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Did you know that Northampton is one of the largest towns in the UK? It lies on the River Nene, about 60 miles north-west of London and 45 miles south-east of Birmingham as the crow flies. During the Middle Ages, the town rose to national significance with the establishment of Northampton Castle, which was an occasional royal residence and regularly hosted the Parliament of England. Since then, it continued to grow following the creation of the Grand Union Canal and the arrival of the railways in the 19th century. After the World Wars, Northampton was designated as a New Town in 1968, accelerating further development in the town.
Northampton has a lot to offer – great culture, theatre of West End quality, stunning architecture, Medieval churches, acres of parkland to explore, and a beautiful marina. Its Market Square is a major shopping area, which looks gorgeous at night when it’s all lit up. Billing Aquadrome offers all the fun of the fair, while Radlands Plaza Skate Park is a popular place for families. Annual events in the town include Northampton Carnival, the Delapre Beer Festival, Northampton Balloon Festival and A Walk in the Park music festival, which has attracted the likes of Alfie Boe, Boyzone, Jessie J, James Morrison and Paul Weller.
In the past, Northampton was a major centre of shoemaking and other leather industries, although only specialist shoemaking companies survive, such as Barker, Church’s, Crockett & Jones, Edward Green, Trickers and Wildsmith. Former shoe factories have been converted to offices or accommodation, surrounded by terraced houses originally built for factory workers. During the post-war years, engineering became a big employer in the town, but, these days, main private-sector employers are now in distribution and finance. Companies based in Northampton include Avon Products, Barclaycard, Blacks Leisure Group, Nationwide Building Society, Panasonic, Travis Perkins, Coca-Cola, Schweppes, Simply Business, National Grid and Carlsberg.
The University of Northampton also brings employment to the town. The only higher education establishment in Northampton, it runs courses from foundation and undergraduate levels, to postgraduate, professional and doctoral qualifications, and is made up of six schools – business, education, health, science and technology, social sciences and the arts. Northampton College and Moulton College provide vocational courses, plus there are 50 primary schools, eight secondary schools, five specialist schools and many independent schools serving the town.
Located near junctions 15, 15a and 16 of the M1 motorway, which connects Northampton with London at its most southern point and Leeds at its most northern, the town has connections with many major UK towns and cities, while the A14 provides a link to the east and west of the country. Northampton Railway Station is on the Northampton Loop of the West Coast Main Line, and has services southbound to London Euston and northbound to Birmingham and Crewe. For international links, the nearest airports are East Midlands Airport and Luton Airport.
The average house price for Northampton is £240,155, which is a 6 per cent increase on the previous year. In the recent survey, the majority of sales were terraced properties, which sold for an average of £198,311. If you fancied buying in Northampton, you would be in good company – Hyacinth Bucket’s home was situated in a Northampton street, as the town was used for the location of BBC drama Keeping Up Appearances!