Please enjoy this guest post from a reader who is enjoying their Life After London
We (myself, husband and two children 11 and 8 years old) had been living in Wandsworth, South West London until January of this year, when we headed to the Northamptonshire/Leicestershire border to live between the beautiful town of Uppingham and Market Harborough. Despite us both living in London for most of our lives, and our children growing up in the exciting and diverse City that London is, we knew that we wanted to give ourselves a steadier, less frantic life where we could indulge in country pursuits that this area has to offer for a family.
Northamptonshire boasts some incredible history with Rockingham Castle, built for William the Conqueror in 1460 during the Battle of Northampton in the Wars of the Roses. Henry VI was captured, Fothinghay Castle was used to imprison Mary Queen of Scots before her execution and in 1647, Charles the 1st was imprisoned in Holdenby House during the Battle of Naseby, to name but a few outstanding pieces of history.
The architecture in Northamptonshire is also fascinating with so many historical houses to visit around the county such as: Lamport Hall, Holdenby House, Kelmarsh Hall, Rockingham Castle, Althorp, Cottesbrooke Hall, Delapre Abbey, Rushden Hall and Whittlebury Hall. Many of these can be visited at certain times of the year and some are open all year round with spa and sporting facilities incorporated within the grounds.
Northamptonshire used to specialise in shoe making and made all the boots used by the soldiers in WW1. The county also specialised in ironstone quarrying, which is why many of the houses in the area are made with this stone.
We had been searching areas and schools for a couple of years prior to our move, and had already decided that we wanted our children, whether day or boarding, to be within an hour of our home. We also wanted a good commute of less than an hour for my husband who goes to the city of London daily.
There are many state and private schools in the area so we were spoilt for choice but we found in the words of the good schools Guide “an extraordinary School” in Spratton Hall, which is a co-ed independent school from ages 4 to 13, which is set in 50 acres of Northamptonshire countryside with a Georgian Manor House at its heart. From the moment we walked through the door to a warm welcome of a roaring log fire, fresh flowers and the chatter and laughter of children we all felt at home.
Spratton is a vibrant, happy, polite, inquisitive, dynamic and energetic family. A school that simply fires on all cylinders, be it academic, sport, drama or music. It is a school where we feel our children can be nurtured and grow in confidence, to be prepared for their next step in life having thrived under the positive, exciting and cohesive environment that is Spratton.
So far so good. We are looking forward to the annual festivals in the area such as the World Conker Championships, the Balloon Festival, Hollowell Steam Rally and of course the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. We are loving our move to the country, we are still busy, but spending more time as a family.
We are enjoying the peace and quiet, fresh air and having friends and family to visit. After all, when we feel like a quick London fix, it is only an hour by train from Market Harborough to St. Pancras or Northampton Station is an hour into Euston.