With a charming, elevated High Street, a long Market Square and narrow shopping streets, Chipping Norton is one of the few small English towns to offer a range of multiple and independent retailers. Here, you’ll find a department store, boutiques, an art gallery and a collection of shops selling everything from gifts, books and clothes to antiques.
The name ‘Chipping’ derives from an old English word meaning market and there’s been a market here since the 13th century. Regular farmers’ markets selling fresh, local produce are also held in the town centre. For food shopping, there’s a Co-op and a Sainsbury’s along with a couple of enticing delicatessens, a fishmonger and two butcher’s shops. For larger supermarkets, just head to Waitrose in Witney or Tesco in Stow-on-the-Wold.
The town’s retail outlets sit alongside impressive, historic buildings. A row of striking 17th century alms-houses lead down to St Mary’s Church, which along with the medieval Guildhall is a reminder of the prosperity brought by the wool trade. The independent museum, run by the Local History Society, offers a fascinating insight into Chipping Norton’s long history.
With a wealth of local clubs and societies, a Women’s Institute and music, food and literary festivals, Chipping Norton has a real sense of activity and community.
If you enjoy keeping fit, Chipping Norton’s Leisure Centre is the place to be with a swimming pool, activity hall, dance studio, squash courts, fully equipped gym and a variety of activities for all ages and abilities.
Several of the town’s many clubs and societies cater for those who enjoy the Arts. There’s a choral society, amateur operatics society and Old Time Dance and Ceroc lessons. Chipping Norton is also home to an award-winning theatre which presents an eclectic programme of live performance, dance, film and comedy in a building that was once the Salvation Army Citadel.
For those who prefer to exercise in the fresh air, there’s an outdoor pool at The Lido, cricket and bowls clubs, a yacht club, the Wychwood Tennis Club and Cotswolds Golf Club, one of the finest courses in the country. Located in Southcombe, The Cotswolds Club is a popular for meeting place for Chipping Norton’s clubs – as well as being an outstanding venue for events, private parties, morning coffee and lunch.
If eating out is your favourite pastime you’ll find a selection of restaurants and tea rooms in the heart of Chipping Norton, along with two Chinese restaurants, Thai and Indian restaurants and traditional pubs and inns including The Blue Boar and the Chequers, dating back to the 16th century.
The Cotswolds, an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,’ is known for its rolling hills, river valleys, water meadows, beech woods, charming villages and historic market towns.
Penhurst Gardens is the perfect base from which to explore the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, home to such picturesque towns and villages as Bourton-on-the-Water - the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds,’ Burford, Witney, Charlbury and Woodstock.
In Woodstock, you’ll find the magnificent Blenheim Palace, family seat of the Dukes of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Today Blenheim, with its beautifully landscaped ‘Capability’ Brown gardens, is a designated World Heritage Site.
For days out and a wider range of shops, it’s easy to travel south to Witney and Oxford, east to Banbury, Stratford and Warwick to the north and Cheltenham and Gloucester to the west.
With the 102 mile Cotswold Way National Trail and a myriad of bridleways and footpaths within easy reach, walkers and cyclists alike are able to appreciate the natural beauty.
The impressive 4,000 year old Rollright Stones are worth a visit. Set in an elevated position about 3 miles from Chipping Norton, this is the third most important prehistoric stone circle after Stonehenge and Avebury.
With Cotswolds countryside on the doorstep,Oxford a 40-minute drive away and London under two hours by train, Chipping Norton gives you the best of all worlds.The nearest station to Chipping Norton is Kingham which is approximately 5.1 miles from New Street.