PLAN YOUR VISIT
Market Harborough's Arts Fresco is already the largest international street theatre festival in the Midlands, and continues to grow every year. As it only lasts for one day, if you're not from Harborough it's important to know how to get here, so you're not wasting any precious time!
Harborough is only small (but growing fast!), and you can walk the whole of the town centre in a matter of minutes. Our guide below should help you make the most of your time here.
Please be aware that the roads through the town will be closed immediately before Arts Fresco kicks off, and for the duration. You may need to factor this in if you're travelling to Harborough by car.
About Market Harborough
Market Harborough, the seventh happiest market town in Britain, according to The Times, is a market town within the Harborough district of Leicestershire, England, with a population of roughly 25,000. The town is located in an area which was formerly a part of the Rockingham Forest, a royal hunting forest used by the medieval monarchs starting with William I. Rockingham Road takes its name from the forest. The forest's original boundaries stretched from Market Harborough through to Stamford and swallowed up Corby, Kettering, Desborough, Rothwell, Thrapston and Oundle.
The centre of the town is dominated by the steeple of St. Dionysius Parish Church which rises directly from the street, as there is no church yard. It was constructed in grey stone in 1300 with the church itself a later building of about 1470. Next to the church stands the symbol of the town, the recently completely refurbished Old Grammar School, a small timber building dating from 1614. The ground floor is open, creating a covered market area and there is a single room on the first floor.
Getting to Market Harborough
Market Harborough is right in the heart of England, and so has great road, rail and air connections - you can even get here by canal!
From the North: There are a number of routes into Market Harborough from the North, however the easiest is probably straight down the M1, turning off onto the A4304 at Junction 20. Follow this road for approximately 10 miles through a number of villages, and you'll arrive in Harborough. Alternatively, if you're coming from Leicester direction, the A6 will take you straight into Harborough.
From the East: From the Peterborough direction, coming through Corby and heading towards Harborough on the A427 will bring you straight here. From Cambridge direction, come off the A14 at Junction 3, and follow the A6 along the Market Harborough bypass until you hit the main A6/A4304/A427 roundabout. Turn left here, and drive straight into Harborough.
From the South: From the West London direction, follow the M1 until you hit Junction 20.Turn right onto the A4304 and follow it straight into Harborough. From the East London direction, take the M11 until it turns into the A14, and follow this until you hit Junction 3. Turn off here, and follow the A6 until you hit the main A6/A4304/A427 roundabout, and turn left directly into Harborough.
From the West: From the Birmingham direction, come off the M6 onto the A14 at Junction 19. Stay on the A14 until you hit Junction 2, then turn left onto the A508. Stay on this road, and it'll take you straight into Harborough. From Lutterworth way, cross the M1 at Junction 20, and follow the A4304, straight on into Harborough.
Market Harborough is only an hour away from St. Pancras on East Midlands trains, and the town centre is only a short walk from the train station, making Arts Fresco very easy to get to from London.
Trains from Leicester are very regular, and take less than 15 minutes to arrive.
East Midlands Airport is only 42 miles north of Market Harborough, and with car rental options from all the major car hire firms, Arts Fresco is easy to get to for even the farthest flung corners of the globe!
By Canal (yes, really)
For those following a more leisurely pace of life, the Grand Union Canal offers a much more relaxed way of arriving in Harborough. The Union Wharf Marina is a great place to tie up, and take the short walk into the town centre.
Getting around Market Harborough
Market Harborough is only a small town - you can walk from the top end to the bottom end in 15 minutes, if you try! If you come by car, there are numerous car parks, all of them signposted and free on the day, and all a short walk from the town centre. The centre itself is easily recognised - if you're standing by a War Memorial, you're there!
For Arts Fresco, the whole town centre is closed off and pedestrianised, so you can walk the streets soaking up the atmosphere. This event map from 2014 will help you navigate the town.
Accommodation in Market Harborough
For a small town, Market Harborough has numerous accommodation options, suitable for every budget. However, the Angel Hotel offers fantastic accommodation with a great atmosphere (ask about the ghost...), and a town centre location, ideal for Arts Fresco.