Student Instablog highlights Northampton’s hidden gems
Student life is about discovery, for Sport and Business student, Erin Laste, that involved discovering what Northamptonshire has to offer in her Instagram blog, @northampton_gems.
Two years ago, Erin started studying at the University of Northampton, although she’s originally from Hertfordshire, Erin was familiar with the outskirts of Northamptonshire as her grandparents live locally. Having only visited the town to watch the Saints games at Franklins Gardens, Erin realised she didn’t know the area very well at all, so set about exploring what Northampton had to offer and documenting her favourite places.
After spending much of her first year on campus, concentrating on the student-focused activities in the town centre, she felt she needed to branch out and explore some of the local cultural scene, but she found it hard to find out what was going on.
Erin said; “I’d heard many times that there was little to do in the town for young people, so I set about discovering the lesser known bars, pubs and restaurants. That negativity is misplaced, there are loads of great things happening when you know where to look.”
“At first, my blog was more for me and my friends to keep track of things we were interested in, but my little collection of interesting things and positivity about the town snowballed into something more, and now I’ve got a bunch of followers engaging with local businesses and getting involved in events.”
Erin believes her blog is a handy resource for students at the University of Northampton to save themselves time in searching for what’s going on. As president of the Snow Sports Club, and the Women’s Officer at the Students’ Union, Erin shares what has appealed to her and her friends, often spotlighting the quirky, hidden gems that people want to know about.
Erin, a self-confessed Vintage Guru addict, admitted it’s easy for students to hardly explore Northampton: “As a student, it’s easy to miss out on things happening in the town, as much of the student life is centred around the immediate vicinity of the Waterside campus. In my second year, I discovered the Wellingborough Road with its eclectic mix of coffee shops, independent shops, like my favourite, Vintage Guru, and bars and restaurants. Since then, I’ve branched out and visited places all around the town and county.”
Erin praises the supportive way Northampton’s cultural businesses and venues champion each other, she said: “Soon after I started the blog, different people across the town started messaging me directly to share what they’re up to, which was welcoming as I was exploring more. I think it’s great that shops support the events happening, and that local DJs and bands are so active on social media, talking about what they’re doing.”
“Although I am not originally from Northampton, I wanted to support local and independent places. When you’re away at University, I think it’s important to immerse yourself in the local scene and make the most of your time in a new place. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed going to vinyl nights at Maule Collective, quiz nights at the Garibaldi, cocktails at the House of Dapper and seeing SHY FX at Roadmender. There is plenty going on if you look for it!”
We may be living through a strange time, with the coronavirus pandemic bringing some dramatic changes to the way we’re socialising and being entertained, but Erin believes it makes it more important to embrace new experiences and follow the path less travelled… when we can again.
Follow Erin’s @northampons_gems blog and discover some of the less well-known things Northampton has to offer, and start planning things to explore, when it’s safe to do it.