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The local area guide to living in Northamptonshire

Northamptonshire is a county (otherwise known as the County of Northampton) in the East Midlands, England. It has a rich history, often referred to as the county of 'spires and squires', and has frequently been at the crux of major conflicts over the centuries. For instance, Mary, Queen of Scots was held in the county at Fotheringhay Castle and King Charles I was detained at Holdenby House. Henry VI also was captured at the Battle of Northampton.

Later, during the early Industrial Revolution, Northamptonshire grew to be regarded as the shoemaking capital of the entire world. Eventually, by the beginning of World War I, steel production had taken over and these days the economy is reliant on food production, the service sector, and technology.

It is a county of fast development today, part of the Milton Keynes and South Midlands Growth area. Tens of thousands of homes are to be built over the next few years around the major towns of Daventry, Corby, Wellingborough, Kettering, Rushden and Northampton.

Information about the local residents

There are just under 700,000 people in Northamptonshire, and it has a relatively young population. A full quarter are under 20, while unusually for the UK just 11% are over the age of 65.

Ethnically, 90% are White British and 5% are South Asian or Black British. The county has a relatively low unemployment rate, thanks to the diverse industries keeping the economy going.

Nearby schools

There is a large array of primary schools across the county of Northamptonshire, including a good number rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted. These include St Loys Church of England Primary School and Kings Meadow School, both very popular.

A large number of the secondary schools in the county are now converted to academies, and they have maintained high standards. Guilsborough School in Northampton and Brooke Weston Academy in Corby were both awarded an 'outstanding' rating by Ofsted in recent years, and there are plenty of other high performing schools.

In terms of further education, there are a total of seven colleges and one University (the University of Northampton). The colleges are The East Northamptonshire College, Northampton New College, Fletton House, Knuston Hall, and Moulton College.

Getting around

The county has always had good travel links, having been historically seen as an important link between the southeast and northwest.

The major artery roads in use by motorists today are the M1 (which goes all the way from London to Leeds), the A45 and the A14. These make travel across the Midlands, southeast and northeast exceptionally easy. There are also excellent bus services both within the settlements and linking between them.

On top of this there are some very good railway links. The Midland Main Line and West Coast Main Line cross the county in different directions, with the former linking with London St Pancras and running to Sheffield, and the later going all the way up to the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

All major towns and cities in England are fairly easily reachable from Northamptonshire including Reading, Oxford, Coventry, Birmingham and Bristol, and commuting to London is fairly easy.

Local shops

There are a lot of market towns in Northampton. Most well known are Brackley, Corby, Daventry, Northampton, Thrapston, Towcester, Oundle, Rounds and Rothwell. In these towns you can find all manner of local farm produce, crafts, gifts, fabrics and much more.

The small villages across Northamptonshire also have their own wares to show off in a myriad of independent shops and stores. Tiffield, a pretty rural village, has a fantastic dairy farm which has its own farm shop selling directly to consumers. Wakefield Country Courtyard is very popular for its chutneys, pickles, wines, cheeses, meats, and baked goods. Upper Stowe also has a dairy farm centre, with live demonstrations of what they do.

Major, modern shopping centres include the Grosvenor Centre, Peacock Place in Northampton, Weston Favell, Swansgate Centre in Wellingborough and Newland Centre, Kettering.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.