Northampton is the county town of Northamptonshire, one of England’s East Midland shires. The town lies practically equidistance between London and Birmingham and is an important central hub, thanks to its proximity to the M1 motorway and Grand Union Canal. Standing on the River Nene and with a population of ~220,000, it is one of the largest towns in England. With a cathedral and university, it has applied for city status several times but has so far been unsuccessful.
The Establishment and Growth of Northampton
Archaeological evidence has shown human settlement in Northampton as early as the Bronze Age with a Neolithic earthwork at Briar Hill. In the Iron Age, around 400 BC, there was a hill fort at Hunsbury Hill. Come Roman times — there was a settlement at Duston. When the Danes invaded England, Northampton became a strategic stronghold until 921 AD. This was when it was ceded to Edward the Elder, the Saxon King of Wessex.
With the Norman Conquest, the town gained prominence, again its central location being of importance. The Domesday book records Northantone as having a population of 2,000 living in 316 houses. Simon de Senlis built a castle and fortified walls in 1084, which was occasionally used as a royal residence, housed the Royal Treasury and also hosted 32 parliaments. The castle’s main historical connection is that it was the location for the trial of Thomas a Becket in 1164 (who was later murdered in Canterbury Cathedral).
Northampton played a majorly significant role in English mediaeval history. The de Senlis family extended the reach and importance of the town with the construction of Delapre Abbey, three churches and a priory. The market square was a busy, thriving place.
Mediaeval conflicts, including the Barons’ War, the Wars of the Roses, the Black Death pandemic, the later plague and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, laid ruin to Northampton over 400 years. Since then, it was never able to regain its wealth and powerful status. Its castle was destroyed on orders of Charles II as punishment for the town’s support of the parliamentarians in the English civil war.
After supplying 4,000 pairs of boots to Cromwell’s New Model Army, Northampton became a centre of shoe manufacturing, but the town was mostly destroyed in the Great Fire of 1675. Manufacturing recommenced after reconstruction, and the population doubled in response to the demand to fit Wellington’s armies with footwear. Trading was greatly assisted with the construction of the Grand Union Canal connecting the town directly with London and Birmingham, and Northampton’s shoemakers were once again called upon to fit armies with footwear with the advent of the World Wars. Post-war, Northampton became a new town and greatly expanded. Although, it has never achieved that coveted city status.
The Main Attractions of Northampton
Sadly, so much of the town’s history and the site of Northampton Castle no longer exists (just a small section of wall on Castle Hill, but other legacy remains).
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Grade II listed church, built around 1100, is one of only four remaining round churches in England. It is believed Simon de Senlis decided to build the Church of the Holy Sepulchre after seeing the church of the same name (and design) in Jerusalem while on a crusade.
Founded as a nunnery in 1145, Delapre Abbey is a neo-classical mansion incorporating some of the original mediaeval buildings. The pleasant gardens and grounds are a protected War of the Rose battlefield.
Abington Park Museum
Once home to one of William Shakespeare’s granddaughters, the early 16th-century manor house also had a life as a lunatic asylum. These days, Abington Park Museum tells the social history of Abington and the story of the Northamptonshire Regiment.
Northampton Museum and Art Gallery
The Northampton Museum and Art Gallery began life as the Shoe Museum but has expanded to include galleries to exhibit the history of Northampton and works of art.
A large holiday and leisure park covering one square kilometre, Billing Aquadrome has a marina, funfair, entertainment venue, fishing lakes and indoor swimming pool.
Althorp House and Estate
Althorp House is a Grade I listed stately home. As the ancestral seat of the Spencer family, it was the childhood home of and burial place of Diana, Princess of Wales. The grounds are a few miles outside Northampton. During summer, the house and burial site are open to visitors.
Introducing the New UK ETA for Northampton
By the end of 2024, border control in the UK will be fully digitalized, and under the Nationality and Borders Act, all foreign visitors will require a UK ETA to enter the country. The Electronic Travel Authorisation will be in operation for all ports of entry – airports, sea ports and Eurostar ports.
The new process will simplify and speed up the travel process. The applications are quicker to complete and do not require a potential traveller to attend a British embassy or consulate as per current visa application requirements. Border control officers are also able to make assessments of every potential visitor in a more timely and accurate manner.
Who needs a UK ETA for Northampton?
Every foreign visitor who wants entry to the UK will need to obtain an ETA. This applies whether you are visiting or transiting and regardless of whether the purpose of the visit is leisure, business, study or medical treatment. It applies to all European Union countries and all current visa-exempt countries, such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
To check which countries are subject to the need for a UK ETA, see the eligibility list. There are currently 92 listed. There are no age rules for an ETA. Every traveller needs an ETA, regardless of age, unless they are exempt.
Who is exempt from needing a UK ETA?
All British passport holders are exempt from needing a UK ETA for Northampton. This also applies to people who hold various statuses of British citizenship who, according to the eligibility list noted above, are:
• British Overseas Territories citizens
• British Overseas Nationals
• British Overseas citizens
• British protected persons
• British subjects without the right of abode in the United Kingdom
Also exempt are holders of Republic of Ireland passports.
How long does an ETA last?
A UK ETA is valid for 180 days from the date of issue, and the traveller can freely travel throughout the United Kingdom during this period. If your passport expires earlier than the ETA expiry date, your ETA will also become invalid at that time. If your ETA is due to expire during your stay, you must apply for a new ETA to continue your visit. Anyone wishing to work in the UK or visit long-term must apply for a visa.
How to apply for a UK ETA for Northampton?
The ETA application process is all online. You do not have to submit any documentation, and no paperwork is issued. When an ETA is issued, it is electronically linked to your passport. To apply, you need a current national biometric passport, a valid email address, and a debit or credit card. You will be asked to provide the following information:
• Personal identification information
• Contact details
• Passport information
• Work information
You will also be asked to make disclosures regarding the following:
• Previous immigration history
• Criminal history
• Drug history
• Interaction with terrorism
• Personal health
How is an ETA issued?
An ETA application is expected to be processed within 48 to 72 hours. On acceptance, an eDocument is linked to your passport, and this will facilitate your entry into the UK via eGates. The process change to ETAs maintains that carriers will continue to be responsible for ensuring travellers have valid permission to enter the UK, so your ETA will be lodged in the Advance Passenger Information system to enable the checks to be made.
Without an ETA (or visa, if applicable), you will not be allowed to board a plane, ferry or Eurostar train. More information about the UK ETA for Northampton can be found in ETA FAQ.