Visit Oundle: Places to stay, things to do

Journey to the heart of England and discover a Northamptonshire market town with links back to pre-history. Nick Peers explores the Nene Valley.

Oundle-tmain-6841e49


Why go there?
Oundle has evidence of habitation that stretches all the way back to the Iron Age, thanks to its advantageous position next to the River Nene, which winds around it as it flows eastwards before curving to the north. The town deserves attention for the liberal sprinkling of medieval, Tudor and Stuart buildings, three of which deserve special attention. First there’s the Talbot Hotel, which was rebuilt using timber and stone from nearby Fotheringhay Castle. Also check out the Ship Inn, which dates back to the 14th century, and last – but not least – the local parish church, parts of which are a century older than the Ship.
The town is well placed for those looking for local walks and wildlife. The Snipe Meadow Pocket Park  is found on the banks of the Nene on the town’s northern outskirts. As its name implies, it’s a haven for wading birds including the Snipe and Redshank.
Barnwell Country Park lies to the south of the town, and offers three easy walks around numerous lakes, meadows and riverbank, all developed from former gravel pits.
A number of other local woodland walks can be also be found, all highlighted at the town’s web site below, while National Trust members might fancy a trip to Lyveden New Bield, an Elizabethan lodge and moated garden, which also houses one of the Trust’s largest orchards.
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Where to stay
The Elizabethan Talbot Hotel claims to be haunted by the ghost of Mary, Queen of Scots thanks to those parts of it rebuilt from the remains of Fotheringhay Castle where she was executed in 1587, and is situated in the heart of Oundle, with ample free car parking and 35 rooms for hire. Rooms costs from £50 (single) or £80 (twin or double) per night, and include full English breakfast.
 

Where to eat
If all you want is a nice friendly atmosphere with home-cooked food and real ales on tap, check out the town’s medieval Ship Inn. However, if you want to sample some fine dining, check out the Chapel bar and Dining Room, where the head chef combines simplicity with seasonal produce from – where possible – small local suppliers to produce an ever-changing menu. Expect to pay £5-6 for starters and desserts, and £14-17 for mains. A Sunday menu is also available – £16.50 for two courses, and £21.50 for three.

Tell us a local secret
Much of the town centre is built using local limestone that dates back to the Jurassic period.


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