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 glass 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 airbnb’s. These are three of of my favourite Airbnb properties:
Church Cottage: Located in Denford, just east of Kettering, this stylish cottage is ideally situated to explore all of the villages on this list. Overlooking the River Nene, this beautiful cottage retains much of its original character, and is great for exploring Northamptonshire’s beautiful countryside and many historic houses.
Country Chic Manor: Located in Rushton, just north of Kettering, this is probably the most centrally located of these three Airbnb’s. Set in the grounds of 5 star Rushton Hall hotel and Spa, the Dower House was once a coaching inn. 7 luxury bedrooms sharing beautiful bathrooms on 2 floors. Added features include a remarkable 8 chamber cellar with media room dining areas and bar with pool table, 2.5 acre gardens, outdoor dining areas including a summer house with wood fired oven – what more could you ask for? This place is ideal for a large group.
Large Historic Manor: This property is also best suited to a group or family travelling together. Built in the 1670’s and relatively unchanged, this manor house is sure to impress you with its charm. Enjoy this lovely old house set deep in the middle of the countryside. Previously owned by the Earl of Winchilsea and the RH Guy Montague, it offers tons of character and charm, large rooms and lots of them..not to mention the many large stone fireplaces (even one you can stand in), beamed ceilings and four staircases. One to impress!
If you haven’t used Airbnb before then make sure to use my code to grab yourself £34 off your first booking.
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