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The richest wool town in the Cotswolds


High Street
Grevel House
Market Hall
St James' Church
People often forget a letter P in this town's name. Remember, it's Chipping Campden, not Camden. Be careful with your consonants!
The word "chipping" derives from an old English term for "market", and throughout its history the town has always been open for business. During the medieval era, when the wool trade was in full swing, this was one of the most important places in England. Its name was known all over Europe. This had a dramatic effect on the settlement, transforming it completely.
A particularly noticeable product of those prosperous wool-trading years is St. James' Church. At the time, dozens of similar religious buildings were springing up all over the Cotswolds. St. James' though, is arguably the finest of them all. It's a spacious place, with a tall, 36-metre tower. Inside is a collection of appropriately ornate decorations, from tombs to altars.

St James' Church
Photo stevecadman
This beautiful structure does justice to the rest of Chipping Campden. It's an eye-catching place, built from golden yellow Cotswold stone. On a summer's day it seems like sunlight is shining from the walls. Unusually, the High Street runs in a gentle curve. Its houses form a largely unbroken terrace, but the colours, shapes and styles tend to vary wildly. It's one of the more interesting, unique streets to exist in any small English town.
The oldest property is Grevel House. It was built back in 1380, when its chimneys would still have been a rare sight! The home was named after William Grevel, an influential wool merchant who helped bring success to town. Watch out for the other interesting architectural details, like the gargoyles and sundial.

Grevel House
Photo stevecadman
At the centre of the High Street is the 17th century Market Hall. Surprisingly enough, this is one structure that doesn't have a connection to the all-conquering wool trade. Instead, it housed vendors of cheese, butter and poultry. Its many arches perfectly frame views of the buildings outside.

Chipping Campden Market Hall
Photo stevecadman

Hidcote Manor Garden

Photo alh1
Hidcote Garden is a perfect example of the "Arts and Crafts" style of the early 20th century. Hedges, paths and doorways divide everything up into "rooms", like a giant, living bungalow. Each has a different theme, from the winter flowers of the Alpine Terrace to the carefully clipped shapes of the Topiary Garden. There are plenty of surprises. A row of hornbeams have their lower branches stripped, so they look like green, stilt-walking animals. Smoothly-trimmed hedges in the Pillar Garden resemble huge, varnished chess pieces. In the west, plants are allowed to swell into a lawless, natural wilderness. You can find the garden a couple of miles north of Chipping Campden.

Kiftsgate Court Garden

Photo ell brown
Kiftsgate is the achievement of three generations of female gardeners. The first, Heather Muir, was inspired by her neighbour, Lawrence Johnson, the designer of the gardens at nearby Hidcote Manor. Her designs, though, were more improvised than the rigid lines employed there. For example, in Bluebell Wood, flowers carpet the ground. The White Sunk Garden lets colourful plants bloom freely on a background of pale shrubs. Kiftsgate gained popularity in the 50s, when other gardeners praised both the arrangement of its colours and the sheer size of its roses. These classic English flowers are Kiftsgate's pride and joy. July, when hundreds of flowers erupt into bright white bloom, is the best time to visit.
Visitor Information
Chipping Campden Tourist Information The Old Police Station, High Street, Chipping Campden, GL55 6HB. Tel: 01386 841 206
Hidcote Manor Garden (NT) is open mid March to early November, Saturday to Wednesday, 10am to 5pm. Entry costs around £10. Hidcote Bartrim, Chipping Campden, GL55 6LR. Tel: 01386 438 333
Kiftsgate Court Garden is open May to August, Saturday to Wednesday, 12noon to 6pm (plus reduced opening in April and September). Entry costs around £7. Near Chipping Campden, GL55 6LN. Tel: 01386 438 777

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