Visit Chipping Campden in 2022
Chipping Campden has one of the most picturesque and majestic High Streets in England, once described by historian G.M. Trevelyan as “the most exquisite village street presently left on the island.” A stroll from one side of this North Cotswolds village to the other is worth the trip, but there’s lots more to see and do.
Chipping Campden is rich in history, with over 250 listed structures. Grevel House, a Grade I listed house dating back to 1380 when it was the home of successful wool trader William Grevel (watch for the gargoyles! ), is regarded as the town’s oldest property. Chipping Campden was a significant mediaeval wool town, with merchants flocking to the Woolstaplers Hall to buy Cotswold fleece and St James’ Church being built with proceeds from the wool trade.
Later in the twentieth century, Chipping Campden became a focal point for William Morris’ Arts and Crafts Movement. C.R. Ashbee, a British designer, relocated his workshop and 50 artisans and their families from London to Chipping Campden’s Old Silk Mill. Court Barn Museum honours his work and that of other local writers, designers, and craftspeople.
Things to do in Chipping Campden
Chipping Campden’s architecture will keep you busy if you enjoy old structures. St James Church is located at the top of the High Street and can be seen from all throughout town. This Grade I listed wool chapel was built in the 15th century with donations from affluent wool merchants and farmers, but it contains components that date back to 1180. Since 2002, the Chipping Campden Music Festival has been held at the church, attracting performers and people from all over the world.
The Market Hall, built by Sir Baptist Hicks in 1627 to offer protection from the elements for market traders, is another noteworthy feature of the High Street. In the 1940s, it was nearly sold and dismantled to be sent to America, but locals gathered enough money to outbid the buyer and grant ownership to the National Trust. Traders still use it, and the masonry is frequently draped with cow skins and sheepskin carpets.
The marker stone representing the start (or finish) point of the Cotswold Way, which runs for 102 miles through some of the most beautiful countryside, towns, and villages in the Cotswolds, can be found near the Market Hall. If you don’t have time to complete the entire journey, you might take a section to Broadway and see the famous Broadway Tower before returning to Chipping Campden. It takes around four hours to complete the trek, adding time to stop and observe the scenery.
Dover’s Hill, another National Trust site, is a short stroll along the Cotswold Way if you don’t want to leave Chipping Campden but still want to get outside. The trip to the top of the hill and back is just under three miles, with views as far away as the Black Mountains in South Wales and as near as the Vale of Evesham.
Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpick Games are annually on the Friday following the Spring Bank Holiday at Dover’s Hill. The festival began in 1612, and many activities, such as tug-of-war and shin-kicking, will transport you back in time. After twilight, a torchlit procession goes back to the square, where many locals continue to party late into the night.
There are two gorgeous gardens just outside Chipping Campden that are next to each other but tell distinct stories. Hidcote Manor Garden is the first, a National Trust site that was substantially influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement. Major Lawrence Johnston planned the garden to create the sensation of ‘outdoor rooms.’ The wooded region is very spectacular.
Next door, you’ll find Kiftsgate Court Gardens (only open between April and September). Three generations of women gardeners established the gardens, which are today known as the home of the Kiftsgate Rose, a perfumed climbing rose. Some of the plants cultivated here can be purchased from their garden shop, so you can take a piece home with you.
Where to eat in Chipping Campden
There are many different settings and cuisines to choose from when it comes to food and drink in Chipping Campden. However, the majority appear to have one thing in common: a roaring fire!
Michael’s Mediterranean is a popular choice among Chipping Campden residents. Although the restaurant’s name and size have evolved since its inception in 1986, one constant has remained: the outstanding food and presence of Michael Alexious himself. Try the Filletto Marathona if you’ve worked up an appetite (fillet steak on a board with mushrooms, tomato and fries). There is an outdoor courtyard with cobblestone stones that feels very Mediterranean during the summer. But make sure to book ahead of time because they’re really popular.
The Eight Bells Inn, which serves hearty meals and real ales, is an excellent place to stop after a long countryside walk if you’re looking for something a little more traditional. The structure was constructed in the 14th century to accommodate the stonemasons working on St James Church, and it is named for the eight bells that can be found in the church’s tower.