Northampton's most famous former industry was shoemaking. The Central Museum and Art Gallery charts the history of the trade from its earliest beginnings to the present day - its World Famous Shoe Collection includes Roman shoes, Queen Victoria's slippers and even a pair of David Beckham's football boots.
A short distance from the town centre you can find out about another Northampton industry at the Museum of Leather, situated in the delightful Abington Park, the town's oldest and most popular green space. Other cultural attractions include The Deco, a restored 1930s cinema whose stunning auditorium now hosts drama, comedy and live music; and the Old Fishmarket, which houses three art galleries with regular exhibitions. There's also the quirky Express Lift Tower, locally called the Northampton Lighthouse or Cobbler's Needle.
Believe it or not, the tower was actually built for testing lifts at the now-closed Express Lifts Factory. If you're keen to get some shopping in before you go, the best range of stores can be found at the nearby Grosvenor Centre and Weston Favell Centre malls. But Northampton also has an attractive, historic market square that dates back to 1235. Markets are held daily Monday to Saturday.