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Here are the Best Things to Do in Chipping Norton and Around

Best Things to Do in Chipping Norton and Around

Chipping Norton is one of the livelier locations in the Cotswolds, known for its vibrant High Street and quality independent shops, as well as its many festivals and events that run throughout the year. But despite the dynamic atmosphere, this traditional market town hasn’t been overly affected by tourism and still retains its old world Known as ‘Chippy’ to the locals, Chipping Norton is located in the north of the region.

Not too far from Kingham, Stow-on-the-Wold, Burton-on-the-Water, and The Slaughters, it’s an ideal base for anyone exploring this part of the Cotswolds.

If you’re staying in a Cotswold cottage nearby, here are the best things to do in Chipping Norton and around...

See the wool church
St. Mary the Virgin Church is a Grade I listed building and also a former wool church. Its location, at the bottom of a hill, is where the town’s original settlement began – and prior to the church being erected, there was once a castle. So the land itself is of importance to local history.

Some of the features worth noting are the 15th Century clerestory which has an unusually beautiful glass windows, the decorated window at the east side of the south aisle, and the intriguing hexagonal porch with carved faces.

Visit the weekly markets
As one of the most important market towns in the Cotswolds, a break in Chipping Norton simply has to include a visit to the weekly markets. The market dates back as far as the 13th Century, and it became a major wool vending site in the 15th Century. So weekly trade here holds much historic significance, and is a big part of local life.

The general retail market is open every Wednesday, whilst the Farmers’ Market is held every third Saturday in the month. If you want to pick up quality local produce and artisan foods, the Farmer’s Market is highly recommended – ideal if you plan on cooking up a storm back at your self-catering cottage.

Swim in the Chippy Lido
Looking for a family activity to do on a hot summer’s day? The Chippy Lido is great for all ages, and is open to the public from April until mid/late September each year. The pool is for everyone but if you’re planning a child-free trip, there are also a number of adults-only sessions. We recommend checking the Lido timetable for more information.

On site, you will also find a steam room as well as an observation deck for parents who want to keep an eye on their little ones. Admission to the pool starts from £4.40 for adults, £2.95 for kids, and £2.95 for concessions.

lido

Take a stroll to Bliss Tweed Mill
Just a short walk from the town centre is Bliss Tweed Mill, a former mill for the manufacture of English tweed and a Grade II* listed building. It’s worth noting the star at the end of the grade, as Grade II* listed properties only make up 5.8% of all the buildings in the UK.

Built in 1872 for the cloth manufacturer William Bliss, the mill has now been converted into residential apartments. But you can still get some great views of it from outside, so be sure to bring your camera. There are distinctive square towers topped with stone urns on every corner, and you will be able to spot the large chimney from a mile away. The walk to the mill is around 15 minutes from the High Street.

Go to Chipping Norton Museum
This humble museum is found on the High Street, tucked away on the first floor of the 19th Century Chipping Norton Co-op Society Meeting Hall. It is open from spring through to autumn from 2pm to 4pm six days a week, and closes for the winter period. Among the exhibits, you will find prehistoric artefacts, Roman artefacts, a farming equipment display, old photographs of the town, war exhibitions (including some hands-on replicas), and information on the area’s sporting past.

There’s also a valuable collection of over two thousands postcards from local towns and villages nearby which are displayed in beautiful albums. Plus, you will find a museum shop for souvenirs and gifts. It’s a small museum but definitely worth visiting if you’re in the area. Entrance is just £.50 per adult, and kids under 16 go free as long as they are accompanied by a paying ticket holder.

Take the kids to Fairytale Farm
If you’re travelling to the Cotswolds with the little ones, take them for a fun day out at Fairytale Farm. Located on the A44 just after Southcombe Garage, it’s less than 5 minutes from the town centre – and it’s open every day from 10am to 5pm. This fantastic children’s attraction is wonderland of sensory experiences and outdoor learning. There’s a ‘Mouse Town’ which houses a family of mice inside a model village, ‘Bunny Hollow’ which is a giant rabbit burrow, ‘Huff and Puff’ which is an adventure play zone, the ‘Wilderness Walk’ area, and much more. There’s also a café on site do you can refuel with a bit of lunch.

Tickets are £6.50 for adults, £6.25 for kids aged 2-16, and free for kids under 2.

fairytale farm

Spend the day shopping
One of the reasons why Chipping Norton is so lively is because of its excellent High Street and town centre, filed with the coolest and chicest independent shops and retailers. This is a great place to come if you’re in the market for some unique gifts or souvenirs. From its beautiful bookshops and antique shops to its high end boutiques, there are plenty of opportunities to go home with some one-of-a-kind finds.

Our favourite place to go for books and coffee is definitely Jaffé and Neale Bookshop on Middle Row. They have a nice café inside where you will find great coffee and cake.

Come to the annual Chipping Norton Lit Fest
Time your stay in the Cotswolds for this wonderful festival if you love books and literature. The well-known Lit Fest takes place in April every year, for 4 days across the weekend. Across the course of the festival, there will be free events taking place in the town, adult talks and discussions, children’s readings and book events, as well as workshops. The great thing about this festival is that all events are less than 15 minutes’ walk from each other, so you can enjoy a jam-packed schedule without missing out on your favourites. Venues may vary, but they usually include The Theatre, Town Hall and Lower Town Hall, St. Mary's Parish Rooms, Chipping Norton Library, Jaffé & Neale, and others.

Visit the nearby brewery
Less than 15 minutes’ drive away is the Hook Norton Brewery. Known for award-winning ales, this is the place to go for a brewery tour and tasting session. If you’re a fan of real ales, you will love what’s on offer. Their core beer range includes some favourites such as Hooky 3.5% ABV, Old Hooky 4.6% ABV, Hooky Gold 4.1% ABV, and Hooky Mild 2.8% ABV. The brewery tour will take you on a journey through the historic brewery building, where you can get a closer look at the production, and you will get a chance to taste some of the beers along the way. The tour will keep you on your feet for over 90 minutes, so make sure you have some sensible footwear.

pint of Hooky

Catch a show at the local theatre
The Chipping Norton Theatre is one of the town’s biggest attractions, and it provides fantastic entertainment for all ages. There’s a regular roster of plays, comedies, music and dance – as well as films throughout the week. From stage classics such as King Lear and fund pantos such as Aladdin to blockbuster movies that have just been released, there’s so much to keep you entertained.

If you’re bringing the kids and they want to get involved, you will also be pleased to know that the theatre hosts a number of hands-on drama workshops too.

Enjoy a day out in Kingham
Spend the day in nearby Kingham, where you will find a number of different walking routes. The most popular paths to follow are the Kingham Station Short Circular (AONB Walk 1), Kingham to Chipping Norton (AONB Walk 6), Kingham to Churchill (AONB Walk 8), and the Mills and Meadows Walk (AONB Walk 11). After your walk, there’s a choice of two great pubs – both definitely worth a visit for both food and drink.

Our favourite has to be The Wild Rabbit on Church Street, which is a modern British inn with cosy interiors and lots of rustic charm. Their menu is all about locally sourced, organic and seasonal food – so this is the place to come if you’re a self-confessed foodie.

There are regular buses running from Chipping Norton throughout the week, or you can get there is less than 12 minutes by car.

Discover the Rollright Stones
Located less than 10 minutes away (by car) is the ancient site of the Rollright Stones, a complex that dates back more than 5,000 years. It is one of the most famous stone circles in the British Isles and consists of three main stone elements. These are: The Kings Men circle, The King Stone, and The Whispering Knights. These megalithic monuments were made with natural boulders of Jurassic limestone, a stone that is commonly found in the Cotswold Hills. It’s the same stone that has been extensively used to build the traditional churches, houses and cottages in the region – and has survived since the early Neolithic era.

This site is open all year round and costs just £1 for adults and 50p for children aged 7-16. For toilets, a café and information, go to Wyatts (1 mile east of the Rollright Stones).

rollright stones

Visit the town of Stow-on-the-Wold
Another great day out is Stow-on-the-Wold, a popular market town set on top of a hill with great views of the surrounding areas. Go and see the famous St. Edward’s Church which features a door covered in Yew trees (resembling something out of a fairy tale), visit Fosse Gallery at The Manor House, and enjoy a spot of antiques shopping.

There are also a number of quaint tearooms here where you can enjoy some classic English cakes served with tea or coffee, or superb choice of pubs serving lunch and dinner. Nearby attractions include The Model Village, Birdland Park and Gardens, The Cotswold Motoring Museum, and The Dragonfly Maze – which are all located in Bourton-on-the-Water, just a few minutes north of Stow-on-the-Wold.

Have a picnic in Blockley
A holiday to the Cotswolds simply isn’t complete without a picnic! Few places in the country can compete when it comes to beautiful views and romantic spots for a bit of alfresco. And where better than one of the region’s most beautiful ‘chocolate box villages’? Blockley is famous for its beauty, and is known as a postcard perfect location set among rolling hills. The stone cottages that line the traditional streets will make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time and the village green is a great place to lay down your picnic blanket.

Whilst you’re here, you should also explore Mill Dene Garden, a property which has a romantic past and tells the story of how two young lovers came to meet. You can even enjoy a classic cream tea in the Garden Room or by the peaceful mill pond.

Walk around Batsford Arboretum
Batsford Arboretum is in the nearby town of Moreton-in-Marsh, and it’s a site with 56 acres of gardens featuring trees and shrubs from all over the world. The collection is the largest in the country, and there are often rare plants and flowers on display throughout the year. From the first snowdrops of spring to the golden leaves in autumn, Batsford Arboretum is one of the northern Cotswolds’ most romantic spots.

Inside, there’s also a plant centre and a café serving food and refreshments. The gardens are dog-friendly too, so if you’re looking for a family day out and a place to walk your pup, be sure to stop by at Batsford Arboretum.

Batsford autumn

If this has inspired you to visit Chipping Norton and the surrounding areas, then please do have a look at our lovely cottages there. They will make the perfect base for your explorations. Search our site now for a cosy, self-catering cottage.

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