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Home | Guidebooks | Chipping Norton, Charlbury and Kingham

Your Guide to

Chipping Norton, Charlbury and Kingham

“The Undiscovered Cotswolds Club”

If you’re looking for an escape from the stresses and strains of daily city life, you can’t go wrong with a trip to visit Chipping Norton, Charlbury and Kingham in the East Cotswolds.

This peaceful area showcases the beauty of Cotswold villages and market towns with their honey-coloured historic buildings, unbeatable country pubs and especially glorious countryside. Once chosen as ‘England’s Favourite Village’ with its open greens and listed cottages dating back to the 1700s, Kingham has an elegant feel. It is a foodie hotspot with not only a choice of two award-winning restaurants but also a number of other popular options within a short drive. You can meander the quiet village streets or head further afield on bike or foot. You can discover the beautiful surrounding scenery following one of the many footpaths which pass through the village.

Charlbury is a small but vibrant market town that has as yet escaped the hordes of Cotswold tourists. It is undoubtedly a member of the ‘Undiscovered Cotswold Club’, yet it is only an hour from London by train and just 15 minutes’ drive from Soho Farmhouse. Described by The Telegraph as becoming ‘Notting Hill-on-the-Wolds’, Charlbury has a growing reputation with fantastic eateries on offer. During your stay you will see the historic 17th and 18th century buildings, visit great pubs, independent shops, and the local history museum. To the southwest is the remainder of the ancient Wychwood Forest. Part of the forest now makes up the Cornbury Park Estate, the setting for the annual Wilderness Festival.

Finally, Chipping Norton is the largest of these three locations, affectionately known as ‘Chippy’ by the locals. The word ‘Chipping’ is derived from an old English word meaning ‘market’ and the town is typical of the Cotswolds, with its famous honey-coloured stone buildings. It is lively and vibrant with enough going on to make it popular with both tourists and local visitors. At the same time, Chipping Norton retains the peace and tranquillity of a small market town. Chipping Norton is historically famous for wool and tweed production, whilst more recently, Chadlington – three miles south – has become best known as the home of Diddly Squat Farm; Jeremy Clarkson’s farming estate.

We hope you enjoy your stay in this much-loved part of the Cotswolds. To help you plan your days we’ve put together a collection of our favourite experiences so you can make the most of your time with our Chipping Norton, Charlbury and Kingham Guide.

Heythrop Zoological Gardens

Get up close and learn more about the residents of Heythrop Zoological Gardens with one of the exclusive visits and animal encounters. Near Chipping Norton this is more than just a zoo and is not open to the public on a daily basis. The appointment-only experiences make this an unforgettable way to have a really personal encounter.

As well as being a beautiful destination simply to explore the grounds and magnificent building, Blenheim Palace also hosts a selection of great events throughout the year. While booking your tickets, add on a tour where you can learn more about the lives of the staff or the guests who have stayed here. The great thing is, you can make your visit to Blenheim Palace as interactive and as long as you want.

Cogges Manor Farm

Cogges Farm hosts lots of events throughout the year, including festivals and workshops, in the grounds of their Grade II listed manor building. Enjoy a great walk through both the meadow and woodland areas. You can also have a picnic in the gardens, pet the farm animals or combine all three for a fantastic memorable experience.

Diddly Squat Farm Shop

Jeremy Clarkson’s farm shop is as he describes it: “a Cotswolds-based emporium of edible delights. And potatoes.” The bar has a few tables overlooking the Big View so you can enjoy drinks and a burger and bask in the Cotswold countryside.

Daylesford Organic Farm Shop

This hugely popular organic farm in the Cotswolds is where the Daylesford empire started. Alongside the highly regarded farm shop featuring both seasonal fruit and vegetables is a butchers and fresh fish counter, artisan bread and award-winning cheeses. This shopping destination also has home and garden treasures, a café, restaurant, bar and the Bamford Wellness Spa.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Home to over 260 different species of animals, including many which are endangered in the wild, Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is one of the largest zoological collections in the UK. Sitting in 160 acres of landscaped parklands there is also a timetable of daily events including penguin feeds and the lemur talk and walkthrough.

Soho Farmhouse

This luxurious members’ club is a popular hideaway for Londoners. Surrounded by countryside there is a host of fine dining options, relaxing spa treatments, a state-of-the-art gym and also a spectacular main bar.

Hook Norton Brewery

So much more than just a brewery, you are immersed in the life of this family business. With a museum, guided tours, shire horses and their wonderful Malthouse kitchen you can see the whole story during your tour of this Victorian brewery. Following your brewery tour enjoy lunch with a pint of your favourite Hook Norton ale.

Find our tailored collection of services, available at your cottage in our Experiences section on our website!

Chipping Norton Theatre

An important part of the community, Chipping Norton Theatre has so much on offer. A theatre, cinema, gallery and concert hall ensure it makes a big impression and you’re sure to find something to fit your tastes during your stay. Screening the latest releases alongside a vast array of live action you can add some culture to your Cotswold holiday.

Chipping Norton Literary Festival

Chipping Norton Literary Festival held in April is a great event for all ages. With short-story competitions, conversations with famous authors and new novel introductions, Chip Lit Fest is a great way to indulge your bookish side in the Cotswolds.

Wilderness Festival

This immersive festival experience lets you truly let go and enjoy yourself. You can focus on your wellbeing and book a yoga session, meditation, wild swimming or a tea ritual. Big name artists including The Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim have taken to the stage and during quieter times you can feast in the woods or try out axe throwing. There is so much more at Wilderness Festival than you might first expect!

Chipping Norton Museum of Local History

Run by the Local History Society, Chipping Norton Museum is the perfect way to learn about the town’s rich history. As part of the exhibits, visitors can expect to see Roman artifacts, farming equipment and also parish records. Spend an hour or so at the museum and find out all there is to know about Chipping Norton’s past.

Cotswold Motoring Museum & Toy Collection, Bourton-on-the-Water

Go back in time at Cotswold Motoring Museum and relive your childhood through forgotten memories. TV star Brum is in the Mill Gallery and it is from here that he began his adventures. Alongside vintage cars are bicycles, motorbikes, and toys and games.

Fosse Gallery, Stow-on-the-Wold

Fosse Gallery, said to be one of the most important UK art galleries, proudly displays contemporary British art in Stow-on-the-Wold. The owner is well known for her keen eye and the gallery has been proudly displaying art for over 40 years and it continues to grow in popularity and status among the art community.

Charlbury Museum

A small museum, full of local interest. In five rooms of exhibits you can learn about the heritage of the Charlbury area. Learn about old inn signs, tools used by a local watchmaker, farming equipment, a blacksmith’s forge and enjoy the large archive of old photos and genealogical records.

The Big Feastival

This fabulous three-day festival brings together Michelin-star chefs, award-winning food producers with street food, supper clubs and unique pop-ups, plus fabulous family activities and some of the biggest music artists in the UK. Set on Alex James’ farm in the heart of the Cotswolds, enjoy the best food and music against a memorable backdrop. 

Wild Thyme, Chipping Norton

Perfect for: restaurant-quality meals delivered to your cottage

Established in 2008 and quickly becoming a popular choice with locals and visitors to the Cotswolds, Wild Thyme has remained a source for exquisite food. Like many businesses, Wild Thyme has diversified due to COVID-19, and are now offering a takeaway service, so you can enjoy restaurant quality food in the comfort of your Cotswold cottage. Delivery within a 5-mile radius is also available.

Whistlers, Chipping Norton

Perfect for: award-winning seasonal menu, gluten free

Whistlers offer great options for visitors, who can choose from a refined restaurant menu with an excellent range of gluten-free options. Relaxed but sophisticated dining awaits visitors to Whistlers. It’s the perfect choice for an evening meal during your stay in Chipping Norton.

The Old Mill Coffee House & Bistro, Chipping Norton

Perfect for: full English breakfast, brunch, lunch, takeaway

The Old Mill is great when only a proper fry-up will do for breakfast. For lunch, try their freshly made sandwiches and salads or, if you just fancy coffee and cake – that’s delicious too. A great all-round café to pop into while in Chipping Norton.

The Chequers, Chipping Norton

Perfect for: pub food, drinks, lunch, snacks

Parts of The Chequers building in Chipping Norton date back as far as 1444. It was thought to once have been a medieval house with cottages either side. In more recent years, the pub has gained a great reputation in and around Chipping Norton for their cosy and friendly atmosphere.

The Blue Boar, Chipping Norton

Perfect for: pub classics, Sunday roast, drinks, lunch

Serving pub classics in cosy surroundings, The Blue Boar specialises in seasonal dishes bursting with flavour. Their Sunday roasts are excellent, with high-quality British meat, potatoes roasted in goose fat, fresh, seasonal vegetables and a closely guarded secret gravy recipe. Head on over to The Blue Boar for a lovely meal, drinks or a roast on a Sunday.

Pit Kitchen, Chipping Norton

Perfect for: alfresco dining, street food

Pit Kitchen, run by two brothers, aims to bring East London’s food scene to the Cotswolds. Their motto, ‘a few things done really, really well’, is clear to see in their menu. Join them in the evenings for a pit night, they focus on Turkish inspired flatbreads with a range of toppings cooked over open fires. Because they only offer a small number of options, it allows the brothers to ensure that each dish is delicious. Sometimes, less is more.

Bitter and Twisted Bar and Kitchen, Chipping Norton

Perfect for: cocktails, brunch, lunch, dinner

Bitter and Twisted serve great twisted takes on classic dishes. They are independent and family owned and have a wonderful reputation in the area. As well as cosy interiors, Bitter and Twisted have a terrace area. Why not enjoy a glass of something cold in summer, and cosy up in winter with a hot meal?

The Wild Rabbit, Kingham

Perfect for: lunch, dinner

Set in the heart of the Cotswolds, The Wild Rabbit is a modern British inn and is part of the renowned Daylesford Estate. The contemporary dining room is a vibrant light space while the open kitchen adds to the theatre and experience. The food is modern British with a few nods to classic pub dishes, all inspired by the best seasonal produce available.

The Kingham Plough, Kingham

Perfect for: sophisticated pub food, drinks, lunch, snacks

With great reviews and a menu which champions fresh and local ingredients, The Kingham Plough is a great destination for both a pub lunch and an evening drink. Serving seasonal dishes in their cosy, rustic pub surroundings, the pub is renowned for its food.

The Old Shed at Banbury Hill Farm, Charlbury

Perfect for: breakfast, lunch, sweet treats

Set in the beautiful Evenlode Valley, you can soak up the scenery whatever the season while enjoying wonderful local, freshly cooked food. And if you are too full for dessert, take some of their gorgeous homemade cakes home.

The Rose and Crown, Charlbury

Perfect for: drinks, bar snacks

A traditional pub with the emphasis on real ale – along with both traditional cider and perry, Belgian and foreign beers, good value wines and old English fruit wines.

The Three Horseshoes, Charlbury

Perfect for: drinks, bar snacks

This friendly local pub is known because of its fantastic atmosphere and welcoming environment. Enjoy their regular jazz nights with a pint of your favourite.

The Bull, Charlbury

Perfect for: drinks, bar snacks

This charming local pub dates back to the 1500s and is an important part of Charlbury. They work closely with their local suppliers and have an ever-changing menu. On Sundays their roasts are cooked whole on open fires making it a spectacular event.

The Bell, Charlbury

Perfect for: drinks, bar snacks

This 17th century pub is perfect at any time of year, with crackling open fires in the colder months and a charming orchard garden for the warmer weather. Supplied by Daylesford Organic, the menu champions local suppliers and ensures your meals are of the best quality.

Chloe’s, Charlbury

Perfect for: lunch

A weekly changing menu of seasonal produce Chloe serves simple but flavoursome meals. With takeaway options available, you can also dine in and enjoy a ‘Chloe’s Plate’ which changes regularly and includes a glass of wine, beer or soft drink for a very reasonable price.

Did you know?

Winston Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace and his grave is at St Martin’s Church in Bladon.

Bliss Tweed Mill, Chipping Norton

Now made into luxury apartments, Bliss Tweed Mill, built in 1872, was once a thriving mill. Producing tweed cloth from local wool, the mill supplied much of the UK with its fine cloth. The Grade II listed building, with its circular chimney stack, is built from local limestone and sits within acres of green space. Just a short walk from the high street, it’s worth taking a look at this historic and important building.

The Rollright Stones, Chipping Norton

The Rollright Stones comprise of the King’s Men stone circle, the King Stone and the Whispering Knights. Over 5,000 years old, this historic landmark is among the oldest and most historic in the area. Keep little ones entertained during a visit by counting and drawing the stones, and by singing the Rollright Chant!

Four Shire Stone, Moreton-in-Marsh

Four Shire Stone is a small but significant monument which marked the boundary upon which four English counties met; Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. Since its creation, however, Worcestershire’s borders have changed, meaning that the stone now marks where three of the counties meet. The Stone is even said to have inspired Tolkien!

Ditchley Park and Mansion, Enstone

Take a walk along the footpaths around this beautiful private estate. It has a rich history going back to the reign of Elizabeth I through to the Second World War. Churchill also used it as a secret base to meet the US envoy Harry Hopkins as he tried to win America’s support, and as a safe haven from German bombers. When not in use for conferences, private tours of the grounds and mansion can be booked.

Wychwood Wild Garden, Shipton Under Wychwood

These beautiful gardens are privately owned and managed by a local charity to provide a place of peace and tranquility. With over 12 acres of woodland, ponds and avenues to stroll along, it is a lovely place to watch the ducks while taking the dog for a walk.

Broughton Castle, Banbury

This fortified manor house is still home to the Fiennes family who have been the owners since 1447. Surrounded by a moat and with stunning manicured gardens it is a beautiful place to discover the history and hidden interiors of this historic building. Open seasonally on bank holidays, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, be sure to plan your trip in advance.

Charlbury railway station was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Fairytale Farm, Chipping Norton

Divided into six zones, including Huff and Puff, Enchanted Walk and Fairy Dell, Fairytale Farm has something to keep the whole family entertained. With animals including pigs, goats, ponies, lambs, chickens, rabbits and alpacas, as well as an adventure playground, Fairytale Farm has enough to do to keep children occupied for hours. What’s more, because they’re having so much fun, it won’t feel like learning at all!

The Lido, Chipping Norton

Described as an oasis of calm in a busy world, Chippy Lido offers open-air swimming in two heated pools – a 25-metre pool and a paddling pool for young children. Whether you are dedicated to getting to a certain number of lengths or you simply want to splash around with your family, Chippy Lido is a lovely pool to visit.

Garden Centre and Soft Play, Charlbury

A garden centre with a lot more than plants! Visitors can browse the plant centre (indoor and outdoor), eat at the restaurant (breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea), and visit the indoor soft play barn.

Birdland Park & Gardens, Bourton-on-the-Water

Birdland Park and Gardens in Bourton-on-the-Water is inhabited by over 500 birds. See the flamingos, pelicans, penguins and also the elusive cassowary. The aviaries, which total more than 50, house parrots, falcons and ibis, whilst the Parliament of Owls, the newest attraction in the park, provides a home for eight different species of owl.

Carterton Soft Play & Trampoline

Discover the main jump area, with an airbag dive tower, reactive pod, foam pit and battle beam. With tunnels, slides, obstacles and a skyglide track – as well as a special area, just for babies and toddlers – there’s something for everyone.

Set high in the Cotswolds, overlooking the Windrush Valley, this is a fabulous day out for the whole family and much loved by both locals and visitors alike. See rare breeds, spot new arrivals in the animal barn, follow the wildlife trails and spend time in the glorious countryside.

Bamford Wellness Spa, Kingham

Set on the Daylesford organic farm, Bamford Spa offers a holistic approach to relaxation and healing. A range of treatments use both modern and ancient techniques to fully relax the body and let the mind quiet. Classes are available and you can purchase access to The Spring wet spa.

C-Side Spa, Cowley

The magnificent surroundings of Cowley Manor make the C-Side Spa a luxurious escape. After enjoying a treatment of your choice and a swim in the indoor or outdoor pool, wander the grounds where you will find natural springs and lakes.

Dormy House Spa, Broadway

An award-winning spa just outside the heart of Broadway, a picturesque Cotswold location. You will find a menu of treatments, relaxed spa café and fitness suites alongside the candlelit infinity pool.

Hatherley Manor Spa, Cheltenham

Take some time for yourself at Hatherley Manor Spa. A thermal suite lets you choose your favourite way to rejuvenate, or meditate in their tranquil relaxation room. Visit for a treatment and spend some time in the pool for a break away from life’s stresses.

Cotswold House Spa, Chipping Campden

Open for spa days or treatments, Cotswold House Spa also has a hair salon and nail bar on site. Found in the centre of Chipping Campden, combine your spa day with a stroll around the town.

Ellenborough Park Spa, Cheltenham

The luxurious Ellenborough Park will not disappoint. Surrounded by countryside on the outskirts of Cheltenham you can enjoy the grounds after your favourite treatment or treat yourself to afternoon tea.

The Elan Spa at The Greenway, Cheltenham

This oasis of calm is an ideal retreat to relax and unwind while on holiday in the Cotswolds. With a choice of day packages and mini spa days you will find something that will fit your needs perfectly.

The Lygon Arms Spa, Broadway

On the main street in Broadway, The Lygon Arms is a wonderful place to while away a few hours with a treatment before spending time relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet on a lounger. The Lygon is also home to the James Martin Grill for a delicious meal.

The Garden Spa at Minster Mill, Minster Lovell

Choose how you want to spend your time by booking either a spa day, a treatment or add on use of the pool facilities. This space only allows eight users at a time making it a truly relaxing experience.

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Please Note: Information correct at time of publishing. Please check the destination/attraction direct website before visiting to confirm opening hours and visitor details.

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