judy & Graham Get HitchedFun Stuff to Do
in Northamptonshire

in the Oundle area

(& Beyond)

More about the town of Oundle & A Note about Bank Holiday Monday

Country Houses:
Burghley House - Stamford
The largest and grandest stately house of the First Elizabethan Age, built 1565, landscaped by Capability Brown in the late 1700s, along with his Gothic Revival Orangery. One of finest private collections of 17th Century Italian paintings in the world. Note that famous Burghley Pedigree Chum Horse Trials will go on September 2-5, and thus house will be closed Sept 4. Open daily11am-4:30pm. 01780752451
*Rockingham Castle - 2 miles n of Corby
Built by William the Conqueror in 1068, then converted in 1540 from a medieval castle into a Tudor residence. They do re-enactments of the Civil War. Frequent visitor Charles Dickens used the Castle as the model for Chesney Wold in Bleak House; he reported that he saw the resident Ghost: Lady Deadlock. Open Sunday, Tues, Thurs, Bank Holiday Monday in August, 1-5pm. Vikings days, August 29-30, 10:30-3:30pm. 01536770240
Deene Park - 8 miles from Oundle
Built in 1571 incorporating a prior medieval manor, now extensively restored. This is supposed to be wonderful. One of its owners led the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade. Open 2-5pm Sundays and Bank Holiday Monday. 01780450223
Boughton House - Kettering
Known as "the English Versailles", this former Tudor monastic building originating from 1528 has a north facade built in 1695 that makes it the most French-looking building in England. 350 acre grand country home and estate with outstanding collection of furniture and art. Still a family-owned home (Duke of Buccleuch & Queensberry. Open afternoons August 1-September 1, 2-5 for house. 01536515731
*Lamport Hall and Gardens - 8 miles n of Northampton
Big country estate dating from 1560, in several styles, plus a Farm Museum. Antiques Fair August 30-31 10-5pm. Open Sundays and Bank Holiday 2:15-5:15pm. 01604686272
Southwick Hall - near Oundle
Dating from the early 1300s with additions in following centuries; it's still a family home. Eleven rooms are open to the public. Open Wednesday afternoons & Bank Holiday Monday 205pm. 01832274064
Prebendal Manor House - Nassington
Small 13th Century Manor, one of oldest in area, originally held by the church offered to members of the clergy who held high office of state. Barn Museum, recreated medieval garden. sometimes has Middle Ages re-enactments. Open Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday, Bank Holiday Monday 2-5:30 pm. 01780782575
Cottesbrooke Hall and Gardens- 3 miles nw of Brixworth
Beautiful Queen Anne-style house dating from 1702. Jane Austen used Cottesbrooke as the setting for Mansfield Park. Famous formal and wild gardens. Open Thursday afternoons & Bank Holiday 2-5:30 pm. 01604505808
Elton Hall - Elton, near Peterborough
House dates from 1666 and reflects a great mixture of medieval, gothic and classical styles. Open Wed, Thurs, Sundays and Bank Holiday Monday in August 2-5pm. Antiques Fair August 21-22. 01832280468
Canons Ashby House - near Daventry, 14 m sw of Northampton
Elizabethan manor house surviving almost unaltered from 1710, now held by the National Trust. Name is taken from the still-extant 12th Century St. Mary's church, all that remains of an Augustine priory. Wine cellars. Open daily except Thursdays & Fridays. 01327860044
Kirby Hall - 4 miles ne of Corby
Outstanding stone Elizabethan mansion built in strict symmetry, with fine gardens inhabited by peacocks. Kirby Hall was the set for the filming of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Open 10am-6pm daily April 1- September 30. 01536203230
A BIT FURTHER AFIELD (within about 30-45 miles) ARE:
Althorp - 6 miles nw of Northampton
Diana's ancestral Home and burial place. Built 1508. Website has virtual reality panoramas. Also houses one of finest private art collections in England. Open summer thru August 30; advance tickets only. 01604592020 (24 hours). Mincom booking service 01159129247.
*Holdenby House & Falconry Centre- 6 miles nw of Northampton
Located next to Althorp. Once the largest private Elizabethean house, but was rebuilt 8 times smaller in Tudor style in1873. Miniature Elizabethan garden was designed by Rosemary Verey. Miniature train rides, rare farm animals, birds of prey, "cuddle farm" for kids. House, with collection of rare pianos, is only open Bank Holiday Mondays or by appointment. Medieval Weekend, August 29-30, with house also open on August 30. 01604770074
Grimsthorpe Castle Park & Gardens - Bourne, Lincolnshire
3,000 acre estate with historic castle, red deer herd, flower and topiary gardens. Open daily in August except Friday & Saturday, and Sundays and Thursdays in September, 1-6pm. 01778591205
Belvoir Castle - Grantham, Lincolnshire
Often used as a film and television site, Belvoir Castle (pronounced for some bizarre reason as "Beavor") is the home of the Duke & Duchess of Rutland and overlooks the Vale of Belvoir. Medieval jousting Tournament August 29-30. Open Tues-Thurs, Saturday-Sunday & Bank Holidays 12 noon - 6 pm (7pm Sunday). 0476870262
Stanford Hall & Motorcycle Museum - Lutterworth, Leicestershire
William & Mary-Style House built 1690, with walled garden. Family costumes. Motorcycle Museum houses a replica of percy Pilcher's 1898 Flying Machine. Open 2:30-5:30pm Weekends and Bank Holiday Mondays and Tuesdays that follow. 01788860250
Country Houses with Only the Gardens Open:
Castle Ashby - 8 miles east of Northampton.
Rebuilt from Norman ruins in 1574, with landscaping by Capability Brown in the 1760s. (just gardens open, house by tour groups).
Coton Manor Garden - Coton, near Guilsborough
Ten acre garden originally laid out in 1925 around a 17th Century manor house. Also has a nursery with plants for sale. Open Wednesday-Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 12 noon - 5:30 pm. 01604740219
Nature Reserve
Clapthorn Cow Pastures Wildlife Trust - near Oundle
Especially For Kids:
National Dragonfly Museum, Oundle
The name says it all! Open weekends & Bank Holidays; "Country Jobs of Old" will be demonstrated August 30, 10:30-5pm.
Nene Valley Railway - Wansford Station, Peterborough
Preserved steam railway with 7.5 miles of track, including a ridable Thomas the Tank Engine. 01780784444. Talking Timetable/Fax 01780784440
For other kid-worthy attractions, see also those items on this page marked with asterisk *, including the Pitch & Putt at Orton Meadows.
*Tunnel Boats on the River Nene
Blissworth Tunnel Boats, Mill Wharf, Northampton
Stoke Bruerne Boat Co, Stoke Bruerne, Towester
Indian Chief Cruises, Stoke Bruerne, Towester
Rutland Water Ride - Rutland
The 23 miles around the water reservoir is considered the best cycling day out in Britain. There are two centers for parking/starting, both with rentals. Whitwell Centre is at 01780460705; Normanton Center is at 01780720888. Both open from 9:15am to about 6pm
Peterborough Cathedral - Peterborough
Benedictine Abbey built in 1118 on site of Christian worship since 655 AD, decreed a Cathredral by Henry VIII; his first wife, Katharine of Aragon, is buried here, as was Mary Queen of Scots for awhile after her execution at Fotheringhay. Open daily 8:30 am-5:15 pm. 01733343342
Fotheringhay Church - Fotheringhay
Church is beautifully lit at night, and absolutely worth a drive by.
Golf Courses
Orton Meadows Golf Course - Peterborough
Opened May 1982, very picturesque 18 holes, 5664 yards par 67 White tees, 5269 yards par 67 Yellow tees, 4848 yards par 69 Ladies tees. Also a 12 hole *Pitch and Putt. 01733237478
Thorpe Wood Golf Course - Peterborough
Opened in 1975. Fore Magazine says "Probably the best all weather inland golf course in the country." 18 holes, 7086 yards par 73 white tees, 6595 yards par 71 yellow tees, 5961 par 75 Ladies tees. 01733267701
Lyveden New Bield - 4 miles sw of Oundle via A427
Never-completed, compelling, roofless religious ruin begun by Sir Thomas Thresham in 1595, a Catholic convert who was imprisoned for his religious beliefs. Structure is shaped as a 3-story high equal-armed cross. Held by the National Trust. Open daylight. Access by foot 1/2 mile from roadside. 01832205358. Thresham also built the Rushton Triangular Lodge (Rushton, 01536710761, open daily 10am-6pm), a delightful Elizabethan folly symbolizing the Holy Trinity.
*Flag Fen Bronze Age Excavations- Fengate, Peterborough
Dating from 1000 BC, this is an ongoing archaeological dig of prehistoric Peterborough, where a huge timber platform bigger than Wembley Stadium (the biggest sports stadium in England) was built and used for religious purposes for nearly 500 yeards. Also has a visitors center, museum, shop, rare breed animals, herb gardens.
Note also that Cambridge is about 45 miles from Oundle. If you have time, it is a beautiful city, site of Cambridge University. Make sure to visit Kettle's Yard, an eclectic art museum housed in the former home of the academic who once lived there. You can also go punting on the River Cam; Cambridge is very much a river city, the "Venice of England."
Fairs, Festivals, Antique Markets
Craft & Market Festival, August 30 Bank Holiday Monday, Northampton
Antiques Festival, August 30-31 Lamport Hall 10-5pm.
Antiques Festival, August 30-31 Elton Hall.
Burghley Pedigree Chum Horse Trials, September 2-5, Burghley Hall
CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Beer Festival, August 24-30, Peterborough. For info 01733 452336
Vikings at Rockingham Castle, August 29-30, 12:30-4:30pm.
Country Jobs of Olde, August 30, at National Dragonfly Museum, 10:30-5pm.
Medieval Weekend, August 29-30, Holdenby House

*Denotes especially good for children 

Fun Stuff Beyond Northamptonshire

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