12 Cool things to do in Oundle
Packed with under the radar pockets of cool, we've rounded up our favourite fun and fabulous things to get up to on a day out in the picturesque market town of Oundle
This elegant enclave in the north of Northants is brimming with old world charm, but there’s more to Oundle than its genteel exterior would suggest, with thriving cultural and foodie scenes and plenty of adventures to be had for outdoorsy types. And, whilst you could happily live here and forget London even exists, you can also get there in a jiffy. Here’s our pick of the best things to do whilst you’re here.
With the well-heeled Oundle School at the heart of town (one of the oldest public schools in the country, whose diverse alumni include Caroline Criado Perez and Bruce Dickinson), there’s no scarcity of top notch eateries. Looking for Dalston vibes in the countryside? Tap and Kitchen, a bar and grill located in a warehouse at Oundle Wharf and overlooking a sheltered spur of the River Nene, do chilled dining to perfection and it’s not a bad spot for a cocktail or three. Boutique tea and coffee house Brew Babu is at the edge of the pretty market place, serving great food, fabulous afternoon teas and spectacular cakes in a lovely setting.
Nestled in a bend of the river, Oundle is a magnet for outdoor sports lovers and adrenaline junkies. Head to Nene Extreme Adventures, based at Oundle Wharf, where you can hire a canoe, kayak or SUP and paddle along this idyllic stretch of the Nene. Prefer messing about on the river with a G&T in hand? Are you allowed to drink in charge of a narrow boat? If so, try Nene Valley Boats, where you can hire a canal boat for a quiet pootle downstream towards Fotheringhay.
It’s easy to spend a few hours lightening your purse in the smattering of boutique and indie shops around Oundle, whilst pretending to be an extra in a Jane Austen adaptation (don’t say it’s just me). Muddy Award winning The Rounded House is a super stylish fashion and interiors store where you’ll find everything you could possibly need, from table lamps to designer jewellery. We are a bit in love with Foxtail Lilly, a beautiful barn shop selling homewares and locally grown flowers and plants with a dreamy country vibe, and book lovers should not miss out on a visit to The Oundle Bookshop. Set in a stunning porticoed Georgian building, it’s the perfect place to lose yourself for a while and emerge with a few extra tons of books to carry around.
Fancy a spot of cultural entertainment while you’re in town? Oundle is a bit of an arty and foodie hotspot, boasting a string of great venues and events. The annual Oundle Food Festival, taking place on Sat 18 June 2022, a bustling street market celebrating amazing local and national produce, right up our avenue. Then the Oundle International Festival runs from 8-16 July 2022, featuring Ronnie Scott’s Allstars, Mansfield Park the opera, Awful Auntie and loads more.
Part of Oundle School, the Stahl Theatre is situated in the delightfully intimate setting of a former chapel and hosts a brilliant and diverse range of productions, both from professional companies and pupils of the school. There’s also a clutch of fabulous art galleries here. The Yarrow, also attached to the school, shows work from students and professional artists, whilst the Dolby Gallery always has a beautiful collection of prints, paintings, ceramics and jewellery to admire and acquire.