An improved train station and brand new cultural quarter is pushing Northampton up the charts when it comes to where to buy a house.
While some will be more familiar with Northampton as the location of the Silverstone Circuit, or even of Arch Bishop of Canterbury’s Thomas Becket’s famous trial in the 12th century, its more urban virtues shouldn’t be overlooked.
As one of Britain’s largest towns, Northampton offers an abundance of shopping, history and entertainment to its residents.
Its East Midlands location is conveniently central too. Birmingham is just over an hour’s drive away, while Nottingham can be reached in 90 minutes. You can find out more about Nottingham with Zoopla’s guide.
Also in current favour are the town’s house prices. The average is currently £229,000, comfortably below the average for England. You can check up-to-date prices here.
Living in Northampton: what to expect
Northampton’s had a facelift over recent years, with £20 million spent on the train station and plenty more projects in the pipeline.
There is a new ‘cultural quarter’, which hosts museums, art galleries and a theatre complex. Bars, restaurants and shops also cater to residents.
The marketplace, one of the country’s oldest, is now an updated focal point of the town. The waterside has also been improved so that locals can walk and cycle alongside the Grand Union Canal.
The North Gate Bus Station has also been updated, improving services across the town.
Housing has not been neglected either. A £60 million development on Ransome Road is in the planning, which will provide 420 houses and apartments.
The town is home to a number of popular sports teams. Locals gather to cheer on the premiership football team Northampton Saints or watch the Northants Steelbacks bat their way to victory in cricket.
Residents can get away from the urban bustle in the town’s 170 parks and open spaces, which have 54 play areas for children. Salcey Forest is just seven miles from the town centre and offers locals a peaceful retreat.
Where to start your property search
Urban living: Abington is just two miles from the town centre and near a large park. Look here for large Victorian and Edwardian homes or terraces with bay fronts. Wellingborough Road is particularly popular and has large detached properties.
Search East Hunsbury to the south of the town for comfortable semis on roads such as Muncaster Gardens, or take a look at new-builds on the St George’s Fields development.
West Hunsbury has modern houses for sale, including detached, semis and some terraces.
Kingsley is a conservation area that boasts some fine Victorian gothic architecture. Take a look down St George’s Avenue and Kingsley Road for bay-fronted properties.
Delapre is another popular area to the south. Substantial three-bedroom detached homes can be found down London Road. Bay-fronted terraces are also available to home-buyers.
A couple of miles from Northampton station is Kingsthorpe, another conservation area. Look here for listed buildings and stone cottages.
For 1920s homes with bay windows, search Towcester Road in Far Cotton. You can also find Victorian terraces on streets such as Southampton Road.
Broughton features large country homes as well as barn conversions and some thatched homes. You can also find some modern developments on its outskirts.
The conservation area of Great Houghton is just over two miles from the town centre. Its high street features handsome buildings made out of old red brick.
Country houses and large detached homes are features of Little Brington, but old character can be found in the village of Wootton.
The roads leading off the high street contain old sandstone cottages and stone walls, but 1950s semis are also available off Green Lane.
New homes: Search new developments like Dragonfly Meadows for new-builds. This new estate sits on the edge of the Nene Valley Country Park, which is also near the M1. Look here for two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom homes.
Marina Gardens in Duston also has new-build homes ranging from two to five bedrooms.
Getting in and around Northampton
By car: Northampton is in close proximity to the M1 which connects the town with London and Leeds. The M6 is also nearby, meaning residents can get to the North West in about two hours. The A14 provides links east and west of the town.
By air: The closest airport is East Midlands Airport. Operators such as Flybe and RyanAir offer flights to Europe as well as domestic destinations. Alternatively, residents can head down the M1 to London Luton Airport or Birmingham Airport. Heathrow Airport is also only an hour’s drive away.
Things to do in Northampton
History and culture: Take a look at the remains of Northampton Castle and The Holy Sepulchre to get a sense of the town’s lengthy history. You can also admire the Romanesque architecture of the Norman St Peter’s Church.
A little out of town is the site of the Battle of Naseby – a decisive encounter between the King and Parliament in the English Civil War. Take a tour around the site or follow one of its many walks.
You can also venture into the Oxfordshire countryside to see the ancestral home of George Washington. Explore the Tudor and Georgian Sulgrave Manor and take a moment to walk around its gardens and grounds.
Visit the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery to learn about local history and see its large shoe collection. For theatre, head to The Deco or the Royal & Derngate. Productions include music, plays, pantomimes and live bands.
Food and drink: Combine a love of history and food at The Church Restaurant. Set in a 12th-century listed building, this restaurant offers up a historical environment in which to enjoy a meal.
Quirky cocktails can be enjoyed at Haycock & Tailbar – if you can find it. Hunt down the unremarkable doorway and ring the bell for entrance. Down the corridor you’ll find a stylish bar serving unusual drinks.
Fresh Mediterranean food is served up at Sophia’s. Tuck into a pizza or try one of the restaurant’s specialities.
Shopping: Grosvenor Centre and Market Walk service residents with popular high-street retailers. Other major shopping roads include Abington Street.
Locals can also head to St James’ Retail Park in the south of the town.
Stroll along the stalls of the new monthly market held in the market place to buy local produce. Gourmet sausages, beers and ciders are all available.
Outdoor activities: Abington Park is Northampton’s oldest park. Take a relaxing stroll around the boating lake or rest your feet in the park’s café. If you’re feeling more energetic, try the outdoor fitness equipment.
The park also has its own museum. Take some time to look around and see images of domestic and military life of the people of Northampton.
For some adventure head to Salcey Forest and take the Tree Top Way. This route sits 15 metres above the forest floor and offers views across Northampton.
Billing Aquadrome Leisure Park is another attraction for families. It has a marina, funfair, bar and a converted water mill.
Festivals and events: The Northampton Carnival takes place every summer and brings residents together to enjoy a parade of floats as well as lots of stalls and stage performances.
The Dragon Boat Race by the rotary club is also not to be missed. Cheer on your favourite team from the riverbank – money raised by the event goes to charity.
The Silverstone Circuit offers more than Grand Prix racing. Check its events calendar for the chance to see classic cars or the highly popular truck festival.
The Errol Flynn filmhouse is a pint-sized cinema with 88 comfortable leather seats. All profits go to the Northampton Theatres Trust – and you can even take in a bottle of wine to drink during the film.
5 reasons to live in Northampton
One-hour journey times to London
Long and fascinating history
Lots of regeneration work
One of Britain’s largest towns
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