Chipping Norton

(Last Updated On: January 11, 2019)

A visitor’s guide to Chipping Norton and its surrounding attractions…

The view across the Chipping Norton landscape to Bliss Tweed Mill

The view across the Chipping Norton landscape to Bliss Tweed Mill

Chipping Norton is a beautiful market town with an enviable reputation, tucked high up in Oxfordshire’s portion of the Cotswolds. The highest town in the region thanks to its stunning hillside location, Chipping Norton’s rich history dates back to the 13th Century when it was known as a bustling wool-trading town; a heritage proven through the great wool church of St. Mary, known for its stunning interiors, and still sitting proudly at the heart of the town.

Affectionately known as ‘Chippy’ by locals, the town is now very much a bustling hub of culture, its thriving retail and culinary scene attracting visitors from all across the Cotswolds. A regular market still takes place every Wednesday, great for those looking to hunt down some local treats, with a plethora of independent retailers and antique shops to peruse. The town also homes a good number of pubs, restaurants and cafés to whet the appetite, whilst culture buffs will love the thriving theatre; a rare addition to a town of this size, famous for its annual pantomime and eclectic programme of music, theatre, dance and comedy.

Perfectly positioned to explore the north Cotswolds and Oxfordshire, there’s plenty on offer right on the doorstep to keep all ages entertained. Head off on an exploration of the pretty Cotswold villages which surround the town or take a cultural day-trip to nearby Oxford or Stratford-Upon-Avon; the possibilities are endless.

Sightseeing & Activities

Thanks to Chipping Norton’s rich heritage, there’s plenty on offer locally to see and do for culture vultures and history buffs alike. Start off by exploring the landmarks of the town itself. Take in the beautiful Town Hall (a proud symbol of the town’s former borough days), before visiting The Almshouses – one of the town’s key landmarks dating back to the first half of the 1600s, provided kindly by former resident Henry Cornish upon his death to house widows of the town. Chipping Norton Museum, located on the High Street, showcases memorable artefacts from throughout the town’s history dating all the way back to the Roman period, making it a great pit-stop for those keen to learn more about the town through the ages. Chipping Norton Theatre is also a must-visit, should there be anything that tickles your fancy playing during your stay.

Audience inside The Theatre Chipping Norton at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival 2013. CREDIT Geraint Lewis

Further afield, the many sights and attractions of the wider Cotswolds will afford you plenty to see and do. Start off by heading to The Rollright Stones, an ancient stone circle spanning nearly 2,000 years of Neolithic and Bronze Age development located in the nearby village of Great Rollright. Just outside the town sits Bliss Tweed Mill, an impressive display of 19thCentury manufacturing prowess, immediately recognisable by its iconic dome-based chimney, which makes it look more like a lavish mansion than a tweed mill. Now luxury apartments following its official closure in the 1980s, the mill is still well worth driving past as one of the town’s most famous visual landmarks. The National Trust’s Chastleton House and Garden, an ancient country house spanning 400 years of history, is also just a stone’s throw away in Moreton-in-Marsh, whilst the acclaimed Whichford Pottery is just a 15-minute drive for those in search of a pretty souvenir from their travels.

 

…For Kids (little and big)

 

Blenheim Palace

(a 20-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

Home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and family, and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is a spectacular masterpiece of architecture sure to wow visitors of all ages. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, there’s plenty to see and do here: explore the Palace and its priceless collections; amble through the stunning park and gardens; get stuck in at the Family Forest School or check out the Palace’s busy schedule of events and attractions, running throughout the year.

The Lido

(in Chipping Norton)

A fantastic heated outdoor pool open from April to September each year, with lifeguards on duty and a snack bar offering tasty treats after a refreshing dip. Perfect for when those hot, sunny Cotswold days come knocking. With its heated 25m pool, The Lido is an oasis in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Whether you’re a serious swimmer clocking up the lengths in our early morning sessions or a family looking for an afternoon’s outdoor fun, The Lido has something for everyone.

Fairytale Farm

(Less than a 5-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

A wonderland for little visitors, with six main areas dedicated to learning and play, where you can meet friendly farm animals, explore the wilderness, learn about wildlife habitats and go on your very own mini adventures.

Whichford Pottery

(15-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

Home of the world-famous Whichford Pottery, where beautiful flowerpots have been hand-crafted here in the Cotswolds for over 40 years, you can meet the makers in the bustling workshop and take inspiration from their stunning garden, before choosing your own memento to take home.

Chastleton House and Gardens

(12-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

An ancient country house with beautiful surrounding gardens, acting as a time-capsule of family life spanning an impressive 400 years. Built between 1607 and 1612, this rare gem of a Jacobean country house was owned by the same family until 1991, when it had largely remained unchanged. It now offers a fascinating insight into years gone by.

 

…Time To Relax

Bamford Haybarn Spa

Bamford Haybarn Spa, Daylesford

 (a 12-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

A beautiful wellness retreat at the acclaimed Daylesford Farm Shop, offering a range of pampering massage, facial and stress reduction treatments with an emphasis on the use of a holistic approach to wellbeing. Pick up some luxurious Bamford Bath & Body products whilst you’re there, all made in England using natural, responsibly sourced, organic ingredients.

Cowshed Spa, Soho Farmhouse

(a 15-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

A members and guests-only paradise at the famed Soho Farmhouse. Relax with a pampering massage, manicure or pedicure, unwind in the steam room, sauna and hot tubs or take a refreshing dip in the indoor pool; with all treatments undertaken with the famed Cowshed Spa toiletry range.

The Spa at Barnsley HouseThe Spa at Barnsley House

(a 40-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

For the ultimate in luxury, look no further than Barnsley House – an iconic hotel tucked away in the picturesque Cotswold village of Barnsley – where a dedicated spa hidden in the gardens offers all visitors a truly memorable day of R&R. The glass-walled spa really is the ultimate in luxury retreats, boasting an outdoor heated hydrotherapy pool, herbaceous sauna and indoor/outdoor lounge relaxation areas.

 

…For Nature Lovers

Batsford ArboretumBatsford Arboretum

(a 20-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

The 56-acre arboretum at Batsford is situated just a mile west of the historic market town of Moreton-in-Marsh in the heart of the Cotswolds. A former home to the famous Mitford family, interest in the arboretum begins in late winter when the snowdrops, aconites and early flowering daffodils spring into life, followed by magnolias, hellebores, fritillaries and the beautiful Japanese ornamental cherries – stars of the show from late March until mid-April. The handkerchief tree is another show-stopper in May, as are the beautiful wildflower meadows which bloom in high summer.

Hidcote Manor Garden

(a 35-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

One of the finest Arts and Crafts gardens in the country, Hidcote was created by American horticulturist Major Lawrence Johnston circa 1905. Divided into a series of garden ‘rooms’, each garden boasts its own character, intertwined with narrow pathways, beautiful views and plants bursting to life at every turn. A must-visit for the green fingered.

Kiftsgate Court Gardens

(a 35-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

Located on the edge of the Cotswold escarpment, this family-run garden has been carefully cultivated by three generations. Featuring a beautiful revolving plan of blooms, which burst in to life throughout the year, visitors can discover the garden’s wild garden, orchard, mound and avenue, plus a fantastic water garden and elegant fountain.

 

Events

Chipping Norton Theatre

The theatre produces a wide variety of plays and screens films for all ages.

Cornbury Music Festival (July)

 (a 20-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

A one-of-a-kind music festival in the heart of beautiful Cotswold countryside, taking place each July with a stellar line-up of live music, food and entertainment for all ages to enjoy. Day tickets are available for those who’d prefer to stay in comfort in their wonderful Bolthole Retreats cottage.

The Big Feastival (August)

(a 10-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

Genius brainchild of ex-Blur bassist Alex James, The Big Feastival takes place each August Bank Holiday on James’ home farm just outside of the beautiful village of Kingham. Expect incredible food from world-renowned chefs, expert demos, a stellar music line-up and plenty of entertainment. Family-friendly, it’s a great choice for those looking for a memorable day out, with day-tickets available over the course of the weekend.

 

WalkingWalking in the Cotswolds

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to walking opportunities in and around Chipping Norton, its prime hillside position meaning there are miles of beautiful surrounding landscapes to explore. For those in search of a gentle stroll, try the walk from Chipping Norton to Over Norton; a gentle 2.5-mile circular walk across undulating countryside, waymarked for ease. For those in search of something slightly more challenging, the 5.5-mile ‘Mills and Meadows’ walk between Kingham and Chipping Norton is a great option, taking in the pretty meadowland which sits between the two famed Cotswold towns. For those keen to visit the ancient Rollright Stones, a 5.25-mile circular walk, starting from the village of Salford, provides the perfect opportunity to discover them on-foot, beginning in a beautiful valley before leading you to the mystical stones.

Useful Links:

Cotswolds AONB :www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk/visiting-and-exploring/walking

 

Shopping

Shopping at Bicester Village near Chipping Norton

 

Bicester Village

Bicester Village is home to more than 160 boutiques of British and international luxury fashion and lifestyle brands, offering savings of up to 60% on the recommended retail price, all year round.

Individual luxury boutiques, alongside restaurants and cafés offering fine cuisine and coffees all day long, cluster around open-air promenades, providing the perfect setting for a day-out shopping experience. A suite of services, including complimentary valet parking and style consultancies, are available on request.

An hour from London in the heart of Oxfordshire, Bicester Village is easy to reach. By car, leave the M40 at Junction 9 and follow the signs; by train from London Marylebone alight at Bicester Village station. The Village’s own Shopping Express direct coach, operating between central pick-up points in London and the Village, every day of the week, is a swift, direct and comfortable service.

 

Activities For Bigger Kids Only

The Wychwood Golf Club

(10-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

Set in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside and just outside the historic town of Chipping Norton, is the exceptional Wychwood Golf Club. Offering spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and Wychwood woodlands. The Wychwood boasts one of the region’s outstanding venues for golf, weddings, business meetings and casual dining. Non-members are very welcome to use the driving range and dining facilities.

Hook Norton Brewery

(10-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

A family-run brewery with a rich handcrafted brewing heritage and one of the finest examples of a Victorian Tower Brewery in the country to boot. Stop by for a brewery tour and experience the sights and sounds of a bustling working brewery in action, learning all about the brewing process (and sampling its tasty results) as you go. Then, pick up your favourite Hooky brews in the Brewery Shop, before heading to the Malthouse Kitchen for a well-earned bite to eat.

The Cotswolds DistilleryCotswolds Distillery

(15-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

The Cotswolds Distillery is the first-ever full-scale craft distillery within the Cotswolds’ Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). They produce a range of “Outstanding Natural Spirits”, including the first-ever Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky, featuring Cotswolds-grown barley. They also produce the award-winning Cotswolds Dry Gin, featuring local lavender from Snowshill, along with a range of small-batch brandies and liqueurs. Located in the un spoilt North Cotswold village of Shipston-on-Stour, with tours and tastings every day of the week (advance booking required).

 

The Food Scene

Chipping Norton and its surrounding towns and villages have a fantastic selection of cafes, restaurants and pubs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here are a few for you to try:

Bakeries & Snacks

The Tea Set

24 High Street, Chipping Norton OX7 5AD | 01608 642233

A beautiful tea room offering indulgent treats, freshly-baked cakes, elegant sandwiches and a selection of tempting lunch and dinner dishes, all in beautiful, quaint surroundings.

The Old Mill Coffee House & Bistro

7 West Street, Chipping Norton OX7 5LH | 01608 646005

A reasonably priced, family friendly café on bustling West Street, offering delicious breakfasts, lunches and homemade sweet treats.

Daylesford Organic Farm

Near Kingham, Gloucestershire GL56 0YG | 01608 731700 (10-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

A must-visit for anyone in the area, the luxurious Daylesford Organic Farm shop and restaurant is anything but rustic… this is luxury Cotswold living at its very best. The café offers fantastic all-day dining from breakfast right through until early supper, with an excellent deli should you want to pick up a few treats whilst you’re there to take back to your holiday cottage.

Burford Garden Company

Shilton Road, Burford OX18 4PA | 01993 823117 (20-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

A nationally renowned garden and home destination with a distinctly luxurious twist, Burford’s in-house café offers a selection of tasty, fresh dishes to enjoy no matter what the time of day. Perfect as a pit-stop should you be checking out the incredible goods on offer in the shop, but equally as good as a dining destination in its own right.

 

Lunch & Dinner

Wild Thyme Restaurant and Rooms

10 New Street, Chipping Norton OX7 5LJ | 01608 645060

A Michelin guide-recommended gem run by husband and wife team Nick and Sally, serving up fresh, seasonal produce with a focus on local and relaxed, friendly service.

Whistlers Café Bar & Restaurant

9 Middle Row, Chipping Norton OX7 5NH | 01608 643363

A family-run restaurant with a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere, serving up classic British-inspired dishes with a refined twist.

The Tite InnThe Tite Inn

Mill End, Chadlington OX7 3NY | 01608 676 910 (5-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

A picture-perfect Cotswold stone village pub, offering bags of character, tasty tipples and good-quality home-cooked meals. Expect classic pub grub with reasonable prices to match.

The Boxing Hare

Swerford, Chipping Norton OX7 4AP|01608 683212 (7-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

Run by successful London restauranteur Antony Griffith Harris, The Boxing Hare is a surprisingly chic find in this hidden corner of the Cotswolds. Here, you’ll find a delectable menu of dishes to satisfy any craving on the à la carte menu, alongside a host of local ales, tasty wines and classic bar snacks, should you only fancy a small bite to eat.

The Fox at Oddington

Lower Oddington GL56 0UR| 01451 870555 (15-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

A classic Cotswold inn serving up delicious seasonal British food, excellent wines and tasty local beers; perfect for those in search of casual dining with a quintessential Cotswolds feel.

The Wild Rabbit

Church Street, Kingham OX7 6YA | 01608 658389 (10-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

This award-winning eatery boasts an enviable reputation across the Cotswolds, serving up refined, Michelin Guide-recommend grub in the beautiful setting of the beautiful village of Kingham. Food here is seasonal and locally-sourced wherever possible, giving you a great ‘taste of the Cotswolds’ experience, and although not the cheapest it’s certainly the perfect destination for a memorable feast.

The Chequers

Church Rd, Churchill OX7 6NJ| 01608 659393 (7-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

A traditional-looking country pub in the heart of the village of Churchill with an impressively stylish vibe inside, boasting tasty locally-brewed beers, a healthy selection of cocktails and great food to match. Anything but old-fashioned, here you’ll feel just as welcome nipping in for a pint as you would sitting down to a hearty feast of British classics with surprising, modern twists.

King’s Head Inn

The Green, Chipping Norton OX7 6XQ| 01608 658365 (15-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

Winner of Pub of the Year in the 2018 Good Pub Guide Awards, The King’s Head Inn is a traditional Cotswold country inn with a pretty location in the heart of Bledington’s village green. Food here is of excellent quality, locally-sourced and seasonally changing, with provenance at the heart of each of the ingredients used. Expect excellent, restaurant-quality dishes in a laid-back pub setting.

Takeaways & Late Dining

Hookie Food Vans

The village of Hook Norton welcomes a selection of fantastic food vans into the village on different days throughout the week, well worth a try should you be in the area. On Wednesdays, JP’s Mobile Pizzeria makes an appearance from 5pm onwards at the primary school, whilst Thursdays see the Thai To Go food van visit between 5pm-8pm outside the church. On Fridays, the Country Fish and Chip Shop parks on Bell Lane opposite the Village Shop, serving up tasty chippy dinners between 5pm and 8pm – locals highly recommend!

Hitchman’s Restaurant, Pizzeria and Bar

2 West Street, Chipping Norton OX7 5AA | 01608 646495

Freshly-made Neapolitan pizzas available to eat-in or take away, offering an elegant twist on the usual takeaway pizza options.

Spice of India

6 West Street, Chipping Norton OX7 5AA| 01608 642785

A traditional restaurant and takeaway serving a host of contemporary Indian and Bangladeshi dishes.

The Arctic Fish Bar

8 New Street, Chipping Norton OX7 5LJ| 01608 641577

A great, reasonably-priced chippy with all of the classics you’d expect on offer, affectionately known by locals as “the best chippy in Chippy.”

 

Pubs

In addition to the above, here’s a selection of local pubs (most serve food too):

 

The Blue BoarThe Blue Boar, Chipping Norton

1 Goddards Lane, Chipping Norton OX7 5NP | 02034 370 891

A traditional Cotswold pub dating back to 1641 that’s popular with locals, serving a wide selection of lagers, real ales, wine and spirits, plus regular live music.

The Chequers

Goddards Lane, Chipping Norton OX7 5NP| 01608 644717

A classic pub serving up real ales, lagers, wines and a good selection of spirits, plus a traditional pub grub menu should you fancy a bite to eat.

The Sun Inn

High St, Hook Norton OX15 5NH | 01608 737570 (10-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

A laid-back inn with stylish interiors and a friendly pub atmosphere, serving up a selection of Hook Norton ales and continental beers.

The Pear Tree Inn

Scotland End, Hook NortonOX15 5NU| 01608 737482(10-minute drive from Chipping Norton)

Handily located at the entrance to Brewery Lane (leading up to Hook Norton Brewery), The Pear Tree Inn offers tasty tipples courtesy of the Brewery itself, as well as tasty pub grub.

 

Helpful Addresses/Links

Emergency

Dial 999 (toll free/freephone – police, ambulance & firefighters)

 

Supermarkets

Aldi– Banbury Road, Chipping Norton OX7 5ET

Coop– Albion Street, Chipping Norton OX7 5AB

Sainsbury’s– 12-14 Market Place, Chipping Norton OX7 5NA

Wyatt’s Farm Shop– Hill Barn Farm, Chipping Norton, Great Rollright OX7 5SH

Oats (Health Foods)-26 High Street, Chipping Norton OX7 5AD

Waitrose– Southam Road, Banbury OX16 2FW

Tesco Superstore– Fosse Way, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1BX

Marks and Spencer (Service Station)– Station Road, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1JU

 

Taxis

Chipping Norton

Excelsior Taxis Ltd – 01608 643721

Hasan Taxi’s – 07903 740131

 

Stow-on-the-Wold

Stow-on-the-Wold Taxi Service – 07887 714 047

Ambassador Taxis – 01608 644 015

Jay Taxis – 07554424793

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