Northampton's Market Square hosts one of the oldest and largest on record England. The market dates from 1235 when King Henry III forbade the selling of goods in the churchyard of All Saints and ordered that the Market be moved to a space north of the churchyard where it has remained since.
Monday: Fresh fruit, vegetables, cut flowers and plants only.
Tuesday to Saturday: General market days
What to buy: Fresh Fruit and Vegetables, Cut Flowers, House and Garden Plants, Fresh Fish, Meat, Eggs, Bread, Coffee, Cheese, Jams and Pickles, Ladies, Men’s & Children’s Fashion Clothes, Underwear, Socks and Shoes, Vintage, Ethnic, Gothic/Punk Clothes, Bags, Purses, Wallets and Belts, Makeup, Perfumes, Aftershaves and Specialized Skin and Hair Care, Key Cutting and Watch Repairs, Jewellery, Tiaras and Watches, Music, Films and Books, Computer Accessories and Games, Pet Food and Equipment, Toys and Children’s Carousel, China, Pottery and Ornaments, Greetings Cards, Celebration Banners and Bags, Towels & Bedding
Mobile Phones and Accessories, Haberdashery, Knitting Wool and Wedding Accessories
Crystals, Angels, Incense, Aromatherapy Oils and Artists Materials, Material - Curtains, Dressmaking and Household, Net Curtains and Blinds, Mobility Equipment plus lots more...
What to pay: Various
Between Northampton's broad pedestrianised High Street and its Grovesnor Centre there are all the necessary shops, banks and other services which you would expect from a County Town. Most of the major chains are represented and here and there you'll find some interesting little local specialists.
The High Street is a cacophony of major and minor shops and is architecturally randomly diverse - you'll find a Georgian building with a plasticky shopfront next door to piece of Art Deco and the pair bordered by Victoriania. There's a couple of modern artworks thrown around to add to the confusion and a couple of trees to further do so. But all-in-all it is a pleasant shopping street.
The Grovesnor mall was, when it was built in the 1970's, an absolute state-of-the-art, all-singing, all-dancing, shopping centre with its central fountain giving it an air of the continentals (noting that the market square's central fountain had been removed a few years previous). Here you'll find the shops that should be on the High Street but aren't because instead of developing the High Street and its offshoots they built the mall.
As the Shire's main town Northampton has long been the commercial centre of the County and its market square dates back to 1235 when Henry the Third reckoned that it wasn't such a great idea having the market held in the churchyard of All Saints. How the King got involved in local affairs I don't know but the end result was that the market moved onto its present location.
This was, in those days, a general market which included livestock - you could buy a sheep, have it butchered and then take it home in ready-to-eat portions and pick up the relevant veggies to go with it too. In 1873 the livestock market was relocated to Victoria Promenade and the market square became a general traders market.
The present day market is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 4pm with Mondays being a smaller fruit and veg affair.
What to buy: This is everything you could want from a County Town market with a diverse range of goods on offer from the 166, or so, stalls and the traders vociferously competing for your custom - just like a proper market should be.
The range of stalls include the expected fresh produce and meats, clothing and haberdashery, bookstalls, garden supplies and plants, tools and electrical, and many more including up-to-date things such as mobile phone accessories and computer consumables.
What to pay: Being a proper market prices tend to be at the cheaper end of the scale and towards the close of the trading day there are great bargains to be had from the fresh produce stalls as the traders would rather sell out than have to throw out!