idyllic village 7 miles from Northampton, on a hillside facing the River Nene. Just 5 miles from Northampton lies Althorp, the 17th Century home of the Spencer family, and the final resting place of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Hotels in Northampton
While it may not be a cosmopolitan metropolis to rival London or Manchester, there's still a very wide range of Northampton hotels to suit all travelers. On a romantic break? You might want to try one of the larger manor houses on the outskirts of the town – you can expect, stylish, contemporary décor in the guestrooms, and some have saunas, tennis courts, and health clubs to make your stay all the more memorable. There's also a good selection of chain hotels in Northampton offering tried and trusted comforts as well as facilities like free WiFi and on-site bars and brasseries – perfect for business travelers.
Where to stay
Unless you've chosen to book one of the aforementioned, grand Northampton hotels a bit further out, the center of the town is really the place to be during your stay here. It means you'll have the bustle of Abington Street on your doorstep (no cars go there, so you can stroll and window shop to your heart's content), as well as the Market Square and the many old Victorian buildings that give the center its identity.
How to get to
Northampton is well connected with the rest of the UK, with direct train services to major cities including London, Coventry, and Birmingham available from Northampton Station. If you're flying in from abroad, you might choose to land at Birmingham Airport. From here you simply hop onto the Rail-Link monorail which will whisk you to Birmingham International Station, where you can get the train to Northampton with a journey time of under an hour. If you're flying into Luton, you'll be able to make use of one of the frequent coach services to Northampton.