The picturesque county of Northamptonshire lies in the centre of England, in the East Midlands region. It offers some seriously stunning countryside, historic manor houses galore, a wealth of churches, world class gardens (Castle Ashby being one of my favourites!) and some of the prettiest villages the UK has to offer. This is the county where Princess Diana grew up, and you can even visit her childhood home at Althorp House which is still the home of the Spencer family and wander the same gardens she would have run around in when she was young. Whether you want Elizabethan mansions, country estates or sleepy canal walks, Northamptonshire has it all! It is like the Cotswolds but without the tourists, a real pleasure to explore. If you are planning a trip to the county then these are the best Northamptonshire villages to add to your itinerary.
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With a population of just 136, Warkton is an idyllic sleepy village nestled in the countryside. Built up around the village church, this tiny village is brimming with thatched cottages – something I’m sure by now you will know that I absolutely adore! Park up on the lane next to the church and amble around this picture postcard village, stopping to admire the cottages and you will be sure to enjoy a peaceful afternoon.
This quaint village has an even smaller population than Warkton with just 130 residents. Needless to say, it is very small and peaceful. Just how I like a place to be! It looks as though this is how it always has been with the record number of residents only ever increasing to a total of 300. The village is owned by the Wadenhoe Trust who are responsible for maintaining the 30 properties they own in the village which include the village pub. Wadenhoe itself dates back over 1000 years and is even mentioned in the Domesday Book. The village was built next to River Nene with the church built upon a small hill overlooking the village with its pretty thatched cottage lined lanes. With 36 of the properties in Wadenhoe being listed, it looks as though this shall remain a beautiful and quiet place to escape to for years to come and will remain one of the most beautiful Northamptonshire villages.
When it comes to villages in Northamptonshire, you can guarantee that they all have a long history. The village of Orlingbury was first recorded in Domesday Book when it was assessed for 2½ hides, with a recorded population of 17 and a priest. A hide, in early English history, was an old land measurement unit that represented the amount of land sufficient to support a free peasant household. It was traditionally taken to be around 120 acres or roughly 30 acres in todays measurement. Today, the village is still small, built up around a village green and another peaceful place for a wander.
This wee place is as pretty as they come. Consisting of one main road of beautiful thatched cottages built along a babbling brook which runs alongside. This is a wonderful place to come with a picnic! Lay a blanket down on the verge next to the brook and you can sit and enjoy the sound of the water and the ducks swimming along as you tuck into some nibbles. Grafton Underwood is the name given to the village where Bridget Jones’ parents lived in the film Bridget Jones’s Diary, although unfortunately the movie scenes were not filmed here and were instead shot in the Cotswolds village of Snowshill.
Read More: My Favourite Cotswolds Villages.
I have already written about Rockingham before in my guide to Rutland as it is situated just on the border, however it actually falls into the county of Northamptonshire. According to the Domesday Book, Rockingham was little more than a wasteland when William the Conqueror ordered a castle be built there. This castle still stands a top the hill, watching over the village below. A village lived in by just 115 people. The village consists of one main street, lined with thatched cottages from top to bottom. The most picture perfect cottages, laden with roses. This village has a wealth of history! The Market Cross was erected when Queen Elizabeth I reissued Rockingham’s market charter in 1600 and the village church dates back to 1095. Make sure to head to the village pub, The Sondes Arms, to drink a pint where Charles Dickens was known to frequent, as was legendary actor Clark Gable.
Read More: How To Spend 24 Hours In Rutland
This thriving Northamptonshire village lies just three miles north of the city of Northampton and is much larger in size than the other villages mentioned above, with a population of 1460 – although, it certainly doesn’t feel like there are that many residents. Indeed, it feels just as quaint as the rest of the places in this list. The name Boughton comes from Bucca or ‘he-goat’ farm. The earliest reference to the manor of Boughton was in the early 11th century although there is known to have been a settlement here long before that. You can still visit the manor today, in fact they will be reopening their garden from August 1st so I shall definitely be returning for that! Boughton itself is most famous for its fair which was supposedly the biggest in county and was held here from 1351 up until 1916! Whatever the history, this charming place is certainly one of the most beautiful Northamptonshire villages.
Best Places To Stay In Northamptonshire
There are plenty of fabulous places to stay to explore this county, be it hotels or B and B’s. If you’re looking for somewhere with charm and character then these three properties are well worth a look.
The Talbot Hotel: Located in the town of Oundle which is brimming with beautiful Georgian architecture and a 14th century church, the Talbot Hotel boasts a wealth of history. With its oak beams and open fireplaces, parts of the hotel come from nearby Fotheringhay Castle, including the staircase which Mary Queen of Scots walked down before her execution. No wonder this hotel is said to be haunted by her ghost.
Rose Cottage: If you want to stay in a property that is truly the epitome of English country charm, then a thatched cottage is a must. The absolutely gorgeous Rose Cottage, set in the picture-perfect village of Empingham will make for the backdrop to some truly fantastic memories. Although in the county of Rutland, not Northamptonshire, it is only just across the border and a short half hour drive to most of the villages in the list above – with the added bonus of being so close to some of the most beautiful villages in Rutland like Exton and Hambleton. The cottage offers all the character you would expect, including exposed beams and an impressive fireplace. Plus – a hot tub!
Flore House: If you’re looking for luxury, boutique accommodation then Flore House is for you. This wonderful guest house is set in 19 acres of parkland, nestled in one of the most idyllic parts in the country. Dating to 1608, this Elizabethan property offers beautifully styled rooms inside and meticulously manicured gardens, parkland, meadows and a lake outside. A great opportunity to enjoy country living.
Note – this property is adults only.
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