Home of the iconic Silverstone Circuit and Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One® Team, the county of Northamptonshire offers sprawling stately homes, traditional thatched pubs and mile upon mile of quintessentially English countryside. Whether you're an avid motorsport enthusiast, a history buff, a cream tea aficionado or someone who simply craves natural beauty, Northamptonshire has masses to offer.
Where's best for a refreshing tipple?
The Tollemache Arms in Harrington – 45 minutes from Silverstone Circuit – is a traditional pub complete with a historic English thatched roof and has been serving punters since the 17th century. During summer, there’s often live music and if you’re in town the last Monday of the month, you can show off your general knowledge prowess by joining the locals for quiz night.
What about a three-course meal?
The Pheasant at Keyston does a corking three-course meal. Expect locally sourced ingredients and menus inspired by the changing seasons. Chef Martin Russell consults the county's rivers, woods and hedgerows when conjuring up new dishes. In terms of cuisine, it's simple modern British fare: black pudding on mashed potato with poached egg and gravy; baked pot of smoked haddock with spinach and egg, and of course, beer-battered fish and chips. Alternatively, The Crown Inn in Weston has rave reviews.
Where can I tee off?
Whittlebury Park Golf Course – across the road from Silverstone – has four loops of nine holes in pristine grounds and is an excellent place for a round of golf.
Fancy a dose of culture?
Lamport Hall puts on a variety of jazz and theatre events throughout summer months. Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Ernest will take place on July 15, 2023, in the walled garden and the following evening there's Jazz in the Gardens. Alternatively, on July 16, Sulgrave Manor will be putting on a performance of The Great Gatsby.
Where can I indulge my inner aristocrat?
The sprawling Althorp House estate was the childhood home of none-other-than Princess Diana, and it’s also her final resting place. The main house's panelled galleries and ancestral ante chambers are filled with some of Europe’s finest examples of antique furniture, art and curiosities – including a rare collection of walking canes dating back to 1508 – while outside in the 300-acre deer park, black fallow bucks roam free. Little known fact: the main avenue at Althorp was planted with 36 oak trees in recognition of Diana's age when she died.
Craving a cream tea?
Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa offers daily afternoon tea. Make sure you have an appetite. It starts with finger sandwiches – ham and mustard; chicken tarragon and mayonnaise; cucumber and cream cheese; prawn and crayfish – followed by homemade scones with jam and cream and a selection of cakes and patisserie. Champagne optional, naturally. For something quirkier, head to Black Goo, a converted petrol station serving coffee and cake in the town of Buckingham.
Where can I see examples of stunning Palladian architecture?
Stowe School is open to visitors throughout summer months and boasts some of the UK’s finest examples of neoclassical and Palladian architecture. As well as the main house with its grand porticos, ornate stonework and columns dating back to the 18th century, there are temples and pavilions dotted around the National Trust grounds designed by the architects James Gibbs and William Kent. It was recently revealed that Stowe School was the venue for The Beatles' first-ever concert on April 4, 1963.
Stowe School is located just south of Silverstone Circuit and Turn 15 at the historic racetrack gets its name from the school. A rapid right-hander at the end of the Hangar Straight, Stowe is one of the most challenging corners for drivers to master on a lap of the British Grand Prix.
Where's the best place for some retail therapy?
Bicester Village is home to more than 100 designer outlet boutiques selling clothes, accessories, and homeware. It's high-end and has a charming village atmosphere thanks to its open-air pedestrianised streets.
If you’re planning on loading up on shopping, you might want to bring an extra suitcase. The brand-new lime-green Globe-Trotter Aston Martin F1 collection just landed.
Where might I spot a badger?
Rockingham Forest, William the Conqueror's favourite hunting forest, is the place to go. This ancient woodland in the heart of Northamptonshire offers peaceful walking trails, scenic lakes, idyllic picnic spots and plenty of British wildlife including deer, badgers, foxes, squirrels, hedgehogs, owls and red kites.
Is a day trip to London feasible?
Yes, the buzzing capital is only 80 miles away.
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