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June 26, 2024

Destination: Cotswolds

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Visiting Chipping Campden: A Local’s Guide

Chipping Campden dates back to the medieval period, with its name “Chipping” deriving from the Old English word “ceping,” meaning market or marketplace. The town flourished as a center for the wool trade in the Middle Ages, attracting wealthy merchants who built many of the stunning limestone buildings that line the High Street today. Showcasing the town’s prosperous past has earned Chipping Campden a reputation as one of the best-preserved towns in the Cotswolds.  

Where is Chipping Campden?

Chipping Campden is a small market town located in the Cotswold district of Gloucestershire, England. It is renowned for its picturesque high street, historic architecture, and charming rural setting. The town lies within the Cotswold National Landscape area, previously referred to as Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is a popular destination for anyone seeking to experience the quintessential English countryside. Once a rich medieval wool town in the Middle Ages the town is now boasts it’s own coffee company, Campden Coffee and is the start of the infamous Cotswold Way walk 

Aerial view of Chipping Campden
Aerial view of Chipping Campden. Image: Active England

How to get to Chipping Campden?

Train and bus are the easiest, traffic free options. With direct trains running from London Paddington, you can arrive at Moreton-in Marsh station and then take a 20-minute bus ride on to Chipping Campden.  

If you prefer to drive, major motorways run nearby and offer a gateway to the Cotswolds via car. Parking can be a little tricky however, so do bare that in mind when choosing your method of travel. The Cotswold towns and villages are small, often with no dedicated parking. You can park for free in Chipping Campden along the high street and there is a small paid carpark in the Town Square. Alternatively in weekends and school holidays there is plenty of parking at the nearby Chipping Campden School. It is a short 10-minute walk to the high street from there.  

Walking group in Chipping Campden. Image: Ben Arthur

How to get to Chipping Campden?

Train and bus are the easiest, traffic free options. With direct trains running from London Paddington, you can arrive at Moreton-in Marsh station and then take a 20-minute bus ride on to Chipping Campden.  

If you prefer to drive, major motorways run nearby and offer a gateway to the Cotswolds via car. Parking can be a little tricky however, so do bare that in mind when choosing your mode of transport. The Cotswold towns and villages are small, often with no dedicated parking. You can park for free in Chipping Campden along the high street and there is a small paid carpark in the Town Square. Alternatively in weekends and school holidays there is plenty of parking at the nearby Chipping Campden School. It is a short 10-minute walk to the high street from there.  

Chipping Campden, Cotswolds
Chipping Campden Market Hall. Image: Ben Arthur

London to Chipping Campden

Via train and bus

Chipping Campden is well connected via train and bus. There is a direct train service from London Paddington station to Moreton-in-Marsh which takes approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. It is then a 20–30-minute bus journey to Chipping Campden. The train and bus are a great hassle-free option. No traffic and kinder on the planet.  

Via car

If you prefer to drive, you can rent a car. Depending on where you are coming from this is a good option with Motorways across the UK connecting you to nearby Oxford before main A roads take you on into the Cotswold area. The journey from London to Chipping Campden by car usually takes around 2 – 2.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions. 

St James' Church, Chipping Campden.
St James' Church, Chipping Campden. Image: Shutterstock, Dave Knibbs

Top 6 things to do in Chipping Campden

1. Explore the High Street 

Chipping Campden’s High Street is famous for its beautiful honey-colored limestone buildings, many dating back to the 14th century. The street is lined with historic houses, shops, cafes, and traditional inns. 

Local’s tip: Don’t miss the iconic Market Hall, built in 1627, this iconic building is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the Cotswolds, originally used for trading wool. Now it is home to shops and stalls selling local crafts and fresh produce.    

2. Visit St. James’ Church

St. James’ Church is a stunning example of perpendicular Gothic architecture and one of the finest wool churches in the Cotswolds. Admire the church’s impressive tower, beautiful stained-glass windows, and the elaborately carved tombs inside.

Local’s tip: Walk all round the church building and admire the architecture from each side. Marvel at the detail of the archways and doorways.

3. Walk in the Cotswolds

Chipping Campden is a gateway to some of the most scenic walking trails in the Cotswolds. Cotswold Way National Trail starts in Chipping Campden and offers 102 miles of picturesque walking through rolling hills, quaint villages, and historic sites.

Local’s tip: We recommend doing the 6mile (9.6km) walk from Chipping Campden to Broadway. Easily achievable in a morning and you can return via bus if you prefer. 

4. Hidcote Manor Garden

Located within walkable distance (4 miles) is Hidcote Manor Garden. A beautiful, scenic walk from Chipping Campden, takes you to one of England’s great gardens, known for its beautiful “rooms” of hedges, rare trees, shrubs, and herbaceous borders. These gardens have something in bloom year round. So whatever the weather and season, there is beauty to be seen.

Local’s tip: Within Hidcote Manor garden there are further fantastic vantage points across the Cotswolds rolling hills. 

5. Visit Dover’s Hill

Just outside Chipping Campden, Dover’s Hill is another spectacular place for far reaching views of the surrounding Cotswold countryside across the Vale of Evesham. A perfect, tranquil spot for a picninc, that is unless your visit happens to coincide with the annual local ‘Olimpicks’.  This raucous event is held each year on the first Friday after the UK Spring Bank Holiday. It consists of rural sports and games such as tug of war, running and the infamous shin-kicking! The games begin with a traditional marching band and the firing of cannons. Fun and frolics not to be missed if you happen to be in the area. 

Local’s tip: If you’re up for a party, head to Chipping Campden town square on the final evening of the Olimpicks. There is a procession through the town and dancing in the square until the early hours! 

6. Visit Robert Welch

A household name, but within a very everyday setting! You’d be forgiven if it’s passed you by! Check your knives and forks as this internationally renowned cutlery business started in Chipping Campden nearly 70 years ago. Sold around the world in department stores and online, today the studio shop can still be found in the town and the family are fortunate enough to continue working from the same building.

Local’s tip: They offer events in collaboration with other local businesses so be sure to check out their schedule of events and pay them a visit during your stay.  

Hidcote Manor Garden
Hidcote Manor Garden. Image: Ben Arthur

Chipping Campden Hotels: Where to stay

As with many towns and villages within the Cotswold areas, there is a variety of boutique hotels, simple coaching inns and comfortable bed and breakfast properties. Many are on the smaller side and do not have an abundance of rooms, so we advise to book ahead if planning a visit. You may need to stay slightly further afield from your desired town. Here are 5 hotels situated in and around Chipping Campden: 

1. Cotswold House Hotel & Spa

https://www.cotswoldhouse.com 

Located in the heart of Chipping Campden, this boutique hotel boasts an award-winning restaurant serving delicious local cuisine as well as elegant rooms and tranquil spa.

2. The Noel Arms Hotel

https://bespokehotels.com/noelarmshotel

One of the oldest inns in the Cotswolds, The Noel Arms offers historic charm with modern comforts. It features cozy rooms and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

3. The Kings Hotel

https://the-kings-hotel.igloucestershire.com/en

Conveniently located on the High Street it is a great base for exploring Chipping Campden. Offering contemporary and comfortable rooms with traditional touches as well as a stunning garden terrace, it is perfect to rest and reset after a day exploring.

4. Dormy House Hotel

https://dormyhouse.co.uk/

Located a short drive from Chipping Campden, Dormy House is a luxury country house hotel with a modern twist. It features luxurious rooms, an indoor swimming pool and beautiful grounds. Indulge yourself with a 5-star Cotswold stay at this splendid hotel.

5. The Lygon Arms

https://www.lygonarmshotel.co.uk/

Although slightly further afield in nearby Broadway, The Lygon Arms is might be worth considering especially if availability is limited elsewhere. This historic hotel offers a rich history, luxurious accommodations, and extensive amenities.

Gardens at Cotswold House Hotel & Spa. Image: Cotswold House Hotel

Where to eat in Chipping Campden

You’ll be sure to find something to tempt your taste buds in Chipping Campden. From small bakeries to fine dining and country pubs, this small Cotswold town packs in several eateries:

Here are a few of our favourites:

Campden Coffee Company

You can’t come to Chipping Campden and not sample the local coffee roast! Serving coffees as you might expect they also offer a range of light bites and sweet treats to accompany your hot drink.

Address: The Old Silk Mill, Sheep Street, Chipping Campden. GL55 6DS 

Badger’s Hall Tea Room

A quirky name and a charming tearoom situated in a 15th century building. Offering traditional cream teas and light lunches, you can enjoy a classic homemade scone with a hot cup of tea in a wonderful, historic setting.

Address: Badgers Hall, High St, Chipping Campden GL55 6HB

Toke’s Food and Drink

A delicious deli and café located on the High Street of Chipping Campden. You can buy locally produced cheeses and charcuterie as well as grabbing a coffee and light lunch to go. A great place to stop to buy locally sourced produce.

Address: High St, Chipping Campden GL55 6AG

Bistro on the square

Situated within The Cotswold House Hotel and Spa, this delightful eatery offers a menu to take you from breakfast through until dinner, as well as an extensive gin and cocktail menu. In the summer months, venture outside for al fresco dining and in the winter cosy up by the fire with your favourite tipple.

Address: Cotswold House Hotel & Spa, The Square Upper, High St, Chipping Campden GL55 6AN

The Red Lion Tavern

Situated on Chipping Campden High Street, soak up the pub atmosphere as you enjoy a drink or meal in this 17th-century pub. Featuring a heated patio garden area and offering a traditional ‘Sunday roast’ this is a must try for an authentic British pub experience.

Address: Lower High St, Chipping Campden GL55 6AS 

Badgers Hall Tearoom Chipping Campden
Badgers Hall Tearoom Chipping Campden. Image: Badgers Hall Tearoom

Chipping Campden encapsulates the charm and heritage of the Cotswolds. Its blend of historical significance, architectural beauty, cultural richness, and scenic surroundings make it a must-visit for anyone exploring this idyllic part of England. 

The High Street of Chipping Campden is often hailed as one of the most beautiful in England, featuring a harmonious blend of thatched cottages, grand townhouses, and traditional inns. Well-preserved and full of history, it is a delight to explore. With stunning natural scenery surrounding the town it is one of the best places to start your Cotswold adventure.  

In close proximity to many other notable Cotswold towns such as Bourton-on-the-Water, Broadway and Stow-on-the-Wold, don’t miss out Chipping Campden on your tour of the Cotswolds!  

Tempted to tour the Cotswolds? Check out the Active England walking and cycling tours. Or enquire about our luxury and private trip options. 

Taking in the Cotswolds view.
Taking in the Cotswolds view. Image: Ben Arthur

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