Chipping Campden - Travel Guide
Updated: Jun 14
Chipping, meaning market & Campden, meaning valley with enclosures. Just knowing the meaning behind the name, helps one to visualise that this is a market town in the bottom of the valley! If you approach this town from the South or West, you are rewarded first with a sight of the impressive tower of St. James Church. One of a handful of 'wool churches' in the Cotswolds, if you are visiting the area & have an interest in history. You will often find a local volunteer, sat inside the church would will be very happy to explain its quirky history (for a small donation) The town itself has a long curved high street, described as “the most beautiful village street now left in the island "by the historian, G.M. Trevelyan. Filled with medieval properties, one 'Grevels House' dating back to the 1380s, some of the older buildings were later 'faced' in the iconic Cotswolds lime stone. The town is full of history, but also the hustle & bustle of modern day life. In the centre of the town you will see the 'Old Market Hall' built by Sir Baptist Hick's a wealthy merchant, the building dates back to 1627. The property is within the care of the National Trust. It is easy to imagine traders seeking refuge under this impressive structure. Years or wear can been seen (& felt) on the original pavers, just stepping under the arches onto the wonky cobbles gives you the feel of days gone by.
Sir Baptist Hick's; one of the towns main benefactors in the 1600's spent large sums of money in Chipping Campden. Notably his money was spent on St James' church, he was responsible for adding 'alms houses' for the poor next door to the Eight Bells Inn. A cart wash for the traders near the Court Barn Museum. The cart wash built in 1832 to wash the mud off the wheels before they entered the town. Sir Baptist Hick's also built (what was said to be) the most impressive manor house in the Cotswolds. Little is left of this impressive Jacobean structure, which was burnt to the ground by Royalist soldiers during the English Civil War. However you can see the entrance gates, next to the church, along with the Banqueting Hall & Almonry, built by Hick's purely for entertainment purposes. This property is now in the care of the 'Landmark Trust' & should you wish too, you can stay in the Banqueting Hall.
Another notable resident was C R Ashbee who, in 1902 brought the Guild of Handicraft to Chipping Campden as part of the Arts & Crafts movement. The aim of the Arts & Crafts movement was to celebrate & support skilled craftsman, downtrodden by the industrial revolution in England. With the ideals that the quality of handmade items far outweighed the mass produced factory made products. The craftsman were based in the Old Silk Mill, however the scheme although very well intended was unsuccessful & in less than 5 years many of the craftsman had moved back to London.
Chipping Campden, has a selection of independent shops, restaurants & places to stay making it an ideal base for holiday-makers & visitors.
For those who love thatched cottages, then just a short walk from the main street, if you follow (Sheep Street) the road away from the town you will find a beautiful selection of impressive properties, ideal for those wishing to capture the perfect photo.
For those with a passion for flora, just outside Chipping Campden is the creation of Anglo-American Lawrence Johnston. Hidcote Manor Garden was built in the early 20th century and is famous for its numerous garden 'rooms', filled with a variety of exotic & common plants, enclosed by clipped hedges. The estate village of Hidcote Bartrim, with it's 10 wonderful properties is owned (like the garden) by the National Trust.
Cotswolds Olympicks. (Yes, that is the correct spelling!)
Cotswold Olimpicks, located at Dover's Hill (owned by the National Trust) just outside the town. This unusual event was founded in the 17th century by Captain Robert Dover and still celebrated every year. A quirky Cotswolds tradition that includes a bizarre mix of sports, such as 'shin-kicking', games and village activities. Learn more about this unusual event.
The Start (or End) of The Cotswolds Way!
The 102 mile Cotswold Way, a long distance trail which starts in the town and follows the Cotswolds escarpment all the way south to Bath. This fabulous walk takes in stunning views of the Cotswolds countryside, along with a selection of wonderful towns & villages.
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