Town focus: Shipston on Stour

  • Shipston on Stour (Image: Colin Craig)
  • Shipston on Stour festival

Still true to its commercial roots, the lively market town of Shipston on Stour is chock-full of independent and specialist shops.

Known in bygone times as ‘Sheep-wash-Town’ - thanks to its history as an important sheep market town – Shipston on Stour developed many wool skills, including tapestry-making. These skills are now commemorated by the traditional Wool Fair which is held every Spring Bank Holiday Monday (just one of the many thrilling events in Shipston’s calendar). Today, Shipston continues to flourish as a thriving working town and enjoys a multitude of facilities including various shops, pubs, restaurants and community-led services.

The Times voted Shipston as one of the best places to live in the UK in 2019.

Transport links

Following a fall in the demand for wool in 1836, Shipston was in part sustained by the opening of a branch line running from the horse-drawn Stratford and Moreton Tramway. In 1889 the line was upgraded to allow the operation of steam trains from Moreton in Marsh to Shipston - however, passenger services to the town were withdrawn in 1929. The line closed completely in 1960.

Today, the nearby town of Moreton in Marsh can instead be easily accessed 7 miles away via the A429 and offers a mainline hourly train service between Worcester and London Paddington, via Oxford. The volunteer-run Shipston Link bus service provides regular trips from Shipston to Banbury, Moreton in Marsh and Chipping Norton. Stratford upon Avon is only 10 miles by car, with Banbury 14 miles away.

Amenities & Where to eat, drink and stay

The local leisure centre offers a swimming pool and gym, and there are plenty of sporting clubs to get involved with such as the cricket club, rugby club and tennis club. Additional local associations include a reading club and music society, but further information on all of the various clubs within the town can be found on the local website.

The town is fortunate to have an abundance of restaurants including a popular Spainsh Tapas 'El Cafe', many cafes, a good selection of pubs and even 2 boutique hotels The Bower House and The George Townhouse. There is also a bakery, butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers, pet shop, chemist, 2 small supermarkets, a local farm shop, several fast food takeaways and many other independant shops and businesses all on the doorstep. There is also a medical centre and a community hospital.

What’s there to see and do?

There are several local attractions within Shipston on Stour, including the museum and heritage centre, both offering a host of unique artefacts and memorabilia from the town and surrounding villages. Being a short distance from Shakespeare's country and the Cotswolds there is much to explore in the neignbouring area.

The town is an excellent centre for walking and cycling, whilst you can also often enjoy a spot of fishing along the River Stour with the Shipston on Stour Angling Club.

One of the main highlights in Shipston’s calendar is the Shipston Proms, a two week music festival showcasing local talent and culminating in a spectacular ‘Last Night of the Proms’ event held in the High Street.


Shipston on Stour Primary School is a community school for children aged between 4-11 years old. The school’s traditional priority catchment area includes the parishes of Shipston, Barcheston, Burmington, Honington, Idlicote, Tidmington and the eastern part of Stretton on Fosse.

Shipston High School is located on the edge of the town and provides education for pupils between the ages of 11-16. The school’s traditional priority catchment area includes the following primary schools: Shipston Primary School, Brailes C of E Primary School, Acorns Primary School (Long Compton), Quinton Primary School, Ilmington C of E Primary School and Newbould & Tredington C of E Primary School.

The grammar schools and college in Stratford upon Avon also have a regular bus service.