Northampton Saints - Franklin's Gardens
Image: Sale fan James Mooney
Saints were formed in 1880 and have traditionally been one of the major
forces in English club rugby. In the professional era the club have
been a regular in the Premiership, aside from one year spent in the
Championship in the 2007-08 season. After challenging on numerous
occasions, the club lifted the English Premiership trophy for the first
time in 2014 following a narrow win over Saracens in the final at
Twickenham. That victory was avenged the following year when the Saints
were downed by Sarries after topping the table in the regular season.
The club's European pedigree is good too - the Saints won the European Cup in 2000 and have also triumphed in the English domestic cup competition (twice) and the second-tier European Challenge Cup (twice, most recently in 2014). The club have a fierce rivalry with their neighbours Leicester Tigers.
The club's home since the late 1880s is Franklin's Gardens, a great purpose-built rugby stadium just outside the town centre.
Ground Information Back to Top ^
Franklin's Gardens is a fully enclosed ground located just to
the West of the town centre and railway station. The surrounding area
is quite industrial-looking, but the main bars, hotels and restaurants
in the centre of town are within easy reach. The rear of the Tetley's
Stand is visible as you as you enter the ground, and runs the length of
the pitch. The Gordon Terrace runs along the front of this stand and
provides a covered standing area, whilst at the rear there are
corporate facilities. Behind the goal to the left of the
Tetley's Stand is the Burrda Stand, developed in 2005 and providing
covered seating and more boxes. The Church's stand sits opposite the
Tetley's and is also an all-seater stand.
At the North end of the ground is the Sturtridge Pavillion, which is made primarily of corporate boxes with no general access. Plans are afoot to demolish this stand and replace it with a new 2,000 seater stand, with aspirations for development to be complete in time for the 2015-16 season.
The Burrda Stand
Image: Sale fan James Mooney
Getting There Back to Top ^
Franklin's Gardens is fairly motorist-friendly. There are 1,500 car parking places available, which are well signposted on the approach to the stadium. Northampton Borough Council have also granted the use of further car parks adjacent to the club's. Saints fan David does warn that getting out following a matchday can be a challenge, especially when nearby Northampton Town FC are playing. A traffic management scheme may be in place to help traffic flow, and you could find some roads closed and others adapted.
To get to the ground by car, it's recommended to stay on the ring road as far as possible (look for the 'R' signs) then follow the signs for the rugby ground.
The folks at JustPark also offer private parking in the area around the stadium - shown in the map below.
station is within a short walk of the stadium (approximately 20
minutes). Upon leaving the station, turn right for the stadium or left
for the town centre and the majority of bars, hotels and restaurants .
Services are provided by London Midland and regularly depart for London
Euston (55 minutes) and Birmingham New Street (65 minutes).
The number 22 bus, operated by Stagecoach operates approximately every 20 minutes from the train station to the ground.
In addition to the Number 22 bus, Stagecoach buses 9/9A, 5 and D1/2/3 also go past the ground, stopping at the Beacon Bingo hall close to Franklin's Gardens.
The closest airport to Northampton is Birmingham International, which as one of the busiest in the UK offers flights to a range of domestic and international destinations. From the airport there are direct rail links to Northampton in less than an hour.
London Luton Airport
London Luton is around 40 miles from Northampton, and there is a direct bus service operated by National Express between the two, taking just over an hour.
East Midlands Airport
East Midlands Airport (located between Nottingham and Derby) is about 50 miles from Northampton, though the journey by public transport isn't that straight forward. From the airport, you first need to take a bus to Derby before taking a train and changing at least once en route. You can check out what connections are best for you on the National Rail website.
Drinking Back to Top ^
The main place to grab a drink is the big marquee situated behind the Burrda stand. Despite big crowds there is a good system in place so service is quick and easy. There are four other bars open to the public within the grounds - the Heroe's Bar at the South of the Tetley's stand, the Rodber Suite in the middle of the same stand, a small bar on the first floor of the Burrda Stand and another in the Church's Stand.
If you're after coffee or soft drinks, the Village is your best bet.
Before/After the Game
There are a few popular spots for fans in this rugby-mad town.
- The Sevens has just reopened right opposite the ground.
- The Thomas a Becket is a popular pre-match stop, as it is situated in between the train station and the ground. Has a beer garden to manage the overflow on busy days.
- The Wig and Pen is a traditional real ale pub situated in the town centre on Saint Giles Street. Popular with the rugby crowds and offers a wide selection of ales, ciders and beers.
- The Foundrymans Arms is recommended by Saints fan Craig. The pub offers a friendly welcome and a good selection of beer within a 5 minute walk of the ground, and is en-route from the town / station.
- There is a large O'Neills on the Drapery in the town centre.
Sale fan James Mooney
Eating Back to Top ^
Away from the ground, all of the local pubs listed above serve food, and there is a fish & chip shop and Indian restaurant opposite the ground on Weedon Road. 20 minutes walk to the West of Franklin's Gardens where Weedon Road meets the A45, you'll find Sixfields Retail Park with a number of chain restaurants and fast food joints.
A big thanks to Saints fan David for his input to this page.
Sleeping Back to Top ^With the ground only a short walk away, your best bet is probably to stay close to the action in the centre of town. Close to the train station on Gold Street you will find the Ibis and Travelodge, with the Park Inn not far away on Silver Street.
Make a Trip of It Back to Top ^Northampton is a pleasant small town, and an hour or two can be easily passed exploring on foot and admiring the Victorian Guildhall and churches. It's a big rugby town too, so there will be plenty of home supporters around to chat about the game.
- Fan's Forum
- There are 38 disabled parking spaces at Franklin's Gardens,
so it is probably best to book in advance to reserve these.
- In terms of disabled seating and wheelchair-accessible spaces, The Church and South Stand both offer locations on pitchside, the Sturtridge Pavillion has an elevated patio section and the Tetley's Stand has lift access to a high-level area. All carers enter free of charge.
- The best place to enjoy the pre-match build up around the
ground is the Supporters' Village, at the rear of the Burrda Stand.
- Here you'll find a big ol' beer tent, plenty of food as
well as entertainment for kids.
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