Northampton is a large market town located about 67 miles north-west of London, the town itself is nestled in a curve of the River Nene and offers a wide range of attractions, including the Church of The Holy Sepulchre, All Saints Church and the Guildhall.
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Architecturally speaking, Sulgrave manor in Northamptonshire is nothing particularly exciting. It is a manor house built in Tudor times by a wool merchant that was subsequently remodelled in the 17th century and had fallen into disrepair by the early twentieth. Its salvation lay in the fact that the name of the wool merchant who built it was Lawrence Washington, the great-great-great-great-great grandfather of George Washington, the first President of the USA. It is now held in trust for the peoples of the UK and USA.
I first visited Sulgrave about thirty years ago, having read Cynthia Harnett’s children's book 'Stars of Fortune', which is set there. It has changed quite a lot since then, with the construction of a new visitor centre containing a shop and cafe ('buttery'). All visits to the house are guided tours, with a very informative guide. There are four main rooms visited on the tour: the great hall (part of the original Tudor house); a parlour to the rear, and the kitchen, and upstairs, the main bedroom. You can see into two other bedrooms and there are a further two rooms containing an exhibition. The full tour took an hour and a half, as the guide had a lot of information to impart.
Outside is a beautiful formal garden, which includes the headquarters of the Herb Society and the National Herb Garden.
The manor is open April to October at weekends from noon, and in addition, from 1 May to 31 October on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2.00 p.m.
Admission is £6.25 adults, £3 children, family ticket £17.50 (no discounts for seniors).
The buttery serves tea and cakes (homemade by the local Women's Institute), but light lunches are only available at weekends.
A visit to Sulgrave Manor can easily be combined with one to Canons Ashby (the former home of the Dryden family) nearby.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
The landscape around this part of Northamptonshire is mainly rural with many lovely sleepy little villages dotted around. One such village is Stoke Bruerne about 8 miles south of Northampton.
There is a waterways museum where you can learn more about the 200 years of inland waterway use and the heritage. There is a cafe next door and also a couple of pubs. Narrow boats can be hired either for the day or for longer.
From here you can explore the Grand Union canal.
Kirby Hall is one of the finest surviving examples of Elizabethan architecture in the English Midlands. While no longer in use, it remains in relatively good condition.
Built for Sir Humphrey Stafford, it was completed in 1570. The owners eventually had to leave it, due to financial difficulties. By the mid-19th century, it has fallen into disrepair. But it's now an English heritage property. While the fixtures and artwork are missing, it's still an imposing sight. With a bit of imagination, one can picture how it once appeared. The movie version of Jane Austen's ’Mansfield Park’ was shot here.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
My partner & I stayed at this hotel as we were attending an evening wedding reception. The room was...more
London Road, Wellingborough, NN8 2DP, United Kingdom
Good for: Families
Kettering Parkway, Kettering, NN15 6XT, United Kingdom
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