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Moving to Northampton

Situated in the heart of England, Northampton is the county town of Northamptonshire and has a population of around 225,000. Due to its proximity to London, Birmingham, Oxford and Cambridge, it is a popular commuter town for those wanting to live in a more rural area.

Northampton is surrounded by pretty countryside, market towns and leafy villages, with historic churches and magnificent country houses. There are several cultural attractions and lovely parks, and Northampton's historic market square centre is one of the oldest and largest in England. The town offers an wonderful lifestyle balanced between quiet country living and bustling urban life.

Living in Northampton as an expat

During Britain's Industrial Revolution, Northampton thrived as the centre of production of shoes and leather, and the town today plays a significant role as the retail hub for the county. Northamptonshire is a key area for the UK's food and drink industry and is home to world-leading brands including Weetabix, Premier Foods, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Müller, Schweppes and Carlsberg. 

Northampton's central location makes travel through the country painless and affordable. Getting around Northampton is made easy by the accessible bus and rail system, though many locals prefer to get around by car.

Northampton has a variety of accommodation options, from new apartments and modern housing developments to Victorian and Edwardian terraced houses and freestanding homes. There's a range of lovely suburbs in Northampton to choose from, but many people moving here opt for one of the equally appealing outlying towns and villages. The town is steeped in English history and is home to numerous historic landmarks like the Guildhall and the All Saints Church. 

Cost of living in Northampton

Northampton is an ideal base for those who want to enjoy life outside a big city, while still being close to important economic hubs in the Midlands and beyond. Despite the great quality of life that newcomers can enjoy, the cost of living in Northampton is quite reasonable.

Families and children in Northampton

There are excellent choices for education in Northampton, including both state-funded and independent schools. Parents planning on moving to Northampton should take time to research the best areas and suburbs, and ensure they find a home near their desired school, as the state-funded school system operates according to catchment areas.

Climate in Northampton

The weather in Northampton is representative of central England, with a temperate and moderate maritime climate. Winters are cold and often wet, while summers are warm, with long light evenings.

Combining the warm community feel of small-town life with the perks of the city living right on its doorstep, Northampton is an excellent choice for new arrivals seeking balance. Friendly residents make settling down here easy, and new arrivals may well decide to stay longer than originally intended.

Weather in Northampton

New arrivals to Northampton can expect a temperate and moderate maritime climate characterised by short and comfortable summers (June to September), while winters (December to February) are long and chilly. 

Despite the cold winters, newcomers will be delighted to find that the weather in Northampton is rarely ever extreme, although the winter months may bring instances of snowfall. Summer temperatures are wonderfully warm and typically hover around 65°F (18°C) and winter lows are typically around 44°F (6°C). There are long, light evenings in the summer months, allowing plenty of time for outdoor activities.

The Midlands region experiences significant levels of rainfall, and the wettest months of the year are between May and February. Newcomers to Northampton should be sure to pack their rain boots and umbrellas. 

Working in Northampton

With a legacy as a shoe and leather manufacturing hub, Northampton’s economy has continued to develop, and the town now serves as a key retail and market centre for the Northamptonshire county. The town was also recently awarded a substantial grant for economic regeneration, so newcomers working in Northampton can expect a booming and welcoming employment market.

Job market in Northampton

While Northampton has moved away from the once-prosperous shoe and leather manufacturing business, industry continues to play a big role in the town’s economy, as advanced steel and food manufacturing are some of Northampton’s biggest employers. Thanks to the 20 million tourists who visit the Northamptonshire county annually as well as the quaint markets sprinkled throughout Northampton, hospitality and service-related industries are also key areas of growth. Northampton is a key hub for the food and drink industry, and is home to many well-known brands including Weetabix, Premier Foods, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Red Bull, Müller, Schweppes and Carlsberg. 

Northampton has consistently been voted the best town in the UK for business creation, so there is also a healthy start-up culture in the town that offers plenty of opportunity for enterprising newcomers. Other major employment sectors include financial services and logistics.

Work culture in Northampton

The work culture in Northampton is similar to the rest of the UK in that diplomacy and punctuality are essential to building productive business and work relationships. Generally, though, the work culture and business attire is different across industries, with sectors such as finance proving more formal while the creative and media industry is typically more relaxed.

While humour is an important part of the work culture in the UK, newcomers should ensure they still respect the authority of their senior managers.

Socialising with colleagues after work or at the weekend is also customary in Northampton, and this often leads to an overall agreeable work environment.

See more information on doing business in the UK.

Cost of living in Northampton

Located in the East Midlands of England, Northampton is the perfect base for new arrivals looking to enjoy living in a more rural area while being a short drive or train ride away from key commercial centres. Despite the high quality of life newcomers can enjoy here, the cost of living in Northampton is fairly reasonable.

Cost of accommodation in Northampton

Accommodation in Northampton is much more affordable than in the likes of London and Birmingham, but new arrivals should still be prepared to spend a significant chunk of their earnings on housing. The town’s popularity has led to an increased demand for housing, so property prices in Northampton continue to rise and are currently above the national UK average.

Cost of entertainment in Northampton

Voted the second-best town in the UK for a night out, Northampton offers plenty of lifestyle options. Thanks to Northampton's status as a university town, new arrivals will have access to a plethora of budget-friendly student watering holes.

With 170 parks spanning 1180 acres as well as the nearby River Nene, there's plenty of free outdoor entertainment in the form of leisurely strolls, picnics, cycling and swimming. 

Northampton boasts a thriving culinary scene, with local and international fare to suit any budget or palate. Still, eating out in the town can be costly and is slightly pricier than in Birmingham. 

Cost of groceries in Northampton

While the general cost of food items has gone up in the UK, newcomers can stretch their budgets by shopping around. Price-conscious newcomers should look no further than discount supermarkets such as Aldi and the local Northampton markets for fresh produce and grocery staples. Those with a few quid to spare will find a range of speciality and imported products at stores, including Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.

Cost of transport in Northampton

Getting around in Northampton is painless and affordable, owing to the town’s reliable and efficient transport links. Newcomers moving to Northampton’s countryside will generally need a car to make travelling convenient, which may be costly, considering petrol and maintenance fees. Those who live closer to the town centre will have access to Northampton’s bus and rail network, this may be the more economical choice as purchasing multi-journey and season tickets will allow commuters to stretch their bucks.

Expats can get further savings by navigating Northampton’s streets on two wheels. The town offers dedicated cycle paths and racks.

Cost of education in Northampton

Northampton and the surrounding areas have a fair few public and independent (private) schools, some with ‘outstanding’ rankings from the UK’s Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted). While independent schools are more often than not eye-wateringly expensive, they usually offer smaller class sizes, modern facilities and a wider range of activities. The town is also home to the renowned University of Northampton and several colleges.

Cost of living in Northampton chart

These are the average prices for Northampton in December 2022. Prices may vary depending on product and service provider.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in town centre

GBP 1,300

Three-bedroom apartment outside of town centre

GBP 970

One-bedroom apartment in town centre

GBP 850

One-bedroom apartment outside of town centre

GBP 640


Milk (1 litre)

GBP 1.25

Dozen eggs

GBP 4.20

Loaf of white bread 

GBP 1.40

Rice (1kg)

GBP 1.75

Packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)

GBP 12.75


Town centre bus/train fare


Taxi rate per km


Petrol/gasoline per litre

GBP 1.54

Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)   

GBP 1.42


GBP 3.12

Local beer (pint)

GBP 4.50 

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

GBP 50


Internet (uncapped ADSL per month)

GBP 30

Mobile call rate (mobile-to-mobile per minute)

GBP 0.35

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

GBP 188

Accommodation in Northampton

Finding accommodation is always a priority for those moving to a new city. Centrally located, and just an hour's train ride from both Birmingham and London, Northampton finds a balance between the tranquil countryside and bustling urban life.

Types of accommodation in Northampton

Steeped in English history, Northampton is home to many Edwardian and Victorian houses and heritage sites, but there are also plenty of modern accommodation options. In the town centre, many of the old shoe factories have been converted into modern flats. Further out, there are more spacious houses and quaint cottages. Near the university, student accommodation and houseshares are common.


Apartments are typically called flats and are available in high-rise and low-rise blocks. In the town centre, some old factories and warehouses have been converted into new flats, and the same can be found with some barns in the outskirts.

Terraced houses

Hailing back to the Victorian era, terraced houses share communal walls on the left and right and mostly have nice period features inside. They are often highly desirable but the old Victorian buildings usually lack much insulation. 

Semi-detached and freestanding houses

Some larger freestanding houses are divided into two semi-detached houses with a communal wall. These tend to be located outside the urban centre, but they offer more space, more rooms and a garden. There are plenty of modern developments in and around Nottingham that provide comfortable and contemporary homes.

Finding accommodation in Northampton

When looking for a place to live, we recommend making use of online property sites like RightMove or Zoopla. Most people hire an estate agent to do the legwork, since they know the Northampton property market and may know of deals that aren't yet publicly advertised.

Renting accommodation in Northampton

Making an application

Once a suitable rental property has been found, the rental contract can be drawn up. Prospective tenants may need to provide proof of ID and salary or funds as well as references from employers and previous landlords, and the deposit and first months' rent will need to be paid before occupancy can be taken. Expats should also be prepared to produce a copy of their visa.


The deposit is usually one to two months' rent. The landlord should deposit this in a Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme and not their own bank account. That way, the funds stay safe in the case of a tenancy dispute. At the end of the lease, the landlord may deduct expenses if the tenant damaged or misplaced anything or if the place needs to be professionally cleaned. Once a final amount is agreed upon, the landlord has 10 days to return the remainder of the deposit.

Signing a lease

Leases are usually signed on a one-year or six-month basis with the option to renew. Short lets are a good but costlier option for people who are planning on staying for a shorter term or who want to get to know the area before committing to a property for a longer term.


Rental contracts vary, and utilities are often not included in the rental amount. It's important for prospective renters to take into account all the extra costs, which may include gas, electricity and water as well as council tax and landline and internet costs.

Areas and suburbs in Northampton

The best places to live in Northampton

When choosing an area in Northampton, newcomers may have to consider the distance from their workplace, catchment areas and the distance from their children's schools, access to public transport and major roads, budget and preferred type of accommodation. This can be a stressful and overwhelming process, but those who persist will undoubtedly find accommodation that meets a happy medium between the multitude of factors they've considered.

As Northampton's population has grown, new areas have been built on the outskirts of the town centre and the town's growth engulfed villages located nearby. As a result, many of Northampton's suburbs and areas have their own distinct identity and character.

Suburbs in Northampton

The town centre, carefully arranged around the central market square, is the heartbeat of the town, and with a Purple Flag from the Association of Town and City Management, Northampton's town centre is recognised for its safe and thriving nightlife. Central Northampton's accommodation options are varied: large Edwardian and Victorian homes in some parts, Victorian terraces in others, with some new developments and converted warehouses providing apartment living.


Two miles (3.2km) east of the town centre, Abington's highly sought-after accommodation comprises the aforementioned period houses and terraces. Abington neighbours the 100-acre Racecourse Park, and is a family-friendly suburb that is home to several outstanding schools.


East and West Hunsbury are located just south of the town centre. East Hunsbury has many comfortable and mature semi-detached houses, developed during the expansion of Northampton in the 1980s. West Hunsbury is a newer housing estate just off the M1, with a wider range of housing options including freestanding and semi-detached houses as well as row houses. The area is also home to Hunsbury Hill, an Iron Age fort.


Also south of the town centre, Delapré is home to the historical Delapré Abbey and its park estate, which is open to the public. The area boasts many fine freestanding homes, and is only two miles (3.2km) from the town centre.

Village living in Northamptonshire

Villages near Northampton strike a happy medium between rural and urban living, albeit at a price often higher than in the suburbs of Northampton. They afford their residents convenience and access to the town, but they largely retain their own identity and community.

Weston Favell

This former village is 3.5 miles (6km) from the town centre and is best known for its large shopping centre. Accommodation in Weston Favell is mostly composed of bay-fronted semi-detached and row houses from the early 20th century.


Kingsthorpe, originally a 1,000-acre parish just north of Northampton, has developed into a large residential area wrapped around its shopping front. The original village remains largely untouched, comprising cottages and row houses packed with character, many of which are marked for conservation. New housing developments in the area sport two- to five-bedroom homes.


Wootton is 5 miles (6km) south of Northampton, and is one of the more sought-after locations. It sports many traditional stone houses as well as modern homes.

Education and schools in Northampton

For expat families moving to Northampton, picking a school will be a priority, as this choice will have a critical influence on their children's transition into life in the UK. Most government schools and some private schools in the UK base admission on catchments, so parents' choice of school could influence their accommodation choices. The UK school year typically runs from September to July, with breaks in December, March/April and July/August.

The two main kinds of institutions in Northampton are state (public) and independent (private) schools. State and independent schools vary in quality, but independent schools often have the advantage of smaller classes and better facilities. Parents can look up prospective schools on the website of Ofsted, the government department for inspecting educational institutions.

State-funded schools in Northampton

State schools are free for citizens and legal residents, but their standard of education varies widely. Many state schools are separated by gender, and some are affiliated with a religious background. Several state schools in Northamptonshire are academies, meaning that they are managed by not-for-profit academy trusts instead of the local government. They sometimes have additional funding from local businesses, faith groups or voluntary organisations.

Some of Northampton's top state schools include Whitehills Primary School, Weston Favell CE Primary School and the Northampton School for Boys.

Independent schools in Northampton

Independent schools charge fees and are privately run. Most independent schools in Northampton teach the national curriculum, though some offer other curricula. Independent schools are not held to the same regulations as state schools, and they also often offer a higher teacher-student ratio, a wider or specialised range of subjects and extra-curriculars, and better facilities.

Independent schools near Northampton include Spratton Hall School, St Peter's School, Maidwell Hall and Oundle School, which was established in 1556.

International schools in Northampton

International schools present expat families the opportunity to continue their home curriculum while living in their host country, and they're good for those who plan on living in the UK for the short term. Although there are no international schools in Northampton, some expats choose one of the independent schools that offer the internationally recognised IB curriculum. 

Special-needs education in Northampton

Children in the UK are understood as having special educational needs if they have a disability or difficulty that means they need more support than children normally get. All mainstream schools in the UK have special educational needs consultants, and parents who think their children need extra support can ask for an assessment to develop an EHC (Education, Health and Care) plan.

As much as possible, children with special educational needs are kept in mainstream schools, with extra support that can include a special learning programme, provisions for the child's disability, or extra help from teachers or assistants. If the child requires more support than mainstream schools can provide, the child can be assigned to a special school. There are a number of outstanding special schools in Northampton that cater for children with various special educational needs.

Tutors in Northampton

Newcomers to Northampton may want to hire tutors, either to help their children get acquainted with the new curriculum or improve their English language skills – or retain their foreign-language skills. Tutors are straightforward enough to find; parents can ask teachers and fellow parents for recommendations or look online for reviews.

There's a wide variety of tutoring companies to choose from, with some of the most popular being Tutor House, Superprof and Tavistock Tutors.

Lifestyle in Northampton

As something of a commuter town, Northampton is often spoken of in terms of its access to London, Birmingham, Oxford and Cambridge among other cities, but Northampton has plenty of activities and attractions in its own right. This large historical town is also host to many historical sites and beautiful parks. Northampton town centre is recognised as a safe and vibrant location for nighttime entertainment.

Shopping in Northampton

There is an array of shopping centres and shops in Northampton to meet every shopping need. On most days, the market square hosts an open air market with various stalls and regular farmers' markets. Abington Street is now a pedestrianised shopping area, and the nearby Grosvenor Centre is home to over 60 restaurants and shops. Don't forget to pick up some locally produced footwear in the shoemaking capital of England.

Weston Favell Shopping Centre is on the outskirts of Northampton, and has over 60 high street and indie shops and restaurants, and it has one of the largest Tesco Extra stores in the UK. Further afield, shoppers can also visit Newlands Centre in Kettering or Swansgate in Wellingborough.

Eating out in Northampton

Northampton presents a surprising range of cuisine from restaurants, cafés and pubs. Although the town is littered with culinary delights throughout, the town centre has the highest concentration of food options. There are plenty of eating options at the abovementioned shopping centres, and the entertainment venues at Lings Forum and Sixfields also have food establishments.

Nightlife and entertainment in Northampton

As a popular university town, there are plenty of pubs, bars and late night clubs throughout Northampton's town centre. There is also some entertainment around the Sixfields Football Stadium, including tenpin bowling, go karting, wall climbing, cinema and live theatre. Lings Forum, near the Weston Favell Shopping Centre, also has a cinema along with a gym, racket courts, swimming pools, a sports hall and a dance studio. The Motorpoint Arena is one of the top entertainment venues in the Midlands, with 10,000 seats it hosts live music events, comedy, shows and sporting events

Outdoor activities in Northampton

Northampton is surrounded and interspersed with too many parks to mention, making for plenty of space to walk, run, cycle, picnic and play sports. Racecourse and Abington Park are two large and centrally located parks; the latter contains the ruins of medieval Abington. Delapré Park contains woods, lakes and the Delapré Abbey.

For those into water sports, the Nene Whitewater Centre has a 300-metre white water course, and Billing Aquadrome is a holiday park with a swimming pool, aqua park, soft play area, fishing lakes and more. For those more into pasture pool than swimming pools, there are golf courses in Collingtree Park, Delapré, Kingsthorpe and Brampton.

See and do in Northampton

Wollaton Hall

Set within 500 acres of beautiful parkland, Wollaton Hall is one of the country's finest Grade One listed Elizabethan houses. There is a museum and there are tours of the interior of the house, and a packed event program, but most people go to enjoy the park, and experience the stunning architecture.

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery

The Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is a celebration of the town's history, shoes and art, and has been operating since 1865. With more than 15,000 shoes, the shoe collection is one of the largest in the world, with items including sandals from Ancient Egypt and Queen Victoria's wedding shoes.

Museum of Leathercraft

Located in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, the Museum of Leathercraft is the largest collection of leathercraft in England, with over 8,000 items from across the world and throughout history. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the museum is free, though visitors will have to plan ahead and make an appointment.

Abington Park Museum

The Abington Park Museum is located in the old Tudor Abington manor house, and acts as a record of the area's evolution from a medieval estate to the wooded Northampton suburb it is today.

Delapré Abbey

Recently renovated and opened to visitors, Delapré Abbey traces its history back 900 years, when a Cluniac order of nuns founded the Abbey of St Mary de la Pré. In 1460, the Abbey meadow was the site of the Battle of Northampton during the Wars of the Roses. Nowadays, the Abbey hosts guided tours and education visits as well as various events, theatre productions, exhibitions and special displays.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Dating back to 1100, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the oldest standing building in Northampton. The central structure, the Round, was built by Simon de Senlis, a returning Crusader who wanted to create an homage to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. The building, recognised as both a National Treasure and a Building of International Significance, is of architectural interest, and visitors can trace the development and expansion of the church through the ages.

What's on in Northampton

Northampton Town Festival (July)

The Northampton Town Festival is an annual celebration of summer held at the immense Racecourse park. Everything imaginable is at the festival, including stalls, bars and displays, fireworks, hot air balloons and live music, stunt performances and fair games.

Autumn Food Festival (October)

Every October, the Abington Park Museum hosts a food festival with free entry. Visitors can take in the sights and smells and – for a price – taste of Northampton's culinary talents.

Christmas (December)

Christmas events in Northampton are held throughout the month of December, from light trails and carolling to Christmas markets and tree festivals.

Northampton Town & County Art Society Annual Exhibition (December – January)

For over 100 years, the Northampton Town & County Art Society has had an annual showcase of the area's top art. Casual viewers and art enthusiasts alike can make their way to Northampton Museum & Art Gallery to have a look at the year's best.

Getting around in Northampton

Nestled in the heart of England, Northampton is perfectly situated for easy travel through the country. With comprehensive road, bus and rail networks, getting around Northampton is relatively painless. Be that as it may, many of the town’s residents have opted for private vehicles to make chauffeuring the tots and travelling to the countryside a breeze.

Public transport in Northampton


Northampton’s bus station, North Gate Station, is where the local buses and coaches to nearby towns can be found. Stagecoach operates most of the local routes, but there are a few services that operate in the town centre and the outskirts of town as well.

Buses in Northampton are generally reliable and there are dedicated bus lanes which ensure that buses frequently arrive on schedule. Most services are fairly affordable and comfortable, and some even offer WiFi.

There are plenty of ways to pay for one’s bus trip in Northampton, including cash, contactless and using the specific service’s mobile app. The North Gate Buzz Card is an unlimited ticket, which is available for five services across Northampton, Grange Park, Moulton and Boughton, and is a great way to save money while commuting.


With more than 3 million rail commuters each year, Northampton has solidified its status as a commuter town. The rail network in the town forms part of the West Coast Main Line, and the recently renovated Northampton Train Station is one of the busiest in the region. The station usually opens between 6am and 9pm during the week and closes an hour earlier on Sundays.

Regular travellers will be happy to know that the rail network provides easy access to both north and south England, with trains to London, Birmingham and Milton Keynes every 20 minutes. The station also offers excellent amenities such as bicycle storage, parking and coffee shops.

Taxis in Northampton

Taxis are few and far between in Northampton, and new arrivals who live outside the town centre will have to call and book a taxi in advance. That said, new arrivals can still hail a hackney carriage off the street in the town centre and outside the rail and bus station.

Private taxis such as Skyline Taxis and Amber Taxis are also available using the company’s mobile app or by phone. New arrivals should ensure the taxi is licensed by the Northampton Borough Council before embarking on their journey. Licensed taxis will either have dark pink and white or white and yellow licence plates, as well as a meter. 

Driving in Northampton

Outside of public transport, driving in Northampton is one of the most popular ways to get around the town. Most residents prefer owning a private vehicle to make transporting the kids and travelling to the town centre more convenient. Still, new arrivals should consider car ownership carefully since Northampton charges a road tax and petrol and parking prices remain high.

Northampton’s road infrastructure is well established, and the town is a short hop away from major national highway networks, which lead to London and Birmingham in under two hours. The local council has recently introduced measures to ensure that motorists adhere to the town centre's road rules, including installing security cameras, so newcomers should take care to avoid being fined.

Cycling in Northampton

Cycling is a fun, free and healthy way to commute and cyclists in Northampton will feel right at home, thanks to the dedicated cycle paths and storage facilities. Unfortunately, the council-sponsored bicycle-hiring scheme is no longer operational. Cycling enthusiasts who do not have a set of wheels are in luck, though, as several private companies offer similar services.

The leisure cycling culture in Northampton is also thriving, and the Northampton Bike Park is the perfect place for adventure cyclists to enjoy some time in nature while honing their skills.

Air travel in Northampton

Northampton is conveniently located less than three hours away from Luton London Airport and Birmingham Airport, making it the perfect base for regular travellers as both airports operate local and international flights.