Chipping Campden is one of the jewels of the Cotswolds and it is not hard to see why.
Steeped in history it is noted for its terraced High Street that dates back to the 14th century and its name “Chipping” is from Old English cēping, meaning market.
Like many towns and villages in this part of the world, it was a wool trading centre in the Middle Ages and enjoyed the patronage of wealthy wool merchants, most notably William Greville.
We love that Chipping Campden boasts some beautiful and historic buildings, one of the loveliest being the Grade I listed Market Hall, built in 1627 in the centre of the town and still in use today. The arched side walls gave shelter to the merchants and farmers who sold their wares and also allowed light and customers in. It is now looked after by the National Trust.
Other fascinating buildings include the early perpendicular Cotswold wool church, the Church of St James with its medieval alter frontals and the Grade I listed almshouses on Church Street which were built in 1612. They provided homes for 12 pensioners and still remain in use for that purpose. The Old Silk Mill in Sheep Street is Grade II listed and a three-storey building originally used as a mill for spinning silk thread. After it closed it became a silk throwing mill before being converted into the headquarters for the Guild of Handicraft in 1902. The Court Barn near the church is now a museum for the Arts and Crafts tradition of the area.
The High Street is especially pretty, lined with shops, cafes and restaurants housed in buildings built from locally quarried oolitic limestone, known as Cotswold stone. Much of the town centre is now a conservation area which has helped to preserve the original buildings including the 256 historically listed within the town.
One of the really fun historical aspects of Chipping Campden that we love is it has its own Olympic Games. It originated in 1612 as a championship of rural games and is now called the Robert Dover’s Olimpick Games. It is held every summer on the Friday evening following the late Spring Bank Holiday on Dover’s Hill and events include the sport of shin kicking. To mark the end of the games there is a huge bonfire and firework display followed by a torch-lit procession back into the town and dancing in the square.
The following day is the Scuttlebrook Wake where locals wear fancy dress costumes and follow the Scuttlebrook Queen, her attendants and page boy in a procession to the town centre.
Other events we love include the annual Chipping Campden Literature Festival, Music Festival, and Open Gardens Weekend.
Sporting enthusiasts will love Chipping Campden as the area boasts plenty of activities to get immersed in including a golf club as well as Badminton, Bowls, Cricket and Football Clubs. For those who like to exercise the little grey cells, there is also a Bridge Club.
All these elements and a great sense of community all add up to making Chipping Campden a town we love.