Although not well known as a royal residence, Grade I-listed Apethorpe Palace was once the home of Elizabeth I, who inherited the building from her father, Henry VIII. James I and Charles I also lived here, and James I extended the building, making it more suitable for 'princely recreation' and 'commodious entertainment', which in those days meant hunting in the nearby royal forest of Rockingham. His legacy from this Jacobean period is the series of staterooms including the King's Bedchamber and the Long Gallery, both impressively intact. Until recently known as Apethorpe Hall, the property was somewhat controversially bought by a French baron in 2014, after millions of pounds had been spent on its restoration. English Heritage and the new owner jointly agreed that the building would be open to the public for 50 days a year and would henceforth be known as Apethorpe Palace.
- Parking onsite
- Opening Times: Admission by pre-booked tour only Jul-Aug, call 0870 333 1183 for details
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About the area
Northamptonshire is a mainly rural county of gentle beauty, with farmland, forest and great country estates. Rivers, canals and meadows are all part of the tranquil scene, providing a haven for wildlife.
This is a great area for walking, touring and exploring villages of stone and thatch. There are also some impressive Saxon churches at Brixworth and Earls Barton. Northampton is the county town, and along with Kettering, has long been associated with the production of footwear. Kettering was the second largest town until it was overtaken by the rapid development of Corby as a major centre of the steel industry.
Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is set in Northamptonshire, although it seems that Austen never actually visited the county. Other famous connections include the poet John Dryden (1631-1700) who was born in the tiny village of Aldwincle; King Richard III (1452-1485) born at Fotheringhay Castle; and American revolutionaries George Washington (1732-1799), whose family came from Sulgrave Manor, and Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) whose father was born in another tiny Northamptonshire village called Ecton.
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