The LLama Experience is nestled in a 10 acre small holding on the edge of the rural village Brigstock you will find Llama HQ (the boys stable) and The Llama Lounge. The local area offers a wonderful opportunity to explore the local area, countryside, towns and villages.
Brigstock is one of the smaller villages in the Midlands, but the town is steeped in rich history. Brigstock is one of the Northamptonshire area’s earliest settlements, dating back to the Saxon period.
The village of Brigstock is flanked by the Rivers Welland and Nene. Brigstock sits in the remains of the royal forest of Rockingham that once covered the area from Stamford to Northampton, however, today only a small fraction of the forest remains. The village can be looked at as somewhat of an architectural inspiration as the town plays an important role in telling the story of Northamptonshire Anglo-Saxon churches.
Brigstock was part of the Kingdom of Mercia and some accounts claim the village’s first church, constructed around 700 AD, was burned by Viking invaders. The church was rebuilt with many additions and improvements being made throughout the centuries and is now strikingly large and startlingly intricate. The original stair turret still survives today and is only one of two from that time period left in existence in all of England.
Brigstock became the administrative centre for the Rockingham Forest during the Middle Ages. It was established as a market charter in 1426 and many Roman artefacts have been found throughout the area. A cross, discovered in the original village, was dedicated as a monument after Queen Elizabeth I visited the village during her many travels.
Fermyn Woods Park is set in the heart of the Rockingham Forest, with a wide and varied landscape of woodlands, marshes, meadows and ponds. Fermyn Woods Country Park is a wonderful spot for fishing and viewing wildlife. The park offers picnic areas with barbeque grills, well-maintained hiking trails and ranger-led group education sessions.
Located in the valley of Lyveden, the Elizabethan Lodge and Garden is described as one of the oldest and most enchanting gardens in Britain by The National Trust. While the lodge and garden dates back to the rule of Queen Elizabeth I, the history of the area dates back even further.
Thanks to the rich hunting grounds and plentiful mineral deposits in the Rockingham Forest, populations thrived in the valley and both Roman and medieval settlers lived in the valley for many centuries.
The lodge and grounds, planned as the royal mansion, boast terraces, spiral mounts, moats and a restored orchard. The mansion-shell was never fully completed in over 400 years and today the building and surrounding area remains almost exactly as it was left four centuries ago. This includes the main structure with no floors, windows or roof. The garden has moats on three of its four planned sides, but has no walkways, plants or statues.
The land in the valley surrounding the lodge was purchased by the Tresham family and made into a sheep pasture and an estate and garden was planned that would rival the finest in England. Unfortunately, after the death of Sir Thomas Tresham, in 1605, the garden was never completed. However, the inspirations of the Tresham family, who still own much of the land in the area today, is still unmistakable in the current landscape.
While Corby is a relatively newer town, historically speaking, the village centre dates back to Roman times. Corby is both a town and borough in Northamptonshire, with a population of over 60,000. As of 2010 Corby had the fastest-growing population in all of England.
Corby has recently seen a revival with the opening of several new amenities. These include the Corby railway station and the Corby International Pool, both opened in 2009. Additionally, opened in 2010, the Corby Cube building houses the Corby Borough Council offices as well as the public library and a 450-seat theatre.
Neo and Mesolithic artefacts have been discovered in the Corby area. Evidence of the first permanent settlement is from the 8th century when Danish marauders invaded the area and named the town “Kori’s” settlement.
The Corby area has seen mining for metal ore since Roman times. In the 19th century, with the building of railways and the discovery of vast ironstone deposits, Corby became a thriving modern-day mining town.
Corby residents come from a wide array of cultures, including Eastern Europe, Scotland and Ireland, thanks to plentiful mining work in the 1960s and 70s. At one time Corby was locally referred to as “Little Scotland” because of the numerous Scottish migrants who came to Corby to work in the town’s thriving steel industry.
However, unemployment in Corby has been high since the main mining mills closed in 1979. However, Corby has recently reaped the benefits of several new business developments and regeneration projects. With extensive new housing projects and the city of London being approximately an hour away by rail, Corby is becoming a chic place to live.
Savoy and Kettering’s Cinemas both offer child-friendly films with admission discounts on weekend mornings.
Just outside of Corby, to the west, East Carlton Country Park offers an enjoyable place to hike and enjoy other family activities.
Fineshade park has wildlife viewing and picnic spots. Barnwell Country park has waterside trails, a children’s play area, picnic areas and a wealth of wildlife to watch. Weldon Woodland Park offers 40 acres to explore with a half-pipe skateboard track, BMX track, football and basketball pitches and a children’s’ play area.
There are several farms throughout the area, with West Lodge probably being the best for a family visit with many kid-friendly activities. Free admissions for children under two years of age.
The Corby pool is great family fun and the pool sometimes run sessions where parents swim for free during the week.
Corby International Pool provides both a 50-meter swimming pool and a 20-meter learning pool as well as an aquatube body ride, diving boards, swim lessons and even a floating pirate ship! The facility also has a 70-station gym and a café.
Museums may not always strike a child’s fancy, but the Irchester Country Park is home to the kid-fabulous Narrow Gauge Railway museum with a working collection of steam and diesel engines.
Meaning “the place of Ketter’s people,” Kettering lies approximately 108 km north of London on the west side of the River Ise. As the town is just an hour away from London by rail, Kettering is seeing a growing commuter population.
Before the Romans began occupying the area, Kettering didn’t appear to have a large number of human inhabitants, showing a relatively low number of archaeological finds from prehistoric periods. In approximately 500 BC iron working was introduced and a series of hillforts were built over the next 100 years, with Irthlingborough being the closest one to Kettering.
The Kettering Rugby Football Club, or the KRFC, is located on the east side of town, on Waverley Road. According to the earliest records, the Rector of Barton Seagrave Village initiated the sport in 1871 and the club became a professional rugby team, adopting Rugby Football Union rules in 1875.
The Friends of Kettering Art Gallery and Museum offer regular showings and talks. Open daily with a small admission fee and no reservations needed.
A Chinese New Year celebration offers a one-of-a-kind show of traditional Chinese cultural with teams of performing artists. The show tours across England and typically makes a stop in Kettering in February. Check for dates.
Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom offer fun adventures for children, such as a outing with the tooth-fairy and a birthday surprise party for the King Elf. Plenty of games, songs and fun for the whole family.
Wicksteed Park is situated on 147 acres of rolling hills and isolated lakes. The park offers over 30 exciting rides, including race cars, roller coasters, river rides and boat trips as well as food vendors, concession stands, children’s play areas and other attractions. Wicksteed Park also lays claim to the oldest water slide in the world, designed over 100 years ago in 1926!
A wonderful family activity for a bad-weather day, Laser Zap Attack is a custom built laser-tag arena with a family-friendly maze where you can shoot at one another to your heart’s content. There is also a novel arena where you can zap your family members while staking them through a futuristic landscape.
The Yards shopping area in Kettering sits in the older part of town. The shops are quite different from the stores on High Street, being updated to better suit the modern shopper. There is also a theatre that puts on varied performances from musicals to fitness competitions.
Oundle stands among the rolling Northamptonshire countryside on the banks of the River Nene with a population of approximately 6,000. Oundle is a magnificent stone-built market town. Just 111 kilometres north of London, Oundle has been called the “quintessential English market” with a wide variety of speciality shops.
The town has been a market hub for the neighbouring valleys since Saxon times, with many of its structures dating back to the 17th century. Many of the buildings are separated by rustic courtyards and narrow alleys, and many of the centuries-old structures, as well as the town’s centre, are historically-listed.
Oundle was established during the Iron Age and the village soon became a primary trading place for farmers and tradesmen. Oundle is home to a number of churches, with St Peter’s being the most prominent with a 210-foot tall spire that is the tallest, and most impressive, in all of Northamptonshire. The church sits in the same spot as the original St. Wilfrid’s Church, built by St. Wilfrid who died in 709 AD. The site was also the home to one of Wilfrid’s monasteries.
Saint Cetta, who lived during the 7th century, is the Patron Saint of Oundle and was buried in the monastery near the River Nene. A chapel was built to honour Cetta in the 11th century and the chapel and shrine are credited for spurring much of Oundle’s growth during the 12th century.
Well-to-do traders set up shops in Oundle, built homes, formed guilds and the town became very prosperous. Unlike many other areas, Oundle escaped the ravages of the plague, known as the “Black Death,” during the mid-14th century.
The Talbot Hotel is one of the oldest buildings in Oundle. The hotel was originally constructed of wood and later renovated with stones salvaged from the vestiges of nearby Fotheringhay Castle. The Rose & Crown is a 17th-century inn that according to folklore is haunted by the White Cavalier ghost.
Oundle serves as hosts to a variety of annual events, most notably the Oundle International Festival, known locally as the OIF. The OIF is a musical and film festival with recitals and concerts held in July. The OIF is sponsored by the local pipe-organ school that was founded in 1985.
The Oundle Festival of Literature features local, new and established writers and holds events throughout the year. The Oundle carnival with rides, games and food is held every year, since 2009. The town’s park is home to a skate park and an annual circus and fair are held annually.
A farmers’ market takes place the second Saturday of the month at the town’s Market Place.
A small museum on Mill road displays Oundle’s rich history dating from the prehistoric periods to modern times and includes exhibits from the Saxon, Roman and Medieval periods.
A footpath along the River Nene passes by the old mill at Barnwell that houses a renowned restaurant and a nature preserve with numerous connecting lakes where visitors can go fishing and feed ducks.
Close to the junction of routes A14 and A45, Thrapston is a quaint and friendly community located near the River Nene. The town has a population of approximately 6,000 residents and is the headquarters for the East Northamptonshire district.
The town was granted a market charter in 1205 and the historic event is celebrated annually with the Charter Fair to mark the occasion. The fair is held in the centre of town, on the High Street, with concessions, live shows and other fun-filled events.
A relative of George Washington, the American Revolutionary War General and the first President of the United States, Sir John Washington was one of Thrapston’s most famous residents. Sir John’s wife is buried at the historic Church of St James and this famous church is open for visitor tours on Saturday mornings.
Famed writer Horace William Wheelwright was a practising attorney in Thrapston during the 1840s.
Thrapston Town, the Thrapston football club, plays in the United Counties League. Other sporting attractions in the area include the Santa Pod Raceway, the Huntingdon Racecourse and the Rockingham Motor Speedway.
Scotts of Thrapston, one of the town’s major employers, supplies timber for constructing and renovating many of the town’s buildings.
Surrounded by rolling hills, the countryside around Thrapston beckons the outdoor enthusiast to explore the area on foot or by bicycle. Ringstead Grange and Lake Elenor are within easy walking distance of Thrapston and provide excellent opportunities for fishing and enjoying nature.
The nearby Nene Wetlands offers nature outings for the entire family. Activities include lakeside walks, canoe hires and a visitor centre. Rushden Lakes offers cycling routes and nature trails that connect the local towns and villages to the Nene Wetlands.
Famed Rockingham Castle and Gardens is just 23 kilometres outside of Thrapston. The castle has been occupied for over 10 centuries and has been the home of the Watson family since the compound was relinquished as a royal dwelling. The Rockingham Castle still has many of its original antique furnishings.
Boughton House & Garden is one of England’s most impressive and well-preserved manors with a stately home and 18th century gardens that are all surrounded by woodlands and a country park. Boughton contains an outstanding collection of fine art, antique furniture, tapestries and carpets for visitors to view.
The home offers some of the most well- preserved baroque State Rooms in England and visitors will take note of contrasting décor in the grand apartments. For example, in one room you will see 16th century carpets from the Middle East and some of the finest French furnishings in the next.Outside the manor the country park offers open manicured lawns, tranquil lakes and woodlands.