Having just opened another shop in Northampton within the Northampton and District Indoor Bowling Association club to go with our bowls shop in Nottingham, we have been very pleasantly surprised as we have got to know about and see more of Northampton and its picturesque surroundings.

Boasting an ancient and distinguished history and a wealth of fascinating stories, Northampton has roots reaching back prior to the Iron Age! Just by wandering around the town you can find sites of ancient settlements and remnants of Roman roads. In Saxon times, Northampton was known as ‘Hamm Tun’, which actually describes it as a village by a watery meadow. In the 8th Century, King Edward claimed the town from the Danes, while the Domesday Book refers to Northampton as a town with 300 dwellings as far back as 1086. The oldest remaining buildings in Northampton are also some of the oldest in England – Delapre Abbey, St Johns Chapel Hospital and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – all of which are well worth a visit.

For many, many years Northampton was best known as a town that made shoes. Indeed in 1642, records show that the town made 4000 pairs of shoes and 600 pairs of boots for the army, a feat – or should that read feet?! – repeated several years later for one Oliver Cromwell. Many of you may know that this reputation has stuck with the town’s football team who are nicknamed the Cobblers.

Much life in Northampton revolves around its beautiful Market Square and it has been ever thus. Northampton’s Market Square is thought to be the largest fully enclosed open air market in England. It is surrounded on every side by a plethora of beautiful, historic edifices that retain many original features and evoke great history despite also fulfilling modern-day roles as shops. Back in Roman times the square was used to distribute food, drink and battle instructions to soldiers from the Midlands. Locals will delight in telling you that there are a warren of tunnels underneath Market Square, some of which link to government buildings like the Guildhall. Of all the competing conspiracy theories that cloak the tunnels in a veil of intrigue, perhaps the favoured story is that they constituted secret escape routes for ‘important people’ should the town come under attack.

As for what you can do today when you come to visit our new shop, you should definitely head over to Coton Manor Garden, near to the town. It features a delightful, peaceful and inspiring garden of a stately home, with a lovely café and some plants for sale. Castle Ashby Gardens is equally charming. There are an abundance of beautiful old stately homes in the area should you just fancy a drive and a peek! In addition, Northampton boasts a beautiful lake complex called Stanwick Lakes, which is a haven for dog walkers, bird watchers and those who enjoy the good old English fresh air and a walk. There’s also a nice shop and restaurant area where you can rest and have some tea! What could be better?