After the hot summer we're now enjoying the glorious display of autumn hues before we settle into the months of winter.  Once we have the bonfire nights behind us we can start to prepare for the festive season in earnest.  In these changing and uncertain times it is, more than ever, important for us to support the wonderful selection of independent businesses we have in our villages and on our high streets.  You will find lots of inspiration on the pages ahead from local crafters and shops alike -  from toys to gifts and fashion, to vouchers for our local eateries and fine art maps of some of our villages (page 12) - something for everyone right here on our doorstep.

Nothing gets me more into the festive spirit than a visit to Foxtail Lilly in Oundle (page 16) in November when Tracey decorates her barns for her Christmas preview.  Once again, I'm delighted to have one of her beautiful wreaths adorn the front cover.  Our amazing historic country houses will play host to Christmas fairs and other events:  Lamport Hall (page 20) celebrates cheese, snow and a feast; at Boughton House (page 28) you can explore the gardens and select your premium tree; Rockingham Castle (page 34) is the backdrop for a traditional Victorian Christmas; Delapré Abbey (page 40) lets you experience the magic of Christmas through the ages; and Lyveden (page 64) is full of midwinter merriment.

Spanhoe Lodge (page 24) puts on a display of Christmas lights and Santa's grotto for charity.  Our towns will have light switch-on events and festive markets for us to stroll through, and many of our villages will have artisan craft fairs and Christmas tree festivals where we can purchase unique and special presents for our loved ones.  Plays and concerts will entertain us during the darker nights to remind us of the joys of life and what the festival of hearts that is Christmas is all about.

So, as you get into the festive spirit, please support our local community as best you can and share your love with family, friends and neighbours.

With my warmest wishes for Christmas



Vivi Sant Cole 

Village Connect

Hillcrest House

Church Hill



NN14 1AH

Tel: 01536 744700