Northamptonshire is in the very heart of England and offers something for everyone who visits . The county is often described as the Rose of the Shires.
Here you can choose to step into the traditional rural lifestyle typified by Northamptonshire's numerous pretty villages with their thatched cottages, country lanes and parish churches. Or at the other end of the spectrum, Northamptonshire offers many modern attractions and facilities, and holds the accolade of hosting one of the most thrilling Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Northamptonshire is home to some of the most beautiful countryside in England. There are miles of walks, beautiful country parks, canals and substantial areas of ancient woodland just waiting to be explored. Miles of cycle path follow the landscape of the Brampton Valley Way. Stately homes and ancestral seats, including that of the Spencer family at Althorp, are all part of the local heritage. The family home of the Spencers for almost five hundred years and spanning twenty generations. Set in beautiful surroundings, it is well known for its fine collection of paintings, furniture and porcelain. It also houses an exhibition commemorating the life of Diana, Princess of Wales. Located 5 miles west of Northampton.
Rockingham Castle perches on its hilltop with views stretching to Rutland Water. Northamptonshire's hilltop castle provides nine hundred years of history, 450 years a Royal Castle and 450 years a family home. It was built by William the Conqueror overlooking the Welland Valley and has been the home of the Watson family since 1530. With splendid rooms, collections of paintings and armour and 12 acres of beautiful gardens Absorbing the atmosphere of Rockingham it is easy to imagine the spirits of bygone cavaliers and roundheads. Caught up in the English Civil War, they were the victims of the bitter struggle between King and Parliament which set father against son, brother against brother. Originally a Royalist stronghold, Rockingham was stormed by Oliver Cromwell's Roundheads.
The network of canals that interweave the county are perfect for exploring, with cruisers able to stop to sample the hospitality of the old navigational inns along the way. In and around the main market towns there are excellent leisure facilities with great shops, restaurants, museums, galleries, theatres and cinemas, health clubs and spas, and a thriving nightlife for anyone with the energy. Local sporting highlights include international venues at Silverstone and Rockingham motor racing circuits, the revered Saints rugby team, football league teams and first class county cricket. Northampton itself is nestled in a curve of the River Nene and offers a wide range of attractions, from beautiful parks, museums and theatres to a host of evening entertainment venues.