It is with a heavy heart that I write this last post on this year’s trip to the Cotswolds.
We stayed in this lovely part of England only for two nights, and I think we used our time well. We weren’t able to visit Snowshill Manor, Hidcote, or the Court Barn Museum.There were quite a few places in and around Chipping Campden that we would have loved to see, but I suppose that merely means that we should go again.
Sorrowful preamble aside, let me explain what I hope to make this post. I’d like to take my readers along with me on a little tour of Chipping Campden through pictures and stories. Now that I’m back home, I realize that my photographing skills while in Chipping Campden were lacking, but I’m going to work with what I have. Unfortunately, I don’t have images for all the places I hope to mention, but I’m assuming that’s alright.
Ready? Let’s go!
Destination #1: The Noel Arms Hotel
Located on Chipping Campden’s High Street, the Noel Arms hotel is apparently one of the Cotswold’s oldest inns. The website boasts that perhaps Charles II stayed here…the ‘perhaps’ should be italicized and extra bold, if you know what I mean.
The hotel rooms themselves are mostly located outside of the main building, across from the breakfast room in the image above. The rooms are relatively but not generously spacious. The bathroom was huge, though. I also have to mention that some of the bathroom appliances date from 1924. Charming, yes, but inconvenient as well. If you open the tap hoping for a small trickle of water, you receive a torrent comparable to that of Niagara Falls and risk losing whatever unfortunate finger you placed under the tap.
Old appliances aside, the Noel Arms was lovely. It was steeped in antiquity, and I believe it was built sometime around 1600.
Destination #2: High Street
Standing right outside the Noel Arms and turning to your left will give you the view below.
The building you see ahead is called the Market Hall. Erected in 1627, this structure was built to provide a shelter for the market.
Chipping Campden was a market town, and this can be seen in the name itself, ‘chipping’ which I was told has something to do with a market. The town specialized in wool trading and people from all over England and maybe even Europe came to purchase Costwold wool.
High Street is lined with a mixture of residences and businesses. I took some pictures of a couple quintessential Chipping Campden front doors, but I feel as though it would be rude to post them on the Internet without the owner’s permission.
Though I won’t post any photos, I think it’s okay to give the names of some of the houses you may pass while walking down High Street:
Rose and Crown House
One of the homes, The Gables, is owned by a lovely couple who I had the pleasure of meeting. They were kind enough to give me and my family a tour of their home which was a combination of 14th, 15th, and 18th century handicraft. It was a priceless experience. If you have the opportunity, acquaint yourself with some of the locals (or celebrities – Johnny Depp owns a home here). They’re friendly and will give you invaluable insight into this tiny town.
Destination #3: Badger’s Hall
Badger’s Hall is an example of a place I didn’t photograph. In addition, we never actually stepped foot inside. Badger’s Hall is a bed and breakfast and is known for it’s tea room. We wanted to step inside and have a cup of tea, but, like most places in Chipping Campden, it was only open for a select number of hours and we were thus unable to pop in.
Destination #4: The Co-operative
The Co-operative is a small grocery store located on High Street. We often stopped buy to grab snacks, and, on one occasion, dinner.
Destination #5: Draycott Books
Due to my love for rare and used books, we tried to visit every bookstore we came upon during this trip. Chipping Campden’s Draycott Books located on Sheep Street was an excellent spot. It was small and cozy and brimming with yellowing pages and fading covers.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to thoroughly inspect Draycott Book’s reasonably priced selection, but I think my sister bought something. If I were to ever go back to Chipping Campden (I hope I return soon!) Draycott Books would be my first stop.
There’s another bookshop/market in Chipping Campden called A Festival of Books. This market sold only new publications, and was pretty expensive. It’s a beautiful outdoor market, but if you really want to purchase some authentic literature, don’t waste your time here. It is worth a little look-around if you’ve got some minutes to spare, though!
Destination #6: Cotswold Lavender
The lavender farm is a five minute drive from Chipping Campden. I suppose you could walk, but the people working at the information centre (the misspelling is intentional) said it would be too long of a trek.
The farm is open when the lavender is in bloom, and as you can see, it’s breathtaking. Literally. The scent of lavender here is pure and very, very strong.
Stop by the farm and you can lounge in the cafe or shop in the gift shop. The shop sells everything from lavender sugar to fresh sachets. You can purchase soaps and candles and bath salts and shampoo. All the products are made with the lavender you see!
To walk among the lavender plants in the field itself, you do have to purchase a ticket. Because we had to hurry on to Glasgow, we only stopped by to take a couple of pictures and to purchase some fresh lavender sachets and soap.
Destination #7: The Chipping Campden Antiques and Collectibles Fair
The Chipping Campden Antiques and Collectibles Fair was one of the highlights of our trip to the town. It’s not really a fair – just a small room (across the street from Noel Arms) with a modest collection of collectibles. Despite it’s small size, it’s definitely worth a visit. The antiques are reasonably priced, and I walked out with my pockets laden with old coins and some pins. Like any antique fair/shop, keep your expectations low. I noticed that the fair had mostly jewelry and china for sale, none of which seemed too old or valuable. However, I did see a beautiful vanity set from the early 1900’s/late 1800’s, a tin of old coins, and some antique contraptions (I wasn’t so sure exactly what they were) so this fair does have potential.
With kind, friendly vendors who are more than willing to explain to you why their items are valuable as well as their history, I think everyone who visits Chipping Campden should pop into the fair if it’s open. Again, the chance of the fair being open is not incredibly high – if somebody wants to open their shop in Chipping Campden or take a break at any random moment for a spot of tea, they do not hesitate…that has both it’s pros and cons.
With that, I conclude my virtual walk through Chipping Campden . In this post, I just highlighted some of my favorite spots in the town. I could have typed for hours about all the little sights we absorbed, but that would take years to complete. I would have loved to write about the short drives we took around Chipping Campden, but it is hard to put the splendor of the countryside into words.
Chipping Campden, I hope to come visit you again very soon!
I hope you enjoyed this post, and I apologize for the lack of pictures!