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Northampton City Guide 🇬🇧

What's up Northampton!

Northampton is well known for its leather and shoe industry, so strong is the connection that the local football team are nicknamed ‘The Cobblers’. Today, Northampton is both an urban playground of shops and places to wine and dine, yet it’s also full of lush green spaces, meadows and lies on the River Nene. Comedians Tim Minchin, and Alan Carr all hail from Northampton, which got us thinking; there’s got to be something funny in the air. The best way to find out is to hop on a Voi and get a feel for the place and ultimately, have a laugh.

This city guide was created in collaboration with Northamptonshire Britain’s Best Surprise. Visit their website for more great tips on exploring the county.

Magee Street bakery

You can’t go to Abington and not sample the goods from this top-notch and much-loved bakery, which also serves more substantial food and is known for its excellent coffee. It’s worth the journey and leaves the high street competition in the dust when it comes to quality and good vibes. There are clearly some very clever people doing the grafting in the kitchen, conjuring up ingenious takes on classics such as: lamb, feta and mint sausage roll and Chinese pork with szechuan pepper scotch egg. Someone get a serviette! You’re drooling.

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Northampton Museum and Art gallery (due to re-open 10 July)

For the past five years, Northampton Museum and Art Gallery has undergone a huge renovation; it’s doubled in size and there’s a new 9-metre tall glass extension which links sections of the museum and houses a cafe and terrace. Thrilled to soon be welcoming visitors, there’s an exciting calendar of events for temporary exhibitions, plus a permanent collection which takes you on a journey from the Bronze age all the way to Northampton’s modern history. There’s a permanent shoe gallery too, which is globally recognised as one of the largest collections of shoe heritage. Explore thousands of years of shoe style history and begin to understand this fascinating industry.

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Abington Park

This is one of Northampton's most beautiful parks, with the remnants of a medieval village in it’s grounds, where you’ll find buildings over seven centuries old. Head to one of the two lakes and tip your hat to the friendly ducks and admire the swans. If that’s not enough beak, there’s an aviary on site too, where you can see parrots and peacocks. There’s also a museum, cafe, public toilets, and fitness apparatus for all to use, plus the church of St Peter and St Paul which dates back to the 13th century and is the final resting place of William Shakespeare’s grand-daughter Elizabeth Barnard.

The Guildhall

Every town needs a hall and we’re glad to confirm that The Guildhall does Northampton justice, a beautiful example of Victorian gothic architecture set in St Giles’ Square. Design aficionados might like to take note of the extension and compare it to the original building, designed by E.W Godwin. Enjoy the award-winning statues and tableaux, many of which are monarchs and famous people who had close ties with the town.

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Café Marseille

Anywhere that gives the green light to ordering pancakes and an assortment of other brunch items past 3pm gets a mighty thumbs up. The French love a long lunch, and with such a vast menu, there’s every reason you should too. With a huge menu ranging from Beef Bourguignon to Crepe Suzette, the restaurant offers a lovely airy space with a shabby chic decor and the food is every bit as attractive as it is tasty. An Instagramer’s paradise with a highly photogenic floral wall, the heavenly selection of sweet treats will provide the energy boost to power you through the rest of the day.

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Delapré park

Beyond Delapré Abbey, which is well worth a visit, lies 500 acres of glorious parkland. Head to the visitor welcome centre to grab a walking map, or just mosey on down and follow your nose. Don’t miss the lake, where you can do a spot of angling or water skiing if the mood takes you, or if you’d rather something more relaxed, go and seek out the Eleanor Cross which commemorates Queen Eleanor of Castiles, the wife of King Edward I. If your appetite for gardens is not yet satisfied, head to the Delapré formal gardens which surround the Abbey. Follow your nose down to the he Orangery cafe and grab a coffee en route.

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Pinnacle Climbing Centre

The beauty of Voi-riding is that you can reserve your leg muscle power for when you really need it, which is right about now. The Pinnacle Climbing Centre offers over 200 climbing routes and is colour coded and full of experienced folk if you find yourself between a rock and a hard place. With options for bouldering, caving or abseiling, there’s something to challenge everyone, whether you’re an experienced climber or just starting out. Book a session before you arrive, wear something comfortable, and remember it’s not about getting to the top, it’s about having fun.

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Akasaka Northampton

Inspired by Japanese and Korean cuisine, Akasaka has succeeded in making many Northampton bellies happy. Following the restaurant's success in Milton Keynes, the owners decided the good people of Northampton also deserve a party for the taste-buds. Go to town on rawesome sushi and sashimi, katsu, or opt for a Korean bibimbap, served in hot stone bowls. Make room for some green tea or coconut mochi ice cream afterwards. This place is always busy, so call ahead to reserve a table.

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Northampton Filmhouse

Set in the cultural hub of Northampton and developed by the team behind the adjacent Royal & Derngate theatre, this independent cinema is an absolute gem. Hats off to the team, they’ve done their research when it comes to creating the ideal space for a premium cinematic experience. Come for the excellent variety of mainstream and arthouse films, sink into the comfy seats and enjoy the range of carefully selected quieter snacks. The two cinemas each have a bar which opens 30-mins before showtime and drinks are served in glass and crockery. Fancy.

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St Giles’ Street

Wandering around a town or city can be an excellent way to pass an hour if you know where to go. That’s why we’re sending you to St Giles’ Street for a stroll of delights, starting with St Giles’ Cheese, a treasured family-run deli serving a wide selection of cheeses and all the best local food products including chocolate, beer, cider, honey and crackers, of course. Work your way down the street and waltz into the independent shops, have a mooch in the gift stores, or perhaps the twinkle from the windows of the jewellery retailers will catch your eye.