Interactive tours shine a light on Northampton’s rich history

Published: Tuesday, 23 July 2019

This summer people will get the opportunity to delve into Northampton’s history by taking part in regular interactive ‘mystery’ tours delivered by Northampton Borough Council and the Looking Glass Theatre.

The theatrical tours have been taking place at various town centre locations, on a monthly basis since January. However additional tours over the school summer holiday period, delivered as part of the #CelebrateNorthampton summer programme, will help highlight more characters and stories from the town’s past, and allow more people to take part.

The summer tours began on Saturday 20 July, with a focus on ‘Famous Figures from Northampton’s Past’. This will be followed up in August with a bumper month including two tours a day from Saturday, 3 August until Thursday, 8 August.

On Saturday, 3 August attendees will get the chance to explore the ‘Rebels and Trades’ of Northampton at 10am and noon. With a particular focus on Oliver Cromwell, attendees with get the chance to visit the historic 16th century Hazelrigg House and other nearby venues.

Then four days of heritage activities will follow, including reruns of previously sold out tours. The ‘Law and Order’ tour around The Guildhall and Sessions House will take place at noon and 2pm on Monday, 5 August. This is followed by ‘The Guildhall’ tour at noon and 2pm on Tuesday 6 August.

Audience members will then be transported back hundreds of years into ‘Theatreland’ past, enjoying travelling players as they walk the town centre streets on Wednesday 7 August at noon and 2pm.

The heritage days, which also include daily performances of Red Rumpus’s ‘100 Years of Northampton in 15 minutes’ catwalk show and classic bus tours, will wrap up on Thursday 8 August. At 10am and noon, audience members will learn about the origins of ancient street names and the uses of certain town centre buildings during the ‘Forgotten Places’ tour.

Summer tours come to an end on Sunday 15 September with two sessions of the ‘Hidden Secrets’ tour taking place at 1pm and 3pm.

Councillor Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “Our partnership with the Looking Glass Theatre is really helping to highlight key characters and milestones from the town’s past in a fun and unique way.

“This year’s tours have proved really popular and many have sold out within a few days of the tickets being released, so we would encourage anyone who is interested to book their places fast! And don’t forget to check out what else is happening over the summer holidays.”

James Smith from the Looking Glass Theatre said: “Looking Glass have thoroughly enjoyed providing the historical interactive tours and are excited to be offered the opportunity to repeat some of the following walks from earlier this year: 'Law and Order', 'The Tour of The Guildhall', 'Theatreland' and 'Hidden Secrets'.  There is also a new tour entitled 'Rebels and Trades' which will bring history to life through Oliver Cromwell.

“We would like to thank Northampton Borough Council for making this possible through the partnership and so being able to bring the important history of Northampton alive to audiences of all ages".

Tickets to the Northampton Mystery Tours can be booked for £2 per person at

View the #CelebrateNorthampton summer programme at