Located northwest of London in Northamptonshire is the endearing town of Oundle. Surrounded by the idyllic landscape of the beautiful English countryside Oundle is most well known for being a market town that is home to an almost Hogwarts-like boarding school.
Based on a quick Google search you may not think there’d be enough to keep you engaged in this small town. But the fact of the matter is that the internet cannot properly capture the charm of this quaint village. It is picturesque around every bend- making Oundle the perfect day trip to tack on to your visit to London, as it is only about an hour’s drive from Stansted Airport.
That being said, Girly Traveler proudly presents Oundle’s Take 5: Five ways to unwind and enjoy this postcard-perfect town, followed by items to take with you to fully enjoy your day there.
Take 5 in Oundle
1. Coffee in the Garden at the Talbot Hotel
Start your morning in Oundle with a coffee that’s been steeped in history. It’s said that the frame of the hotel is from 638AD. The building’s stone and staircase were brought in from the ruins of Fotheringhay Castle in 1626. Mary, Queen of Scots was executed in that castle after walking down the famed staircase, which is probably why there have been several accounts of her presence at the hotel. Whether you’re one for ghost stories or not, the history and beauty of the hotel cannot be denied. Enjoy a cup of coffee in their lovely garden or cozy up to the fireplace inside.
2. The Thursday Market
Arrange your day trip in order to visit Oundle on a Thursday so as not to miss the town’s farmers market surrounded by the architecture of Oundle’s town square. The town comes to life for this weekly market which showcases everything from cheese, to vegetables, to flowers, and even beautiful Turkish rugs and scarves. Don’t miss The Little Soup Kitchen, an adorable soup truck that sells heavenly creations hot and ready to eat or packaged for take away.
3. Picnic at Barnwell Country Park
The park is technically located just outside of Oundle, but an easy 10-15 minute walk will allow you to take in all of Oundle’s beauty along the way. Grab a warm soup and your favorite foods from the market and head to North Lake where you can picnic in tranquility with the swans that frequent the park.
4. Shopping with a side of Tea
On your way back through Oundle take advantage of the shops the town is known for – it is a market town, after all. There are so many adorable gift shops, like Romejo’s, Crackers, and Asha’s. Asha’s is located on the second floor of The Bazaar, which is a former chapel converted into a collection of shops. Stop in to enjoy afternoon tea in the surreal scenery of the beautiful chapel windows.
5. Sunset Stroll around St. Peter’s
End your day trip to Oundle by meandering around St. Peter’s Church just before sunset to have the perfect light to capture photographs of the buildings’ breathtaking architecture. You may also get a glimpse into the famous Oundle School which surrounds the church.
What to Pack
Now that you know what to do in Oundle, don’t forget to pack these items to take with you:
Oundle is a small town so it seems that everyone is in the know that when you go shopping (especially to the market) you bring your own bag. Grocery stores will actually charge you several pence for each bag you need. So it’s best to just bring your own since you will do your fair share of shopping in this town.
With all this talk of shopping you may be worried about busting your budget, but don’t be! Products are relatively inexpensive in Oundle (just another reason to love it!) It would be great to be able to carry small notes and coins with you, especially at the market where you’re not likely to spend over £2.50 for any given food item.
This is one town where you really need to know the time! Coffee shops and stores close at 6pm and restaurants don’t start dinner service until that time. However, these are small businesses and their owners can choose to close shop early (and do!) So set your watch to 5pm to make sure you’ve made it to every shop you hoped to explore by that time incase they close early.
Now you’re packed for a perfect day trip from London! So go explore, you incredible Girly Traveler!