Moving to Northampton
Northampton is one of the largest towns in the United Kingdom.
Moving to Northampton from within Europe is usually by road and from further afield usually by sea, with more urgent items coming by air freight. Further details of the various shipping options can be viewed in our shipping guidance.
Northampton can trace its roots back to prehistoric times. It was a Danish fortified settlement in the ninth century, but after the Norman conquest the town rose to national prominence. Northampton Castle was built by the first Earl of Northampton in the late eleventh century and the town was an important market and trading centre during the middle ages. Much of it was destroyed in the Great Fire of Northampton of 1675 and eventually rebuilt around the large market square.
By the end of the eighteenth century the town had become synonymous with the manufacture of footwear, with around a third of all men employed as shoemakers. In the nineteenth century mechanisation saw further expansion, although only a handful of specialist shoemaking companies survive today. Many old shoe factories have been converted into offices or accommodation. The main employers now are in finance and distribution rather than manufacturing. The 418 ft tall Express Lift Tower is a dominant feature and visible from most of the town. Built for testing lifts but now redundant, it is a listed building, sometimes known as the Northampton Lighthouse, an ironic reference to the fact that the town is one of the furthest places from the sea.
Oddly, Northampton has a country house, Delapre Abbey, right in the centre of town, which is now open to the public for the first time in its 900-year history. The town also boasts the only house in England designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It has notable Mackintosh interiors and includes an art gallery and a museum.
Not surprisingly Northampton Museum and Art Gallery has one of the world’s largest collections of historical footwear. It is situated in the Cultural Quarter, along with a theatre complex, an arthouse cinema, an art exhibition space and the Sessions House, which was Northampton’s courthouse from the seventeenth to the twentieth century.
Just outside Northampton is Billing Aquadrome, which has seven lakes within a 235-acre park and the River Nene flowing through it. It hosts the Northampton Balloon Festival as well as numerous motorsport shows. Silverstone Circuit, the home of the British Grand Prix, and Santa Pod Raceway are within easy reach of Northampton.
Amenities and Entertainment
There is a lot to love about shopping in Northampton, from the colourful stalls in its Georgian market square to the compelling combination of shops and cafes in the lovely St Giles Quarter. St Giles Street was named the country’s Great British High Street in 2015. Leading off the market are the town’s two indoor shopping malls, the Grosvenor Centre and Market Walk, which links the market to Abington Street, Northampton’s main shopping street. Equally diverse are the pubs, clubs and restaurants in the town offering food, drink and entertainment to suit all tastes and pockets.
The Royal & Derngate theatre complex consists of the conjoined Royal Theatre and Derngate Theatre and is now the main venue for arts and entertainment in Northamptonshire. Popular annual events in the town include the Delapre Beer Festival, the Dragonboat Race and Northampton Music Festival.
Successful Premiership rugby union team Northampton Saints play at Franklin’s Gardens, while Football League club Northampton Town are based at Sixfields Stadium. Northampton County Cricket Club play first-class cricket at the County Ground.
Northampton has excellent transport links to the rest of the country.
- Northampton railway station has services northbound to Birmingham New Street and southbound to London Euston. The journey time to London is just over an hour.
- Sywell Aerodrome to the north caters for private, training and corporate flying only. The nearest international airports are East Midlands Airport and London Luton Airport, which are both quickly accessible via the M1 motorway. Birmingham International Airport is easily reachable via the M1 and M6, and by train.
- The nearby M1 motorway connects with London to the south and Leeds to the north. The A14 trunk road passes just to the north of Northampton, linking the town to the east coast and the west midlands.