Chippenham is a market town in the south west of England, midway between the cities of Bath and Swindon. Its population has grown rapidly in recent years, and it is currently Wiltshire's third larest town with 40,000 inhabitants.
The rapid expansion in the last 10 years can be attributed to the development of the South West regional economy as a whole, and specifically to the new housing estates developed in Chippenham such as the recent Cepen Park North and South areas to the west of the town and the earlier Pewsham estate to the east.
The town lies in the Avon Vale, the broad valley of the River Avon in the low lying claylands of north west Wiltshire. Chippenham is located at a convenient crossing point of the River Avon, within close proximity of the nearby towns of Corsham, Calne, Melksham and Malmesbury. Higher ground lies to the east of the town at the Marlborough Downs, to the north at the Cotswolds and to the south at Salisbury Plain.
The origins of Chippenham are believed to be from before Roman times, with remains of settlements from this time claimed to be in the wall behind the former magistrates court in the town today.
During Saxon times it emerged as an early settlement around 600 AD. There may also have been a royal forest and hunting lodge here that was used by Alfred the Great.
The name Chippenham may have been originated from Cyppa's Hamme - perhaps a Saxon chief called Cyppa, or from the word ce-ap meaning market, and Hamme meaning enclosed by the river or an enclosed water meadow. In its early years this was an area of small family farms, perhaps concentrating on dairy farming and cheese making.
The name is also claimed to be recorded as Cippanhamm, Cepen, Cheppeham, Shippenham and Chippyngham. The Domesday Book listed Chippenham as Cepen, with a population of 600-700 people in 1086. The town received a charter of incorporation in May 1554 by Queen Mary.
Chippenham town centre is approximately 4 miles from Junction 17 of the M4, linking to Swindon, Reading and London to the East and Bristol and South Wales to the West. It lies on the A4 (linking to Bath in the West) and the A350 (linking to Warminster and the South coast).
Chippenham railway station (a little way out of the town centre) lies on the Great Western mainline from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads, served by a half-hourly Intercity service (operated by First Great Western). The main station building (on the South side of the station) contains a staffed ticket office, 3 ticket machines and an independent café (serving food, drinks and newspapers). There are car parks on the North and South sides of the station and bicycle parking, a taxi rank and bus stops on the South side. Trains serve both sides of an island platform, accessed by steps from the North or South sides of the station. Step-free access requires assistance from station staff to cross at track level.
The town is served by a number of bus companies. First Group operates the 231/232 route to Bath (via Corsham) and 234 to Frome. Stagecoach operates the 55 to Swindon (via Calne and Royal Wootton Bassett). AD Rains, Andybus, APL Travel, Badgerline, Coachstyle and Faresaver operate a large number of services to surrounding towns and villages. Details can be found on Travel Search (Chippenham) and Wiltshire Council.
National Express coach services call at Chippenham: Northampton to Bristol (302), Bath to London (403) and Penzance to London (404).
Surrounding the town are many ancient villages, including Lacock, Castle Combe, Langley Burrell, Kington Langley, Derry Hill, Kington St Michael, Colerne, Yatton Keynell and Biddestone.
- Corsham Court, Corsham. The stately home can also be found in the town centre. Standing on a former Saxon Royal Manor, it is based on an Elizabethan manor home from 1582. Since 1745, it has been part of the Methuen estate. The house has an extensive collection of Old Masters, rooms furnished by Robert Adam and Thomas Chippendale, and parks landscaped by Capability Brown and Humphry Repton. The house is open to the public all year round excluding December and is famed locally for its peacocks, which freely wander about the streets.
- Chippenham Folk Festival, The Cause Music and Arts Centre, 42, The Causeway SN15 3DD, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Over 200 events taking place within the town centre. The main ceilidh and concert events take place in the beautiful park alongside the river. The 43rd annual festival will take place from Friday 23rd to Monday 26th May 2014.
Chippenham has a small selection of fine local restaurants:
- 1 The Bridge Brasserie, 29 New Road, Chippenham SN15 1HZ, ☎ . Casual fine dining and great cocktails, a seasonal à la carte menu, and free WiFi
- 2 Ashoka, 62 Market Place, Chippenham, SN15 3HG, ☎ , fax: . Simple or spicy Indian food freshly prepared every day
- 3 Cafe India, 5a New Road, Chippenham SN15 1EL. Simple or spicy Indian food freshly prepared every day (Order online)
There are a selection of Indian and Chinese restaurants around the town, very few chain restaurants, with a Pizza Express in the town centre, Pizza Hut further out of town and McDonald's and Burger King around the town's bypass.
- The Gladstone Arms: a gastro-pub with dedicated restaurant area serving high quality classic dishes.
There are several hotels in the town centre, with more nearby.
- 1 Angel Hotel (Best Western Plus Angel Hotel), Market Place, Chippenham, SN15 3HD, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A 17th Century coaching inn, extensively refurbished with a blend of traditional and contemporary style. 50 en-suite bedrooms, including: 4 four-poster bedrooms, 2 bedrooms equipped for guests with a disability, 32" LCD TV with Freeview and Sky Sports 1 in all rooms, complementary WiFi in all bedrooms and public areas, private dining rooms, brasserie, 2 bars, 4 conference rooms, wedding receptions, heated indoor swimming pool and gymnasium and free parking Rooms from £86.35 (Book using a discount site for best deals).
- 2 Premier Inn (Premier Inn Chippenham), Cepen Park, West Cepen Way, Chippenham, SN14 6UZ, ☎ 08715 278244 (high cost), fax: 08715 278245 (high cost). Chippenham Premier Inn has comfortable beds in every room, and an onsite Brewers Fayre restaurant serving pub food in a family friendly environment Rooms from £65 (£29 Deals available).
- 3 Red Box Guest House (B&B), 35 Buckingham Road, Pewsham, Chippenham, SN15 3TE, ☎ , e-mail: , email@example.com. Check-in: 3pm - 9pm, check-out: 10.30am. A modern Bradstone home with a landscaped garden, patio and summer house, in a quiet cul-de-sac. Off road parking and a restored 1936 red telephone box on the drive. Centrally heated throughout, en-suite bedrooms, digital TV with Freeview, DVD player, clock radio/alarm, hospitality tray, Wi-Fi, iron and hairdryer Rooms from £40 third night half price, for longer stays flexible arrangements are available, includes full English Breakfast, (Book Online).
- 4 Number 35 (B&B), 35 Marshfield Road, Chippenham, SN15 1JT, ☎ , e-mail: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 5.15pm weekdays, 4pm weekend. Number 35 is an elegant, late Victorian house. The recent refurbishment has made the most of the period features but has given a 21st Century feel, with free WiFi throughout the house. All of the rooms are equipped with a flat screen digital TV, DVD player, hairdryer and hospitality tray with tea, instant and decaffeinated coffee, hot chocolate, mineral water, biscuits and chocolate. En-suite shower rooms with electric showers, under floor heating, heated towel rails and a range of complimentary quality toiletries. Bathrobes, slippers and extra towels available Rooms from £75 per night with a £15 reduction for single occupancy, includes full English Breakfast.
- 5 New Road Guest House (B&B), 31 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1HP, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. This friendly, family run B&B in the heart of Chippenham has ten bedrooms, five in the Main House and five in the Coach House in the garden, with a mixture of singles, doubles, twins and family rooms, all of which have Freeview TV and a hospitality tray
- 6 The Pines (B&B), 81/82 Marshfield Road, Chippenham, SN15 1JR, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 7am - 9.30pm. The Pines Hotel is fully licensed and prides itself on its home cooking and friendly atmosphere. Over 20 rooms, wireless internet, private car park and wheel chair access. There are facilities for small conferences, wedding receptions and private functions. A beer/patio garden open all year. New restaurant serving Greek and Cypriot cuisine, the Chef is Greek national Rooms from £25, late bookings available, includes full English Breakfast.
Elsewhere out of town
- 7 Stanton Manor Hotel (Stanton Manor Hotel & Gallery Restaurant), Stanton Saint Quintin, Near Chippenham, SN14 6DQ, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Combining heritage with a modern approach, set in private grounds. Enjoying a relaxed meal or for longer visits whilst exploring the local area. Private, AA Rosette award winning cuisine, with local, seasonal produce and an experienced chef, menus can be fully tailored to suit requirements. The entire house can be reserved to ensure a private dining experience. Placed at the gateway to the Cotswolds, with a range of private rooms and corporate facilities, inviting accommodation and a welcoming restaurant open to non-residents Rooms from £99 (Book using a discount site for best deals).
- 8 Home Farm Bed & Breakfast, Harts Lane, Biddestone SN14 7DQ, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 4.30pm - 7.30pm, check-out: 10.30am. A 17th century grade II listed Farmhouse situated on a working farm in the heart of the village, set in large gardens far from traffic noise, minutes away from two pubs on the village green. Self-catering accommodation is available with adequate off-road, secure parking. Accommodation comprises two Farmhouse rooms, and 'Harts', a luxury garden room, each with en suite shower rooms and complementary toiletries. There is also the self-catering Pear Tree Cottage, with 2 twin bedrooms sleeping 4, plus sofa-bed, opening onto a large level lawn with swings, trampoline and table tennis. Flat screen TV, DVD player, Freeview, hairdryer, ironing facilities, tea and coffee hospitality tray, WiFi access available in all public areas Rooms from £75 (Online booking).
- 9 Lucknam Park Hotel (Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa), Colerne, Chippenham SN14 8AZ, ☎ . Check-in: 2pm, check-out: 10am. A 5 star hotel and spa set in the Wiltshire countryside near the city of Bath. The hotel offers numerous activities including an equestrian centre and has a Michelin Star restaurant Rooms from £275.00 (Cheapest online rate).
- Swindon - Known for its history as the heart of the Great Western Railway, 15 minutes by train (or 30 minutes by car on the A350 dual carriageway and M4 motorway)
- Bath - Easily accessible, this beautiful Roman City boasts magnificent architecture, parks and shopping as well as its world-famous Roman Baths.