Northampton City of Culture
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Written by regionadmin

28th September 2020

Northampton’s Leisure

Northampton is a town in England’s East Midlands region, known for its past in the shoemaking industry. A large number of old shoe factories remain, although have now been converted to offices or accommodation. Northampton is a perfect combination of city life and the calming countryside, making it a popular choice for residents.

The town was named as the third-best location to start a business, because of start-up figures and being inexpensive for housing. According to Northampton Borough Council, there are 170 parks around Northampton, which totals around 1,880 acres. The most commonly known parks include Abington Park, which is Northampton’s oldest, and the Racecourse, which was used for horseracing until 1904, and as a cricket ground between 1844 and 1885.

The town of Northampton often holds a plethora of popular annual events, consisting of Northampton Carnival, the Beer Festival, the Dragonboat Race, the Umbrella Fair and St Crispins Fair. Moreover, Northampton’s Balloon Festival was once a well-loved event, but its attendance over the years has unfortunately decreased.

Since 2007, Northampton’s music festival has been held in the town centre and an additional music festival, Alive at Delapré, opened in the summer of 2013 and has attracted artists such as Alfie Boe, Boyzone, Jessie J, McBusted and The Wanted.

Northampton’s Entertainment

Interestingly, Northampton has an array of various bars, restaurants, and cafés along Wellingborough Road, on the way into Northampton’s town centre; The Auctioneers, Balloon Bar, Baroque, Elysium, King Billy, The Market Tavern, Retro Bar, Revolution, and The Wolf are all popular options that you can visit.

In addition, there are many snooker clubs including Rileys Pool, Snooker and Poker Club, as well as ten-pin bowling alleys and late night casinos like Aspers Casino and Gala Casino.

The Royal & Derngate theatre on Guildhall Road is one of the main venues for entertainment in Northampton. The Deco, situated in Abington Square, is a 900-seat theatre which was once a cinema in the 1960s; The Beatles appeared there twice on stage in 1963.

The two commercial cinemas in Northampton are Vue at Sol Central and Cineworld and the Northampton Filmhouse is an independent cinema joined to the side of the Royal & Derngate theatre complex, which opened in June 2013.

The Roadmender, which used to be run and funded by the council, hosts mainstream touring bands and one off-gigs. Other venues like the Legendary Labour Club, Mollys, O’Malley’s, The Old White Hart, The Penny Whistle and the Picturedrome are also very popular.

Northampton’s Museums and Libraries

The Northamptonshire Central Library, located in the town centre, is a Grade II listed building which was built in 1910. However, there are seven other public libraries that span across Northampton and are all run by the county’s council.

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery has one of the world’s largest collection of historical footwear, Italian art, glass, and ceramics. Plus, there are exhibitions that you can visit. Aside from this, there is a Grade I listed historical museum in the former Abington Park house which has history on Northampton’s domestic life.

Northampton’s Sport

Amazingly, Northampton is home to Premiership rugby union team Northampton Saints, who play at Franklin’s Gardens. The team had their most valuable moment when they won the Heineken Cup in 2000 at Twickenham. Furthermore, Northampton is home to Northampton Outlaws, the first inclusive rugby team within the United Kingdom.

Northamptonshire County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major clubs which make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket structure. Additionally, Collingtree Park Golf Club sits in Northampton and the British Masters was held here in 1995.

Northampton’s Education

The first University of Northampton was created by King Henry III in 1261 and began to compete against the universities in Cambridge and Oxford, with students moving to Northampton.

There are 50 primary schools and 8 secondary schools in the town, and up until 2004, Northamptonshire operated a three-tier system in education of lower, middle, and higher schools. In 2001, the move to primary and secondary schools began, which was supposed to improve the standards of education.

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