A trip to a historic house or castle gives you a glimpse into a bygone age of grandeur and chivalry. Nestling in the beautiful countryside around Northampton are some jewels in the crown of English history.

We take a look at some of the best historic houses near Northampton that you can visit this winter.

Kirby Hall

The grand Kirby Hall is a wonderful Elizabethan style historic house near Northampton.

Originally owned by Lord Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Christopher Hatton, Kirby Hall was built in the late 1500s and in its prime entertained King James I.

Visitors can walk through the Great Hall and state rooms, which have been refitted with gorgeous decorations authentic to the 17th and 18th century. You can admire the architecture of the grand house, with its highly decorated columns, huge windows, patterned friezes and grand balconies.

Take a stroll around the elaborately planned Great Garden, which has recently been restored to its former glory, and see statues and urns decorating the striking layout.

Wrest Park

The wonderful Wrest Park is a must-see destination for fans of historic houses.

The sprawling formal gardens are among the best in England, and were inspired by the great gardens of Versailles in France. A trip through the historic grounds of the mansion will let you see beautiful statues, avenues of trees, a Chinese pavilion and bridge, and delicate gardens of plants and flowers. A walk along the banks of the unique ‘Long Water’ feature takes you to one of the highlights of the gardens, the beautiful Archer Pavilion.

Step inside the gorgeous French style mansion of Wrest Park to enjoy stunning views of the gardens, beautifully restored rooms, and exhibitions on the story of the estate. In the new Visitor Centre you can enjoy cake and coffee in the café, and purchase a souvenir from the shop.

Over the festive season visitors can take part in Christmas wreath making workshops, a festive Family Fun Trail, and a Christmas carol concert.

Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden

In 1563, Queen Elizabeth granted the spectacular Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire to her favourite subject, Robert Dudley.

Visitors will enjoy walking around Dudley’s intricately designed gardens, which have been lovingly restored to their former glory. The gardens feature a spectacular fountain, an aviary, flower garden, fruit trees and obelisks.

Amble around the impressive ruins of Kenilworth Castle to see what life was like in the Elizabethan era, and visit the refurbished Elizabethan Gatehouse to discover the famous royal love story between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley. The castle Wall Walk will let you capture some stunning photographs of Kenilworth Castle, while the Strong Tower will give you panoramic views of the castle and surrounding countryside.

The Tudor Stables house an exhibition on the history of the castle, and you can enjoy a seasonal meal in the castle Tea Room. A visitor centre at the Castle entrance has a shop stocking local produce to take home.

Seasonal activities at Kenilworth Castle include festive falconry, a Christmas ghost tour, and a Christmas weekend.

Where to Stay?

Our hotel in Northampton is ideally placed for a weekend visit to these incredible historic houses, which are all around just 45 minutes away by car. Relax after your day in the past with a gourmet burger and beer in our RBG Bar & Grill. The Park Inn by Radisson, Northampton has car parking facilities for guests, and easy access to Northampton town centre for more pubs and shops.

What other Historic Houses would you recommend for people to visit over winter?