"Chipping" means 'market', revealing the town's past importance as the main commercial centre for the Evenlode valley. The surrounding Cotswolds were one of the wealthiest parts of England in the Middle Ages, owing to their production of wool; Chipping Norton was one of the beneficiaries of this trade. Many of the medieval buildings built as a result remain in the town centre, adding to its unique character. Many buildings also date from the 18th century. Through the turmoil of the Middle Ages and the reformation, the industrial revolution right up to the modern association with 'The Chipping Norton Set' Chippy (as it is affectionally known by its residents) has seen its fair share of history, and is an essential place to visit while in the Cotswolds, as well as being an idyllic and peaceful location to stay in while also being close to Oxford and Stratford.
The town has also been voted one of the UK's top ten Country Towns by the 200,000 readers of Period Living and Traditional Homes.
For those living close by, there are multiple bus services that meet at Chipping Norton, most notably the S3 (that travels to Oxford, stopping off at Woodstock, Enstone and other places) and the number 50 to Stratford. For those coming from further afield, coming into Chippy by car is best advised.
For such a small town, the best way to get around Chippy is by foot. The town is not very wheelchair friendly and in some places steep hills may cause potential problems for the semi infirm or people with baby buggies.
With the help of a map, phone, or friendly resident, navigating the town is fairly easy.
- the Parish Church of St Mary - the Gothic nave, rebuilt circa 1485, retains one of the finest 15th century interiors amongst English churches. The chancel and aisles retain elements of 13th and 14th century architecture.
- the Town Hall - built 1842 in Neo-Classical style
- the Almhouses - built 1640
- the Guildhall - the medieval guildhall is one of the oldest buildings in the town and now functions as a tourist information office.
- The Theatre. Spring Street. The Theatre has a fantastic show case of home made productions, touring shows and recordings for radio programmes of all genres, as well as nationally renowned (and invariably ridiculous) panto.
- The Chipping Norton Museum. This museum is not the most impressive in size (it is essentially just a large room), but it does house a selection of interesting artefacts chronicling the town's history.
- The Lido. An outdoor heated swimming pool open in the summer months.
- The Leisure Centre. A health and sports centre including a gym, squash courts and an indoor heated swimming pool.
- the Rollright Stones - a late Neolithic ceremonial stone circle dating from 2500 to 2000 BC about 2 miles north of Chipping Norton
- Chastleton House, Chastleton, near Moreton-in-Marsh, GL56 0SU, ☎ +44 1494 755560, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. An early 17th century mansion house now owned by the National Trust, one of the finest and most complete Jacobean buildings in the land
- Bliss Valley Tweed Mill
- Blenheim Palace
- Shopping - Chippy has a fair selection of shops, including women's boutique shops, a shoe shop, and a very good deli.
For shopping, it is advised to visit nearby Banbury or Oxford. That said, Chipping Norton does host a number of small newsagents, supermarkets, gift shops, cafés, a bakery, a clothes shop and even a small department store. Chipping Norton also holds host to very nice bookshop, Jaffe & Neale, and a well run Oxfam bookshop for bookworms and record collectors alike.
- Number 24. a small café which serves light lunches and breakfasts, though with an outstanding quality.
- The Old Mill. a bistro that serves basic sausage and chips type food, but is by no means a bad café.
- Jaffé & Neale. A bookshop that also does coffee and cakes.
- Spice of India. An Indian Restaurant
- Whistlers. A restaurant that serves dinner and lunch.
- Bitter and Twisted - A wine bar and restaurant.
- Grind and Dine - the newest coffee shop in Chipping Norton will sell you coffee, paninis and some other snacks.
- the Blue Boar, Goddards Lane, on the Marketplace
- The King's Arms,West Street
- The Fox
- The Chequers, Spring Street
- Wine Bear, West Street
Chipping Norton includes multiple places offering accommodation, including:
It may be worth considering many quality hotels and B&Bs in the area surrounding the town, including:
- The Forge (in Churchill)
- Heythrop Park. Near Enstone.
Places of worship
- St. Mary's Anglican Church
- Holy Trinity Catholic Church
- Chipping Norton Methodist Church
- Baptist Church
- Community Church
- St. James' Over Norton - an Anglican chapel in the next-door village of Over Norton.
Chipping Norton is not the most dangerous place, but sensible precautions should always be taken. Chipping Norton does have a Hospital (but with no Accident and Emergency or ambulances, the nearest being in Banbury), Fire station and Police station if anything does go wrong though.
- Oxford, the heart of the county and the home of the oldest English-speaking university
- Banbury, an ancient market town
- Woodstock, home of Blenheim Palace , 'the English Versailles' and the birthplace of Churchill
- Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of Shakespeare.
Any of these places can be reached from Chipping Norton via bus. Oxford and Woodstock via the S3, Stratford by the number 50 bus and Banbury by the 488.