21 fab things to do in 2021
As we bid good riddance the year we'd all prefer to forget, it's time to start planning for our freedom. Here's our pick of all the best things to do in Northants in 2021.
The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club, The Roadmender, Northampton, 5 Feb
Finally, you can put on your dancing shoes. The high priest of soul is about to get the party started like no one else can. Craig Charles’ 6 Music show is always on in our kitchen on a Saturday evening as we get the dinner ready. Yes, we are sad and don’t go out much. But now we will!
You might not be able to do laps in a McLaren, but you can get your trainers on and run the iconic race track at Silverstone Circuit as part of Run Silverstone. Choose from a 5k, 10k or half marathon event. Now if we can just peel ourselves off the sofa…
Othello, Royal and Derngate, 19 Feb – 6 Mar
I don’t know about anyone else but I’m currently a bit obsessed with the 90s rave scene, which is absolutely a symptom of being cooped up with barely any human contact for months. The idea of dancing with thousands of happy revellers fills me with delight, so naturally i’m pretty excited about this new production of Othello, a collaboration between the Royal and Derngate and The National Youth Theatre, set against a backdrop of hedonism. As it’s Othello though, I’m guessing it’s not all utopian dreams…
Northampton Museum and Art Gallery opening.
After an incredible but drawn out renovation and extension process to the tune of £6.7, Northampton Museum and Art Gallery was all set to open in June 2020 but for one small obstacle. Yes, we need not state the obvious. But we are keeping everything crossed for the grand opening to take place in early 2021 and finally the unveiling of the new shoe gallery. Praise be! Watch this space.
Alan Carr: Not Again, Alan! Royal and Derngate, 17 & 18 Mar
Northampton’s very own Alan Carr returns to the shire as part of his first stand up tour in four years. It’s possible that we’re getting ready to activate our comedy release valve and have a bit of a laugh at our own expense, so expect irreverent reflections on a year of abject chaos.
Back to the 80s with Martin Kemp, The Roadmender, Northampton, 27 March
Star of Spandau, Kray brother and Eastenders heartthrob Martin Kemp hits the decks for an 80s nostalgia fest. You couldn’t ask for a higher authority on 80s tunes than Mr Kemp, so don your ra-ra skirt and shoulder pads. We’re going in.
Kelmarsh Show, 4 & 5 April
A family-friendly festival and country show jam-packed with loads of live entertainment, music, food and drink, shows and shopping. There’s camping available plus you can even bring your pooch along. A fab way to kick off festival season.
Romesh Ranganathan: The Cynic’s Mixtape, Royal and Derngate, 27 & 28 April
The nation’s favourite self-deprecating cynic is back to talk about all the biggest scams we’re subject to as a nation. This could be close to the bone this year, but you be the judge of that, it’ll defo be a chuckle.
Rockingham International Horse trials, Rockingham Castle, May
This annual event is a fab day out even if you’re not a horsey type, with fabulous food stalls, champagne tents and luxury shopping to accompany the eventing. Grab your girlfriends and don your Panama hat. Dates TBC.
Gastronomes, loosen your waistbands for a foodie paradise in the most beautiful surroundings and positively heaving with celeb chefs, masterclasses, culinary event and incredible food and drink, there’s no better way to spend a sunny weekend in May. Dates TBC.
Pete Tong & The Heritage Orchestra present Ibiza Classics – Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton, 25 June
Please let us not have to say that this one went Pete Tong! Home of the Saints, Franklin’s Gardens, plays host to the iconic godfather of the Ibiza dance scene for a night of hedonistic dancing and laser light shows to bring on those summer vibes.
Artisan food and drink stalls, chef demos, talks and tastings at what has become the foodie event of the year since its inception in 2014, Towcester Food Festival is a wonderful family day out and a great place to stock up on tasty morsels from local producers.
Northampton Town Festival, 2-4 July
Hot air balloons, a fun fair, live music, fireworks, stunt riders and loads of food and drink stalls, this brilliant festival celebrates the best of Northampton and the balloons remain one of the most popular and magical events of the year.
Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone, 16-18 Jul
You can watch Lewis zoom along the newly re-named Hamilton Straight at this year’s Silverstone GP, but it’s not just about the cars. There’s a whole festival going on, with camping, food, a fun fair, live music and celeb spotting, so even if you’re not a petrol head it’s not to be missed.
Silverstone Classic, Silverstone Circuit, 31 Jul – 1 Aug
As well as historic racing cars and classic cars as far as the eye can see, there’s also family activities, live music, street-food, shopping, camping and a fun fair at the Silverstone Classic, so prepare for a weekend of high-octane fun.
Oundle International Festival, July 2021
Thousands of people flock to picturesque Oundle for this ten day celebration of music and the arts. The festival takes place in mid-July and the classical music that is the foundation of the festival is now accompanied by jazz, folk, world music, film, theatre and loads more. Dates TBC.
Fake Festival, Northampton Racecourse, 31 July
It is time to put aside your preconceptions about tribute bands and embrace the unbridled joy of spending day at a music festival where you can sing your heart out to every banger that blares through the PA. Fake Festival is a day of pure tribute acts including fake Pink, fake Oasis and the fake Stone Roses, it’s time to crank up the nostalgiometer.
Shambala Festival, Kelmarsh Hall, 26-29 Aug
Power ballad yoga at sunrise, anyone? We’re blessed to have one of the original and best family summer festivals right here in Northants. Shambala as we know it couldn’t take place in 2020, so it’s bound to be a sell out this year as everyone scrambles for their utopian adventure. Expect music, dancing, storytelling food, crafts and loads more.
Greenbelt Festival, Boughton House, 27-30 Aug
If you’ve had enough of flying solo and being cooped up in the house this past year (err, yeah) then get yourself down to Greenbelt for the August Bank Holiday weekend, it’s a celebration of humanity like no other, where spiritual meets secular and nurtures everything in between.
Sarah Millican: Bobby Dazzler, Royal and Derngate, 11, 18 & 21 Nov
Sarah Millican never fails to make us howl with laughter, her observational comedy is bang on, especially when it comes to the uniquely tragi-comic experiences of women. She’s our generation’s Victoria Wood, go with you girlfriends for maximum hilarity.
Tim Peake, Royal and Derngate, 28 Nov
It was difficult to know what the next adventure could possibly be after space had been ticked off the bucket list, but Northampton’s Royal and Derngate theatre was the obvious choice for Tim Peake, who will be talking about his experiences as an astronaut and reflections on life aboard the International Space Station.