"Chipping" means 'market', revealing the town's past importance as the main commercial centre for the Evenlode valley. The surrounding Cotswolds were one of the wealthiest parts of England in the Middle Ages, owing to their production of wool; Chipping Norton was one of the beneficiaries of this trade. Many of the medieval buildings built as a result remain in the town centre, adding to its unique character. Many buildings also date from the 18th century.
Through the turmoil of the Middle Ages and the reformation, the industrial revolution right up to the modern association with 'The Chipping Norton Set', Chippy (as it is affectionally known by its residents) has seen its fair share of history, and is an essential place to visit while in the Cotswolds, and is an idyllic and peaceful location to stay in while also being close to Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon.
The town has also been voted one of the UK's "top ten country towns" by the 200,000 readers of Period Living and Traditional Homes magazine.
For those living close by, there are several bus services that meet at Chipping Norton, most notably the S3 (that travels to Oxford, stopping off at Woodstock, Enstone and other places) and the number 50 to Stratford. For those coming from further afield, coming into Chippy by car is best advised.
For such a small town, the best way to get around Chippy is by foot. The town is not very wheelchair-friendly and in some places steep hills may cause potential problems for the semi infirm or people with baby buggies.
With the help of a map, phone, or friendly resident, navigating the town is fairly easy.
- 1 The Chipping Norton Museum, 4 High St, OX7 5AD, ☏ . This museum is not the most impressive in size (it is essentially just a large room), but it does house a selection of interesting artefacts chronicling the town's history.
- 2 Parish Church of St Mary, 6 Church St, OX7 5NT, ☏ . The Gothic nave, rebuilt circa 1485, retains one of the finest 15th-century interiors amongst English churches. The chancel and aisles retain elements of 13th- and 14th-century architecture.
- 3 Town Hall. Built in 1842. Has a neo-classical architectural style.
- 4 Almhouses. Built in 1640.
- 5 Guildhall, OX7 5NJ. The medieval guildhall is one of the oldest buildings in the town and now functions as a tourist information office.
- 6 Rollright Stones. A late Neolithic ceremonial stone circle dating from 2500 to 2000 BC about 2 miles north of Chipping Norton
- 7 Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1PP (bus: Stagecoach Gold S3 bus from Oxford (about 30 minutes); car: A44 from Oxford, signposted from Junction 9 of the M40 and from the A34), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A stately home open to the public. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country on account of its sheer size and opulence, and its strong associations with Sir Winston Churchill, Britain's wartime prime minister (who is buried in the nearby village of Bladon). The Palace has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. £22 for adults (upgradable free of charge to an annual pass); concessions available.
- 8 Chastleton House, Chastleton, near Moreton-in-Marsh, GL56 0SU, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. An early 17th-century mansion house now owned by the National Trust, one of the finest and most complete Jacobean buildings in the land
- 9 Bliss Valley Tweed Mill. The former wool mill, Bliss Mill, is a symbol of Chipping Norton but now is a set of luxury flats.
- 1 The Theatre, 2 Spring St, OX7 5NL, ☏ . M-F 10AM-6PM; Sa 10AM-2PM. Spring Street. The Theatre has a fantastic show case of home made productions, touring shows and recordings for radio programmes of all genres, as well as nationally renowned (and invariably ridiculous) panto.
- 2 The Lido, Fox Close, OX7 5BZ, ☏ . An outdoor heated swimming pool open in the summer months.
- 3 Chipping Norton Leisure Centre, Burford Rd, OX7 5DY, ☏ . A health and sports centre including a gym, squash courts and an indoor heated swimming pool.
For shopping, it is advised to visit nearby Banbury or Oxford. That said, Chipping Norton does host a number of small shops including women's boutique shops, a shoe shop, a very good deli, newsagents, supermarkets, gift shops, cafés, a bakery, a clothes shop and even a small department store.
Chipping Norton also holds host to very nice bookshop, Jaffe & Neale, and a well run Oxfam bookshop for bookworms and record collectors alike.
- 1 Jaffe & Neale, 1 Middle Row, OX7 5NH, ☏ . Considered prestigious by the community. Has a café with a good selection of coffee and cakes.
- 2 Oxfam, 6A Market St, OX7 5NA, ☏ .
- 1 The Old Mill, 7 West St, OX7 5LH, ☏ . M-Sa 8AM-5:30PM, Su 9AM-5PM. A bistro that serves basic sausage and chips type food, but is by no means a bad café. mains £4-10.
- 2 Spice of India, 6 West St, OX7 5AA, ☏ . An Indian restaurant.
- 3 Whistlers, 9 Middle Row, OX7 5NH, ☏ . A restaurant that serves dinner and lunch.
- 4 Bitter and Twisted, 1 Middle Row, OX7 5NH, ☏ . A wine bar and restaurant.
- 1 Blue Boar, 1 Goddards Lane, OX7 5NP (on the Marketplace), ☏ .
- 2 The King's Arms, 18 West Street, OX7 5AA, ☏ .
- 3 The Fox, Market Place, OX7 5DD, ☏ .
- 4 The Chequers, Goddards Ln, OX7 5NP, ☏ .
- 5 Wine Bear, West St, OX7 5AA, ☏ .
Chipping Norton includes multiple places offering accommodation, including:
- 1 The Crown and Cushion, 23 High Street, OX7 5AD, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2 Wild Thyme, 10 New St, OX7 5LJ, ☏ .
- The King's Arms, 18 West Street, OX7 5AA, ☏ .
- The Fox, Market Place, OX7 5DD, ☏ .
It may be worth considering many quality hotels and B&Bs in the area surrounding the town, including:
Places of worship
- St. Mary's Anglican Church
- Holy Trinity Catholic Church
- Chipping Norton Methodist Church [dead link]
- Baptist Church [dead link]
- St. James' Over Norton. an Anglican chapel in the next-door village of Over Norton
Chipping Norton is not the most dangerous place, but sensible precautions should always be taken. Chipping Norton does have a Hospital (but with no Accident and Emergency or ambulances, the nearest being in Banbury), Fire station and Police station if anything does go wrong though.
- Oxford, the heart of the county and the home of the oldest English-speaking university
- Banbury, an ancient market town
- Woodstock, home of Blenheim Palace, 'the English Versailles' and the birthplace of Churchill
- Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of Shakespeare.
Any of these places can be reached from Chipping Norton via bus. Oxford and Woodstock via the S3, Stratford by the number 50 bus and Banbury by the 488.
|Routes through Chipping Norton|
|Evesham ← Moreton-in-Marsh ←||NW SE||→ Woodstock → Oxford|
|Swindon ← Burford ←||SW NE||→ Bloxham → Banbury|