The days out around Corby are truly excellent. Finding the time to fit them all into your stay is a tall order, but worth a try as we’ve gathered together a Norman castle, three stately homes and a beautiful day out in the Northamptonshire countryside.
Activities in Corby
If you lived in a castle which dates back to 1095 and overlooks five counties, you’d probably want to keep it in the family and that is exactly what the English monarchy did for 450 years. They were the only ones to enjoy the privilege of living at Rockingham Castle until Henry VIII bestowed it upon Sir Edward Watson in 1544. He renovated the then dilapidated castle and though the castle is still privately owned by his family today, the public can finally gain access to look around this stunning attraction, on certain days.
Owing to the Castle’s private status, you need to check the Rockingham Castle website to make sure you can visit the castle and its beautiful gardens during your stay in Corby. It’s definitely worth moulding your itinerary around the castle!
Inside you’ll find architecture, furniture and art from every century going back to when it was built. The castle grounds boasts 12 acres of wild and formal gardens, with some of the best views in the region. The staff who help provide tours of the castle are supremely knowledgeable. They do a fantastic job of bringing its history to life.
Continuing your history trip around the area, Boughton House is among the finest stately homes in the country. It’s just over a 10-minute drive from our Corby hotel and well worth the trip to see the exquisite French chateau-style country house, which has been nicknamed ‘The English Versailles.’
Boughton House is most famous for its world-class collection of art, including masterpieces by Thomas Gainsborough, Anthony van Dyck and John Wootton. Equally as stunning is the 11,000-acre estate with its formal gardens, which have been meticulously designed to adhere to the golden ratio. Again, it’s a private property, so you need to check when it’s open.
If you want to explore the great outdoors, make your way to Fineshade Woods and enjoy a wander around this beautiful expanse of woodland. It contains three walking trails, two cycling trails, and a horse riding trail. Plus, there’s a play area for the kids if you’re visiting with a young family. If you get peckish, there’s a cafe, as well as picnic areas if you’d rather bring your own food.
Kirby Hall is another beautiful stately home in nearby Deene. It’s among the finest Elizabethan houses in the country and formerly belonged to Sir Christopher Hatton, who was named Lord Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth I. Today the property is owned and managed by English Heritage. While some aspects of Kirby Hall may require some renovation, the Great Hall and the house’s state rooms are in superb condition and are decorated with authentic period furniture. You can take an audio tour to find out about the estate’s rich history, and be sure to spend some time exploring the gardens and saying hello to the resident peacocks.
Last but by no means least, Deene Park is another stunning country manor just a short drive away from Corby. Much like Rockingham Castle, Deene Park has remained the private residence of a single family – the Brudenells – ever since the 16th century. The Brudenell lineage includes seven Earls of Cardigan, including James Thomas Brudenell, who led the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. The Brudenells open the doors of this incredible home between the months of April and September and for choice events throughout the year.
Museum of Carpet
It’s extremely niche, but the Museum of Carpet is a surprisingly popular activity in Kidderminster. The museum is on Green Street in the town centre. It’s based in the Stour Vale Mill, a former carpet factory, and traces the industrial history of Kidderminster and its booming carpet trade back to the 19th and 20th century. While here exploring the only carpet museum in the country, you can have a go at weaving and watch as the museum’s team of volunteers use the museum’s historic looms to produce some hugely intricate rugs.
Of course, sometimes you simply can’t beat a trip to the cinema for killing a bit of time. If you were wondering, Kidderminster’s Reel Cinema is just down the road from The Museum of Carpet, on Green Street. You can watch all the latest blockbusters while munching your way through a mountain of popcorn.