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Canal Boating Article: Northampton

Visit Northampton from the following marina(s)

Gayton Marina

Market Harborough Marina


Northampton sits on the banks of the River Nene and dates back to Saxon times when it was just a small village named Hamm tun, which means the village by the well watered meadow. For many centuries the towns main industry was the manufacture of shoes. Records show that the town made 4000 shoes and 600 boots for the army in 1642, and further huge numbers for Oliver Cromwell's army in 1648. Prior to this the main industry was wool which was woven and dyed in the town. During the 18th Century the Grand Union Canal was built connecting Northampton to the Midlands and it was this that brought new wealth to the town. 

The Guildhall is the town's most prestigious building and it is a fine example of Victorian Gothic architecture. It was built in 1864 by the famous architect Edward Godwin and it is possible to visit the Great Hall, Council Chambers, the Mayor's Parlour and the old prison cell.

Abington House was once the home of Shakespeare's granddaughter and now houses the Abington Park Museum. It is here that you can learn about the history of the Northamptonshire Regiment & Yeomanry. Abington Park Museum also shows us how life was for Northampton people around one hundred years ago and about how they used to live. Abington Park is Northampton's oldest and most popular park's and as well as the museum it contains sports facilities, a cafe, flower displays, lakes, and a garden for the blind. 

The Norman church of the Holy Sepulchre is one only four remaining round churches in England and was founded in 1100 AD by Simon de Senlis, first Earl of Northampton. The church is Northampton's oldest standing building. 

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is the home to one of the world’s largest collections of footwear. Discover shoe fashions and the history of shoe making when the town was the shoe making capital of England. 

The Cathedral Church of St Mary and St Thomas is a Roam Catholic Cathedral and was once part of St Andrew's Priory, from where Thomas Becket had escaped into exile. The Chapel, dedicated to St Andrew, was opened on 25th October 1825, the feast of St Crispin who is the patron of shoemakers and has a stained glassed window dedicated to him.

The Market Square,which was first used by the Romans, is one of the largest fully enclosed markets in the country. It is flanked on all sides by a wealth of historic buildings that, although today house modern day shops still retain their old world charm. 

Members of the royal family have visited the Northampton on many occasions, from the time of Henry I right up to the the late Princess of Wales, whose family home was at nearby Athorp.


Northampton has a wide range of range of high street shops and department stores including The Grosvenor Centre which consists of many smaller individual speciality shops. When you are all shopped out Northampton has something to suit all tastes and pockets. You can find cuisines from around the world from Chinese to Greek and Spanish to Indian. If you are looking for something a little bit special make a reservation at one of the towns award winning restaurants.


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