Rushden Lakes now open

Today marks the launch of phase one of Rushden Lakes, a new retail and leisure destination in Northamptonshire which is set to redefine the UK retail landscape.


28 July 2017

Developed by LXB, with their architects HPW, and owned by The Crown Estate, Rushden Lakes is the new retail and leisure destination in Northamptonshire which is set to redefine the UK retail landscape. The unique offer at Rushden Lakes sees big name fashion and boutique premium brands combined with lakeside dining and a range of leisure activities which include canoeing, cycling, walking and bird watching, all in beautiful countryside surroundings.

Phase one of this ground-breaking shopping and leisure development offers 230,000 sq. ft. of retail situated adjacent to stunning lakes and set in over 200 acres of SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) reserve, operated in partnership with The Wildlife Trusts. It is also a designated RAMSAR site (the international convention on the use and protection of environmentally important wetlands) and is comparable in its importance to the Camargue in France, or the Zambezi Delta.

Our mission is to create brilliant places, and with Rushden Lakes we see this ambition becoming a ground-breaking reality”

Hannah Milne, director of Regional Retail at The Crown Estate

The first phase of Rushden Lakes will see more than 40 retailers, restaurants, cafés and leisure providers opening their doors. The phased opening commences on 28 July, with stores continuing to open throughout the summer, and culminates with a full launch weekend in late September 2017.

Retailers confirmed to be opening today include Marks & Spencer, which is launching a full range store including home and instore cafe, Primark, New Look, JD Sports and H&M. As well as leading fashion and lifestyle brands Jigsaw, White Stuff, Joules and L’Occitane, which are all opening standalone stores and coming to Northamptonshire for the first time.

Leisure at Rushden Lakes aims to connect a new audience with outdoor activities, nature and wildlife. The leisure offer is anchored by the Nene Wetlands Visitor Centre from The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire (BCN), the first such centre in the region, and the Boathouse from local canoe and boating experts Canoe2.

The Nene Wetlands Visitor Centre is the gateway to the 1km nature trail around the lake and the broader Nene Valley. The Wildlife Trust BCN has also created the Wildlife Discovery Centre, which includes a children’s play area with an abandoned barge and otter holt, wildlife sculptures, and bird watching on the lake and via hidden cameras in inaccessible areas.

The beautiful lakes have been made accessible by Canoe2, who will provide hire of canoes, kayaks and swan pedalos on the lake, as well as offering short break adventures and camping across the Nene Valley. It is also the brand’s first physical retail store, selling a full range of craft including Canadian canoes, kayaks, and kit.

The Boathouse and Nene Wetlands Visitor Centre are Net Zero Energy buildings, with green roofs planted with grass and wildflower species native to the area.

Hannah Milne, director of Regional Retail, at The Crown Estate: “Rushden Lakes is the first of its kind; a shopping and leisure destination which combines big name fashion, premium retail and new brands coming to Northamptonshire for the first time. Rushden Lakes is not only shaped by its natural surroundings, it puts the environment at the heart of its offer. Our mission is to create brilliant places, and with Rushden Lakes we see this ambition becoming a ground-breaking reality.”

Jon McCarthy, LXB, said: “Rushden Lakes is every bit as good as we anticipated. It has been a pleasure, and an absolute privilege, to work with the local community who have poured their hearts into this venture in order to create a place which is unique and naturally different.

The new store has created 150 jobs for the area and as a team we’ll be working hard to put the customer at the heart of everything we do, bringing the very best of M&S to Rushden Lakes shoppers”

Emily King, store manager for M&S Rushden Lakes

Emily King, store manager for M&S Rushden Lakes commented: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be opening our doors at Rushden Lakes and welcoming customers to this exciting new shopping destination for the region. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support from the local community and we can’t wait to hear their feedback on our extensive product offering. The new store has created 150 jobs for the area and as a team we’ll be working hard to put the customer at the heart of everything we do, bringing the very best of M&S to Rushden Lakes shoppers”.

Brian Eversham, chief executive of the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire said: “For many visitors to the Rushden Lakes retail centre a walk around Skew Bridge Lake, and the newly installed sculpture trail, will be their first introduction to the stunning landscapes and wildlife of the Nene Valley and we hope that many of them will go on to explore other parts of the Nene Wetlands reserve.”

Ian Blackwell, co-founder of Canoe2: “We are delighted to establish our new home at Rushden Lakes. This is a very special environment and one which will connect us with a whole new audience. Our aim is to inspire visitors to experience the water and, together with The Wildlife Trust BCN, we hope to be a gateway for people to explore the broader Nene Valley whether that’s on a short hire, a camping trip or their own craft.”

Future phases of Rushden Lakes, which will deliver a 14-screen cinema from Cineworld, trampolining and more retail, continue to be led by LXB and phase 2 is expected to open in 2019.