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Northampton literally sits in the centre of England and unsurprisingly plays a significant role in the country’s history, especially during Saxon England. Shoes are perhaps the best-known export of this town in the East Midlands. Northampton had a booming footwear and leather industry in the 18th century. Today, its main attractions are its notable buildings, such as the Northampton Guildhall and its shopping and market areas. The picturesque landscapes of the English countryside are within an easy drive of Northampton.
Who to Book With
Car hire firms with a presence in the city include many local outfits as well as international brands such as Europcar, Avis, Enterprise, Budget, Alamo, Hertz and Thrifty. Many of the offices of these outfits are easy to reach being in the centre of Northampton. Vehicle renters are encouraged to compare prices online before arrival in Northampton.
Best Time to Go
The climate of Northampton is maritime, which means summers are cool and winters mild. It does rain here, but the yearly average is not that high when compared to many other English cities. Summer is a good time to visit, when temperatures tend to be pleasant enough for nice strolls around town.
Need to Know Essentials
Car renters must have the following:
- A booking print-out
- The credit card used in booking
- A UK or International driving permit
- Proof of identity with a photo
Several major roads go through Northampton or close to it. From London, the town is an easy drive away along the M1 motorway, which passes through the southern part of Northamptonshire. Drivers need to exit at junction 15, continuing on the A45 to reach Northampton. It’s easy enough to get around the town centre by car, but streets tend to get congested in some areas on Saturdays when the football and rugby games take place.
The best, and certainly the most popular, way to get around Northampton is by car, especially on Sundays when public transport services become limited. Frequent trains and buses from London and Birmingham arrive here, and taxis are available with metered and set fares for those who don’t have a vehicle.
London Midland operates a number of services from London, as well as from Birmingham New Street and Crewe. Trains stop at the Northampton Railway Station west of the city centre along Gold Street. Trains depart London Euston Station twice hourly and Birmingham New Street hourly.
Taxi companies abound in the city. Most offices are located within the busier areas of town. Bounds Taxis is found close to the bus station, with minimum fares starting at around £1.60. Another company is A1 Taxis, offering fixed fares for trips to cities outside Northampton. The journey to London costs around £90, while a trip to Birmingham will cost around £55.
Buses from around England stop at the Greyfriars Bus Station found along Lady’s Lane near the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. National Express Group runs buses from London, departing five times daily, and from Birmingham twice daily. Locally, Stagecoach Northampton and First Northampton provide buses around town. Services are reliable from Monday to Saturday only.
Northampton is certainly not bereft of interesting sites and attractions. There are several interesting buildings around town, with two of the city’s most famous structures being the Northampton Guildhall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Shopaholics will also be glad to know that the city has a lively shopping centre as well as the oldest market in England. Both are found Abington Street. There are also a number of great destinations just outside the town, easily reachable with car hire.
Althorp - This is a country estate found around five miles northeast of Northampton and easily reached via the A428. The famous Spencer family has called this estate their home since 1688 when Robert Spencer, Second Earl of Sunderland, acquired the property. The estate is the resting place of Diana Princess of Wales, who was buried here next to a small pond.
Stoke Bruerne - A small village found halfway between Northampton and Milton Keynes, close to the Stratford-Northampton Road. Much of this very pretty area is devoted to tourism. There are walkways, canals, tunnels and excellent pubs to tour.
Eastfield Park - Located close to Northampton’s city centre, to the northeast along Booth Lane. The open areas and the tree-lined paths of the park make for a relaxing daytrip and perhaps a great picnic spot too.