Things to see and do
Places to visit
This remarkable castle, built on the instruction of William the Conqueror, has been my family’s home for 450 years. Prior to the Watson’s ownership the Castle was held by the crown. There are very few other homes that have been continuously occupied for nearly 1000 years and within that time been owned by just one family since being relinquished as a royal Castle. I think this is a particularly extraordinary aspect of Rockingham’s long and fascinating story. The Castle is now home to my wife, Elizabeth and our children, all of whom enjoy the Castle as I did as a child.
I very much hope that you enjoy looking at our website and that you will visit the Castle soon.
Built for the Hanbury family in the 1730s by virtuoso architect, James Gibbs and builder, Francis Smith of Warwick, Kelmarsh Hall was praised by historian Nikolaus Pevsner as, “a perfect, extremely reticent design, done in an impeccable taste.”
One other arbiter of fashion to leave her mark on the Hall was society decorator Nancy Lancaster. Drawn by the house’s fine bone structure, her taste for combining comfort with formality set the trend for the Twentieth Century’s Country House look. Her spirit still pervades the house today in the delicate terracotta colouring of the Great Hall, the exuberant Chinese wallpaper and seasonal flower arrangements.
Nestled in the Northamptonshire countryside, and yet only a short drive from the motorway network, Lamport has a story worth telling. Developed from a Tudor manor house, architecturally the hall has been worked on by John Webb, Smith of Warwick and William Burn but is best known for its classical frontage.
The Hall’s fine rooms, including the High Room of 1655 and 18th century library, are filled with a wealth of outstanding furniture, books, china and paintings collected by the Isham family. Most were bought during the third Baronet’s Grand Tour of Europe, in the 1670s. The first floor has undergone lengthy restoration, allowing further paintings and furniture to be displayed.
Boughton House as it stands today is largely the work of Ralph Montagu, later 1st Duke of Montagu, who inherited what was then a simpler Tudor building, in 1683.
Montagu had been an English ambassador to France, and he was keen to bring French beauty and style to an English landscape. He expanded his home using contemporary French architectural influences and the resulting masterpiece is often referred to as ‘The English Versailles’.
The end of Second World War had left Britain with no major race track but an abundance of airfields. One of these surplus airfields was located outside the village of Silverstone and being roughly in the middle of England was seen as an ideal location, to bring back international motor racing to Britain.
After almost ten years of planning and 23 months of construction work, Rockingham Motor Speedway came to life at noon on Monday 15th January 2001.
The international motorsport venue is the first purpose built race track in the UK since Brooklands in 1907
Rockingham Speedway has transformed the industrial wasteland left by the British Steel works into an asset that the people of Corby and Northamptonshire are justly proud of.
Northampton Rugby Football Club, more commonly known as The Saints, is one of the oldest rugby clubs in the country.
Among the clubs currently vying for the title of the best in England in the Premiership, the Saints is unique both for how it was founded and how it has remained close to its roots in a literal and metaphorical way for 130 years.
The club’s origins can be traced to a boys’ improvement class run out of the St James Church by its curate, Revd Samuel Wathan Wigg. The class was started as a way to let the area’s high-spirited boys let off steam in a constructive way. Long before his death Revd Wigg, who fathered nine children, was to see the side develop quickly into one of the main clubs in England.
Northamptonshire County Cricket Club was founded in 1878 and became a First Class County in 1905.
In our 136 year history we have been fortunate enough to have seen many of the all-time greats of the game play cricket for Northamptonshire at the County Ground, and we continue to strive to bring a dynamic, professional and entertaining brand of cricket to those of all ages!
The great outdoors
Nestling in the rolling Northamptonshire countryside, Pitsford Water is an ideal venue for walking, cycling, fishing, sailing and birdwatching.
In partnership with nearby Brixworth Country Park, Pitsford Water offers circular, well-marked hard surfaced trails through woodlands, meadows and grassland with far reaching views over the water.
The seven mile waterside track is suitable for people of all abilities and is a popular destination for a leisurely stroll, picnic or family day out.
This internationally famous nature reserve is managed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust in partnership with Anglian Water and provides one of the most important wildfowl sanctuaries in Great Britain, regularly holding in excess of 25,000 waterfowl.
It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, designated as a European Special Protection Area and internationally recognised as a globally important wetland RAMSAR site.
The reserve occupies shore line and shallow water lagoons along 9 miles of the western end of Rutland Water and covers a total area of 1000 acres. It was created in the 1970s with the construction of the reservoir. There are over 30 bird watching hides and nature trails from two visitor centres with experts to help you with identification.
A visit to West Lodge gives you the opportunity to explore the whole farm, the livestock (animals) the woods, the fields, the streams and the machinery. Visitors can also handle the rabbits and guinea pigs in cuddle corner, take a pony ride, watch the very popular piglet race or play in the adventure playground.
We have a spectacular 400 acre site, located right in the center of England, offering the best outdoor activities in the country.
Our Brand new air conditioned log cabin offers you comfort and refreshments and with over 10 activities, all tailored to suit your group, you are certain to have a great day out.
We are open all year round (mud is fun!) but advanced booking is essential.
Visitors to Foxton Locks can enjoy a memorable time to our historic locks. There is plenty to see and do at Foxton Locks for a great family day out.
Watch boats transverse the locks, have a picnic by the locks or lunch in the pubs. Visit the museum to find out more about the history of the English canals, Foxton Locks and Inclined Plane. Look out for swans, ducks and even a glimpse of our resident kingfisher.