Town focus: Chipping Campden

  • Chipping Campden
  • Chipping Campden
  • Chipping Campden
  • Chipping Campden

A beautiful old market town distinguished by its artistic heritage

Chipping Campden is a small and enduringly beautiful market town. It is notable for its elegant terraced High Street, dating from the 14th century to the 17th century - testament to the extraordinary wool wealth generated by the area.

In 1902, designer C.R. Ashbee and around 100 followers (including woodcarvers, cabinetmakers, bookbinders and jewellers) went to Chipping Campden as the Guild of Handicraft, where they produced and sold various items. Today the town remains associated with British design, with Hart Silversmiths’ traditional workshop and Robert Welch’s cutlery showrooms both visitable and an artists’ co-operative exhibiting regularly at The Gallery at the Guild.

Chipping Campden enjoys a central location in the North Cotswolds with the nearby surrounding counties of Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.

Transport links

Chipping Campden is situated 5 miles south east of Moreton in Marsh, which is the closest main train station on the London Paddington line, the journey taking approximately 90 minutes.

There is also a platform station on the same line located at Honeybourne which is north west of Chipping Campden and approximately 5 miles away. Johnsons offer a bus service (1 & 2) to Stratford upon Avon and Moreton in Marsh on an hourly basis, six days a week.

What’s there to see and do?

The town’s 400 year old Market Hall is easily found, but Chipping Campden is full of interesting architecture. The magnificent St James’ Church can be found at the north end of the town. It is a striking example of an early perpendicular wool church, and easily one of the most impressive churches in the Cotswolds - well worth a visit.

The Gallery at the Guild is a ‘cooperative of artists, ceramicists, designers, furniture makers, glass makers, metal workers, photographers, sculptors, stone carvers, textile artists and wood carvers.’ Art lovers can’t afford to miss it - and then be refreshed at the Campden Coffee Company, also situated in the Old Silk Mill building.

C.R. Ashbee’s old silver workshop is still in use by the remarkable Hart Silversmiths. Find out more about the business and its traditional workshop here. In 2015 the company was celebrated with a special exhibition at Compton Verney, entitled The Hart Silversmiths: A Living Tradition.

Speaking of fine British design, you can’t talk of Chipping Campden without mentioning Robert Welch cutlery. Examples of their wares can be found in many fine restaurants across the country - but do stop by and explore their heritage (and latest products) in person.

Find out more about C.R. Ashbee and the Arts and Crafts movement with a visit to the Court Barn Museum, hosting many fine collections and telling the histories of the pre-eminent craftsmen who once lived and worked in Chipping Campden.

The Cotswold Olimpick Games began in 1622, started by a lawyer named Robert Dover with the approval of King James. Today the games on nearby Dover's Hill still draw thousands, and include such eccentric pursuits as the Shin-Kicking Competition.

Amenities

As a vibrant little town, Chipping Campden has a diverse collection of shops, galleries and restaurants, as well as newsagents, hairdressers and fashion shops (and other businesses). A number of hotels provide fine accommodation.

Schools

Chipping Campden School is situated within the centre of the town - a very good comprehensive school for children aged 11-18. St James & Ebrington C of E Primary School is the local primary.

Trivia

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien was fond of staying in the Red Lion Inn in Chipping Campden (it’s said that Tolkien signed copies of The Lord of the Rings for the owner in the 1950s).

Don't Miss

Chipping Campden Music Festival

Once a year in May, world-class music comes to Campden. The town’s annual music festival is now widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading festivals with visitors coming from Europe, America and Australia, as well as from all over the UK.

Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olympicks

A brilliantly bizarre event held annually in early summer on Dover’s Hill – for locals and visitors alike. The forerunner of the modern Olympic Games, see such games events as Tug O’War or Shin Kicking!