Chipping Norton has the highest elevation of any town in Oxfordshire. Its site was previously occupied by a Norman castle with a commanding view of the hills. The word “Chipping” in its name is derived from an old English word, “ceapen,” which means market.
Chipping Norton has had a profitable market since the Middle Ages. Like other towns in the Cotswolds it did well in the wool trade and was able to construct a “wool church” called St. Mary. Unlike other towns in the Cotswolds, this one is out of the way; you will see less tourist related bustle in Chipping Norton and find that the town retains a very local character.
Nonetheless there is much to delight a tourist in Chipping Norton. The unusually constructed Bliss Tweed Mill identifies Chipping Norton as a landmark for kilometers around. You can also see the Almshouses built by the unfortunate but generous Henry Cornish in the 17th century. The Town Hall and the Chipping Norton museum also provide diverting distractions. One of the most unique features of Chipping Norton is the presence of a theater in such a tiny town. The theater hosts a diverse program of regular events and its annual pantomime is so celebrated that travelers come from around the world to enjoy it.
Chipping Norton is a wonderful “off the beaten path” town to visit in the Cotswolds!