£8million Delapre Abbey restoration opens next month in Northampton with jousting tournament and open weekend

Delapre Abbey is ready to open after three years of renovation.
Delapre Abbey is ready to open after three years of renovation.

A historic Northampton landmark will be ready to open next month after a three-year-long renovation project worth nearly £8million.

Delapre Abbey will reopen to the public on March 17 with a jousting tournament, a battle re-enactment and an open weekend.

The grade II* listed Medieval abbey, set in 600 acres of Parkland off London Road, has been brought back to life with a complete redecoration of its main rooms and is ready for visitors.

Councillor Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration said: “Delapré Abbey is a key cultural offering for Northampton and the public opening is a real milestone and something which everyone in Northampton can be rightly proud of. I’m certain there are many who are as excited as I am to take a first look at all the abbey has to offer.”

Work began in March 2015 with the restoration was funded by a £3.65million grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with some £4million pumped in by the borough council and the remaining cash coming from charities and donors.

Inside the Abbey there are five interactive storytelling zones to discover, which reveal the fascinating history of the building from its life as a nunnery, witnessing the events of the Battle of Northampton unfold, through to its heyday as a scandal-ridden Victorian country home.

Jonathan Platt, head of HLF East Midlands, said: “It’s brilliant to be able to start the countdown to the opening of Delapré Abbey, which is such an important asset for Northampton. We’re delighted that National Lottery players’ money has helped to conserve and enhance the building so that people can explore its fascinating history for the first time.”

Once open, history enthusiasts can visit six days a week over the summer months, reducing to four days a week in the winter, changing annual programme of events, workshops and activities, including regular weekend craft and food and drink markets which celebrate the best of what Northamptonshire has to offer

A visit will cost £7 for adults. Children up to and including the age of 18 get in free.