From a past built on boots, shoes and fashion to a future shaped around a regenerated town centre, Kettering stakes a claim as one of Northamptonshire's most appealing towns. Its name may echo its 10th-century beginnings, but the meaning, 'kinsfolk', still resonates today – you're sure to receive a warm welcome from locals, whether you're in town for an hour or settling in for a longer stay.
To get a true flavour of the town, head straight for the Heritage Quarter, just five minutes from the station. The Manor House Museum is the place to start for any visiting history buffs – it's home to a range of exhibitions, covering everything from the birth of the town to the Tudors to the ancient Egyptians. If you're more of an art lover, the nearby Alfred East Art Gallery is the place for you, boasting an ever-changing programme of exhibitions and a good collection of local artists – including Sir Alfred himself, of course.
Prefer your thrills less sedate? You're in luck. Kettering is home to one of the UK's very first theme parks. Built in 1913, Wicksteed Park is still open to visitors today – though of course, they've updated the rides since then! It's mainly geared towards kids, but there are a few thrill rides adults will love too, plus a 310m zip line and a climbing wall.
Once you're au fait with Kettering's past, how about a glimpse at its future? Head to Market Place, the newly developed square at the heart of town. Here trendy bars meet traditional pubs, while the floodlit fountains bubble under the watchful gaze of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul.