Places to visit
We’re very lucky to have some great places to visit close to the Sourdough School. If you’re staying over for a day or two when you come to the school for a course, or have family with you who will need entertaining while you are busy making dough, here are some ideas for days out, shopping trips and places to eat.
Stately Homes & Gardens
Just a 10 minute drive from the school, Althorp has been home to the Spencer family for over 500 years. The house has endless rooms filled with fine furniture, ceramics and paintings, and an estate stretching to 550 acres. There are refreshments available at reasonable prices in Althorp’s café and a gift shop for mementos. The house and grounds are open to the public through the summer (check the website for dates before visiting). Other attractions include the Food & Drink Festival in spring and Literary Festival in autumn.
Phone: 01604 770107
The 20 acres of gardens at Holdenby House are well worth a visit. Parts of the garden were replanted by the wonderful garden designer, Rosemary Verey. The estate is also home to Icarus Falconry, who offer you the chance of a one-to-one hands on experience with the birds. The gardens are open on Sundays and bank holidays during the summer, and private tours of the house can be arranged on weekdays. Check the website for the special events organised for this year.
Phone: 01604 770074
Cottesbrooke Hall & Gardens
A beautiful Queen Anne house which is home to the Macdonald-Buchanan family. A tour of the hall takes about 45 minutes and is always interesting. The inspiring gardens feature a statue walk, reflecting pool and Dutch garden. James Alexander-Sinclair and Arne Maynard are among the designers who have worked their magic in the gardens. There are refreshments available (the homemade cakes are good) from The Old Laundry. Check the website for opening times.
Phone: 01604 505808
Castle Ashby Gardens
A lovely place for a day out, especially for families. There are 35 acres of gardens along with a tea room and plant centre. The menagerie and children’s play area are always a big hit with younger members of the family, and the seating around the play area offers a welcome sit down for weary parents. Picnics are allowed in the gardens.
Phone: 01604 695200
Coton Manor Garden
Coton Manor Gardens are just over 6 miles away. If I were to recommend one place not to miss, it is these beautiful gardens set on a hillside around the most gorgeous 17th century manor house. Coton Manor is built with mellow Northamptonshire stone and the garden, landscaped on different levels, has interest all year round. There are streams, fountains and a pond, as well as a magical five acre bluebell wood and colourful wildflower meadow, at its best in June & July. There is an extensive nursery, the Stableyard Café with really delicious homemade cakes, and a garden shop. Coton Garden School offers a wide selection of horticultural courses thoughout the year.
Phone: 01604 740219
The Althorp Coaching Inn, Great Brington
With oak beams, flagstone floors and a roaring log fire, The Althorp Coaching Inn is all you would expect from a traditional village pub. This 16th century coaching inn, just 7 miles from the school, is a listed stone and thatch building. It has a courtyard, an enclosed garden and a beautiful, vintage-style barn. The inn specialises in quality British food, real ales and fine wines. The menu ranges from bar meals to classic restaurant dishes, made from locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.
Phone: 01604 770651
The Griffin Inn, Pitsford
The Griffin Inn is a proper village pub, and at the centre of our village community. A selection of local ales are served along-side delicious home-cooked pub favorites – they have a steak menu, chef’s specials boards, light lunch options, and then there’s the chef’s legendary traditional Sunday roast.
Phone: 01604 880346
The White Horse at Old
Travel past Pitsford Water from the Sourdough School and you will arrive in Old, a small village with The White Horse at the centre. The seasonal menu offers a range of delicious dishes, with daily specials and plenty of choice for vegetarians. There are also artisan pizzas, baked in an outdoor wood-fired oven. Many of the dishes can be served in child sized portions for younger diners. The pub stocks a good range of craft beers and heritage ciders too. Check their website for details of the monthly quiz nights and live music.
Phone: 01604 781297
The Red Lion, Main Street, East Haddon
A cosy thatched pub in a peaceful, idyllic village surrounded by picturesque Northamptonshire countryside. The Red Lion specialises in serving great British food, cooked using local seasonal produce. The pub has an intimate lounge, a large dining room and manicured gardens, and is just 6 miles from The Sourdough School.
Phone: 01604 770223
The Artichoke, Church Street, Moulton
The Artichoke is one of the closest pubs to the school. It specialises in food cooked using quality, local ingredients. Their meat is sourced from the local butcher’s, sausages from Mike’s pigs of Moulton, and the vegetables are delivered daily. This Grade II listed building dates back to 1680 and the owners think it was originally a farmhouse and village inn. It has a lovey, private and dog-friendly garden with plenty of seating for guests. There is regular live entertainment, including quizzes, jazz nights and fold nights.
Phone: 01604 643941
Fishing at Pitsford Reservoir
Another idea for an activity at Pitsford Reservoir. You can get day permits from the fishing lodge, and if you are new to fly fishing but want to give it a try, there are beginner courses run throughout the year.
Phone: 01604 781350
Cycle Hire, Pitsford Reservoir
Pitsford Reservoir is practically on our doorstep and we often visit to walk or cycle. The reservoir trail is an easy seven mile track, with lots of benches for picnics and a café too. You can hire bikes from Pitsford Cycles to pedal around the reservoir, or venture further afield along the Brampton Valley Way between Northampton and Market Harborough (14 miles).
Phone: 01604 881777
We’re lucky to have a number of golf clubs within easy driving distance of the school. The two listed below are the closest, and both welcome visitors. They do recommend that you contact them in advance to ensure that you’ll be able to get out on the course. Please note a valid handicap is required in order to play at both clubs.
Northamptonshire County Golf Club
Phone: 01604 843025
Northampton Golf Club
Food & Drink
A small vineyard based just outside Brixworth, on south-facing slopes overlooking Pitsford Reservoir. Planted in 2002 by my parents and husband, the first wine was produced in 2005. It was an amazing moment, as we all tasted the sparkling, white and rose wines for the first time. I’m perhaps a little biased, but I think it’s the best wine in the country. And it’s not just me, wines produced at Fleurfields have won 12 of the most prestigious wine awards in the UK in the past 2 years alone… and the vineyard exports to France. Producing a range of wines including a white table wine, a rose, and several champagne-style which are made in the exact same way as champagne. If you would like to arrange a visit or tasting then phone (01604) 880197 to find out opening times.
Phone: 01604 880197
Smiths Farm Shop, Chapel Brampton
This is a great place to buy local, seasonal produce, including pretty much anything you could want for a picnic lunch if you’re planning a day out. As well as fresh fruit and vegetables (some of them home grown during the summer), there’s a delicatessen counter offering a range of delicious treats, including cheeses and locally made cakes and brownies.
Phone: 01604 843206
Farndon Fields, Market Harborough
A good place to visit if you arrive early in the area and are looking for breakfast. Farndon Fields is a farm shop with a café. Both the breakfasts and lunches served in the café are made using as much local produce as possible. The shop stocks a range of fresh fruit and veg, bread, deli produce and locally made beers and wines.
Phone: 01858 464838
Cinema & Theatre
Royal & Derngate, Northampton
We’re lucky to have this great arts and entertainment venue in the centre of Northampton. It offers a varied a programme of plays, music and comedy – check their website for details of what’s on while you are in the area. The Royal & Derngate is also home to the Errol Flynn Cinema (see below).
Phone: Box office 01604 624811
Errol Flynn Cinema
A great night out. Northampton’s arthouse cinema, showing everything from classic black and white films to the latest Hollywood blockbusters. Check their website for information on what’s on.
Phone: Box office 01604 624811
Other places we love to visit
Just a short drive from the school, Market Harborough is a lovely town with a wide range of boutique shops, and lots of independent cafes and restaurants. There are small streets and yards to explore, and the historic market hall houses stalls selling everything from food to antiques.
A small gallery in Moulton, just a short drive from Pitsford. The gallery exhibits and sells original art work by contemporary artists. They also run workshops – check the website for details. If you’re in need of refreshment, there’s a coffee shop serving hot drinks, cakes, lunches and afternoon tea.
Phone: 01604 492192
Friends of All Saints Church, Brixworth
Just a few miles from the school, on the road to Market Harborough, the church at Brixworth is worth a stop. It dates from about 680AD and has been in continuous use as a place of worship since that time. Open to the public during the hours of daylight, step inside to view the stained glass windows. Guided tours are available if arranged in advance.