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Nestled on the banks of the River Nene in historic Northampton, and less than two miles from the spectacular greenery of Abington Park, The Britannia is a handsome brick-built pub dating back several centuries.

The Britannia is an attractive, historic tavern nestled on the banks of the winding River Nene, a couple of miles from the centre of historic Northampton, and conveniently close to many of Northamptonshire’s most impressive and important attractions. The Britannia lies less than two miles south of the spectacular Abington Park – awash with rich colour, especially throughout autumn. Just west, towards the town’s impressive centre, is Northampton Museum & Art Gallery which celebrates the town’s proud shoemaking history, and the museum contains the white satin shoes worn by Queen Victoria on her wedding day, along with many other impressive artefacts.

Whatever your reason for visiting this wonderful part of Northamptonshire, The Britannia is the perfect setting for enjoying delicious traditional pub food, and a bottle of fine wine or glass of cask ale on the banks of the River Nene.

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The charming Britannia pub has lain on the banks of the River Nene for several centuries, but the rich history of Northampton, and the county of Northamptonshire goes back a good deal further. A half-hour walk away lies Abington Park, where the ruins of a former village lie. Abington’s important medieval manor house was mentioned in the 1086 Domesday book. This grand and leafy park lies just across Wellingborough Road from the County Ground, where Northampton County Cricket Club have played their home matches for over 125 years, and a venue for the 1999 Cricket World Cup.

Amidst the medieval architecture of Northampton’s town centre lies Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. This handsome structure in the city’s Cultural Quarter has the world’s biggest collection of historical footwear, including boots worn by Prince Albert, famed Victorian midget Tom Thumb, and most notably, the white satin shoes Queen Victoria wore on her wedding day on 10th February 1840. The museum houses two galleries, which include paintings from renowned Dutch and Flemish artists including Jan Miel and Hendrik van Oort, with the paintings depicting shoemakers, cobblers and shoeshiners.

Northampton also houses a tribute to Walter Tull, one of England’s most remarkable figures, in both the sporting and military arena. He was the first player of mixed racial heritage to play in English football, and the very first to win a senior medal. After playing for Northampton Town F.C. from 1911-1914, Tull went on to become Britain’s first mixed race combat officer, during World War I, and he was recommended for the Military Cross, as a result of his immense bravery. A beautiful, carved memorial to Tull lies in the Garden of Remembrance at Northampton’s Sixfields Stadium, paying tribute to one of the town’s heroes, who tragically died serving his country in 1918.

Around three miles from The Britannia lies the Grade II* listed Delapré Abbey, an English monastery tucked in the meadows alongside the River Nene. Delapré was founded in 1145, one of only two Cluniac monasteries for women in England. Its importance led to a Royal Charter from King Edward III who provided “ten beams” towards the repair of Delapré’s church in 1232, and five oaks for the development of Delapré’s rectory, later in his reign. Although the abbey yielded to the crown during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and was shut in 1538, it continued to be developed as a private residence, and was commandeered by the War Office in 1940. The Abbey, whose guests once included King Edward I’s cortege, is still an impressive sight. The Delapré Abbey estate also houses one of the only three remaining Eleanor Crosses, which was erected to mark where Queen Eleanor’s body had rested at the Abbey, as it was taken from Lincoln to London.

Set at the heart of a 10,000 acre estate, Castle Ashby is a magnificent courtyard, with the spectacular Castle Ashby House and Gardens at its centre – just ten minutes by car from The Britannia. The history of Castle Ashby dates back to the 11th century, when William the Conqueror granted his niece several manors in the area. The spectacular present building was began in 1574 by Henry, 1st Lord Compton, and both Queen Elizabeth I and King James I stayed here during the seventeenth century, a period during which Inigo Jones (designer of Covent Garden square) made additions to the property. In 1761, Capability Brown, perhaps England’s most influential landscape architect, broke up the property’s avenue with clumps of trees, giving it a beautiful and distinct look which remains to this day. The Gardens are open to visit, and are the perfect compliment to this wonderful Grade I listed country manor.

20 miles from Northampton along the scenic A43 route, lies the majestic Grade I listed Rockingham Castle. Offering spectacular views across the Welland Valley, it’s easy to understand why William the Conqueror instructed that a Castle would be built here. The Castle was not just a fortress, as it played host to many medieval Kings. Richard the Lionheart welcomed his Scottish counterpart, William I to Rockingham Castle. Richard’s unpopular brother, King John, also hunted regularly in Rockingham Forest, and according to some legends, John’s crown jewels are buried at Rockingham.

Though Rockingham Castle was originally a bastion of Royalist support, the castle was taken by Cromwell’s Roundheads and then blockaded by the King’s troops. Much of the filming for the BBC’s acclaimed civil war drama ‘By the Sword Divided’ was done at Rockingham Castle, the setting of the series which focused on the turmoil caused by the conflict. The Castle remains at the heart of an agricultural community, and its vast gardens contain over 200 species of trees and shrubs, a number of them especially rare.

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Britannia

Bedford Road, Northamptonshire, NN4 7AA

 

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