Are you thinking of moving out of London but don't know where to settle?
If you are already familiar with Northamptonshire, then its virtues will not need to be extolled to you - it is a well known fact that not many people move away once they are here !!
For those new to the area, the 'secret Shire' of Northamptonshire is the best kept 'secret' that Stacks can share with its househunters.
Why not explore Northamptonshire to see if it could work for you and your family's next home?
No.1 It's not very 'north' at all
Whilst 'North' is in the title, the majority of Northamptonshire is still technically 'south' - being south of Watford Gap services on the M1.
Those that have discovered they can commute from Northampton and Milton Keynes to London Euston, and to London Marylebone from Banbury in 50 minutes are reaping the benefits from living in this rural idyll, with excellent education options for their children.
For those moving out of Midland cities such as Birmingham & Coventry, the trainlines are equally convenient. The county is bracketed by the M1 & M40 motorways giving superb access to the rest of the country's road networks.
Additionally however, if you need to go north you are starting already past the long trudge out of London to see the in-laws on a Friday night - a massive bonus, we all agree!
No.2 It's as ridiculously pretty as the Cotswolds but without the crowds of tourists
Northamptonshire's traditional ironstone has a similar beauty, creating breath-takingly stunning properties set in classic English countryside of rolling hills and gentle vales - that are not plagued by tourists during the holiday season.
The region's prosperous market towns boast a heritage visible in their elegant and substantial properties, whilst the countryside is well stocked with grand houses as well as comfortable farm houses and charming cottages in well-kept villages.
Agricultural and equestrian properties are also of a high quality, and those looking to engage fully with the rural life will be more than satisfied with Northamptonshire's offerings.
Northamptonshire's characteristic stone is darker, warmer colour than Cotswold stone. As you go North and East it gets even deeper coloured.
The "iron" in the ironstone oxidises as it is exposed to air, becoming darker with time. If you see a patch of deep rust-red those stones may have come from a fireplace as the heat has oxidised the iron thoroughly.
'Blue' seams are rarer, but contrast spectacularly with the tawny stone. Particularly fashionable right now, the 'blue' is more accurately greeny-greyish-blue....
Look closely, you can often see fossils in the stone casually scattered in the least important slab
No.3 You need never be idle … unless you choose to be
The villages and bustling market towns provide the full scope of relaxation and entertainment options.
Villages have vibrant communities who welcome newbies into the fold, with sports, activities and social event programmes that provide something for everyone. The countryside itself provides endless opportunities for relaxation, be it on its canals and rivers, wandering or cycling along the vast network of footpaths, or just idling away your time on the village green.
Rural pursuits such as fishing, hunting, shooting, racing and riding are available, alongside less animal-centric actvities such as cricket, football, golf, tennis etc. at grassroots level as well as more professionally, with Northampton's rugby team, the Saints, featuring high on the list for match-going aficionados.
Northamptonshire's central location and excellent travel links means that the advantages of the rest of the Midlands region are also close at hand, as well as providing convenient sites for premier venues for national activities such as motor racing at Silverstone & Rockingham and horse racing at Towcester.
No.4 : The whole package for the whole family
In addition to the myriad of the activities available, the essentials of life are also top notch in Northamptonshire.
The schools available, both privately and within the State system, are undoubtedly some of the best in the country.
The market towns combine the amenities of a larger conurbation with the individuality of independent shops and flourishing artistic communities.
Companies and development are actively encouraged in the region, perhaps an added draw if commuting is not necessary for you.