Northamptonshire has a vibrant and varied scene when it comes to sport, with clubs and facilities for just about every discipline. Whether you want to attend an event or get involved, the county offers all kinds of active experiences.
A county for rugby lovers
For rugby lovers, a Northampton Saints home game at Franklin’s Gardens makes for an exciting afternoon. The 15,250 capacity stadium located in Saint James is often full to the brim with devoted fans and a buzzing atmosphere – not to mention some world-class rugby. Many Saints players have graced the England stage and the club has long been revered as a jewel in the county’s sporting crown.
The Northamptonshire County Ground is another cherished venue and home to the ‘List A’ classified Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, aka the Northampton Steelbacks. It used to be shared with Northampton Town F.C. (nicknamed The Cobblers in reference to Northamptonshire’s famed boot and shoemaking industry) who now take up residency at the 7,798 capacity Sixfields Stadium where they play regular home games.
One of the county’s largest and most versatile sports venues can be found in Kettering. Arena Sports hosts all kinds of events as well as offering visitors the opportunity to make use of the facilities for themselves. It accommodates everything from badminton and basketball, to indoor hockey, squash and futsal plus much more. The space is also home to The National Volleyball Centre which hosts many of the major domestic and international volleyball competitions – beach volleyball included – as well as offering its courts up for hire.
There are many leisure centres across the county, including the olympic-sized Corby East Midlands International Pool complete with three diving boards and a separate fun pool for the little ones. Alternatively, the Mounts Baths in Northampton is a critically acclaimed Art Deco building with parabolic arches and tiered windows that flood the indoor pool with natural light. It also has a sauna and steam room, with a rather bracing plunge pool and the original Turkish hot rooms that have been in operation since the baths were first opened in 1936.
The 15,250 capacity stadium located in Saint James is often full to the brim with devoted fans and a buzzing atmosphere – not to mention some world-class rugby
For something a little more adventurous the Nene Whitewater Centre offers visitors the chance to try their hand at whitewater rafting and tubing amongst other things; and more experienced canoe and kayakers can use the ‘park and play’ option. River Spirit takes visitors out on scenic stand-up paddle boarding trips up the Nene from Woodford Mill, as well as SUP Yoga during the summer months. Club Wake Park at Grendon Lakes is a hub for wakeboarders and wake skaters alike with its beginner-friendly cable system and various obstacles.
For an indoor challenge, climbers can enjoy a session at the Pinnacle Climbing Centre in Northampton, which also has a pretty impressive caving facility. To the north of the county, Pitsford Water is home to the Northampton Sailing Club and is also a great site for trout fishing and coarse fishing with a range of permit options and fishing boat hire available. There are also some attractive waterside running trails and cycle tracks there with bike hire available from Rutland Cycling’s on-site shop.
Of course there is nothing quite like exploring the great outdoors and Northamptonshire’s beautiful countryside has extensive networks of walking and cycle routes, plus numerous horse riding schools and more than 20 golf courses to choose from.
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