WELCOME TO RUGBY- THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE GAME
Rugby is known throughout the world as the birthplace of the game. It was here, in 1823, while playing football at his school that the young William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran. This moment, which took place on The Close at Rugby School, is the origin of today’s games of Rugby Union, Rugby League, and American Football and today, you can visit the momentous spot and a dedicated museum.
Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum is packed with rugby memorabilia, and traditional rugby balls are still made here, by hand, to this day. Take your photo next to the statue of William Webb Ellis in running pose complete with ball under arm, which stands outside his former school. Insightful tours show you around Rugby School with its 200-year old buildings and galleries that will conjure up thoughts of Hogwarts, and of course, you can stand in The Close where the game was born all those years ago.
Rugby is in a great central location to get out and explore the heart of England. Shakespeare’s birthplace is less than an hour away in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Kelmarsh Hall is a Grade I listed country house built in 1732. The Kelmarsh Estate is now in the care of a charitable trust, charged with maintaining it in perpetuity for the benefit of the nation.
Kelmarsh Hall Estate is a typical Midland agricultural landscape covering over 1,000ha (3,000 acres) made up of a mix of arable cropland with pasture, woodlands and parkland. Farm land is the largest land use type and is managed by tenant farmers.
Within the 18th century setting, the gardens that visitors see at Kelmarsh Hall today are largely inspired by Nancy Lancaster. She extended her interior style of shabby chic charm into the gardens and drafted in the garden designer of her day, the talented Norah Lindsay, to help. Around the Hall the landscape architect Geoffrey Jellicoe laid out a formal terrace.
From the sophisticated pastels of the sunken garden through to the showier shades of the 60m long border, the garden leads you on a tour around the perimeter of a triangular walled garden. This secret heart is a relaxing space filled with traditional fruit and vegetables, cut flower beds and a restored vinery. The produce and cut flowers are sold in the Visitor Centre when available.
These overlays of history within the gardens contributed to the gardens listing by English Heritage as Grade II*, a garden of national significance. The gardens are also a RHS Partner Garden.
Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens, Kelmarsh, Northampton, Northamptonshire, NN6 9LY (for those using a sat nav, enter NN6 9LX).
Tel: 01604 686543
Charles, Ninth Earl Spencer has been in charge for just 23 of the House’s 500-year history but has striven in that time to make a positive difference, by taking an uncompromising approach to the continuing wellbeing of Althorp.
Visitors are invited to explore this wonderful house, by guided tour, discovering beautiful interiors and one of Europe’s finest private collections of furniture, pictures and ceramics. Explore the magnificent park, take a stroll through the remodelled gardens and perhaps take the opportunity to reflect by the peaceful Round Oval Lake.
In the Stables Block, built by Roger Morris in 1733 in the Anglo-Palladian style, enjoy refreshments in the Stables Café, browse the Gift Shop and explore our 2017 exhibition: Mario Testino‘s iconic collection of images of Diana, Princess of Wales taken in 1997 for Vanity Fair.
It is fair to say that the story of Althorp is also the story of the Spencers, and vice versa.
Diana Princess of Wales Exhibition
Showcasing one of Europe’s finest private collections of furniture, paintings and ceramics, each intriguing room of this magnificent family home has Fifteen iconic images taken in 1997 by Mario Testino of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, will be on display this summer at Althorp – family home of the Spencers since 1508, and the final resting place of the princess.
The photographs Testino initially shot for Vanity Fair turned out to be the last official portraits taken of the Princess before her untimely death the same year. Twenty years later, these images will be on display in their entirety in the exhibition rooms located within Althorp’s glorious, Grade I-listed, Stables. Visitors will be able to browse the exhibition alongside a reminder of Diana’s legacy and charitable works. A fascinating story of its own.
Althorp Estate, Northampton NN7 4HQ. Tel: 01604 770107
Coton Manor Gardens
This peaceful ten acre garden occupies a hillside position extending down from the 17th century manor house, constructed of mellow Northamptonshire stone. Landscaped on different levels, it comprises a series of distinctive smaller gardens, providing variety and interest throughout the season, and enhanced by flowing streams, fountains and ponds. Beyond the confines of the garden, there is a magical five acre bluebell wood and a colourful wildflower meadow at its best in June & July.
As well as enjoying the garden, many visitors will want to explore the extensive nursery, take light lunches or teas from the Stableyard Café, or visit the garden shop. Garden courses complete the range of activities available at Coton.
Coton Manor Garden, Coton, Northamptonshire. Tel: Tel. 01604 740219
Northampton Golf Club