Chipping Campden is one of the bigger market towns that we’ve visited during our Cotswold holiday. It was very busy when we arrived since the sun was shining mightily that day. It was the hottest day during this vacation and for those who know me well, I don’t really function well when it’s hot but I soldiered on.
We found a side street parking quite immediately which was a surprise, the husband decided to just stay in the air-conditioned car because it was way too hot for him. You’d think that being a Filipino and Greek we’ll manage the heat better right? It’s actually the complete opposite which is funny and I don’t really get why we’re like this. All I know is I wish it was a tad bit cooler that day so my walk wouldn’t have been that uncomfortable.
Chipping Campden was known throughout Europe as it’s one of the most important and most prosperous medieval wool towns in the region. Established as early as the 7th century – the legacy, fame and history lives on.
I started at the beautiful and broad High Street which curves into a slight arch. It’s lined with beautiful buildings of shops, pubs and restaurants on both sides – each with its own architectural character. A huge part of the town is a conservation area to preserve its beauty for centuries to come.
The ancient Market Hall stands in the middle of the High Street. It was built in the 16th century as a shelter for the cheese, butter and poultry vendors.
St James Church is considered as one of England’s finest churches and you could see its 36-metre tower from afar even before you enter the town. I actually thought it was a castle as we were driving towards it. It’s said to have one of the oldest altar tapestries and the largest brass in England.
The Almshouses just opposite the church is another one of Chipping Campden’s architectural heritage. It’s a 16th century dwellings for pensioners and is still used for the same purpose up to this day.
The town is also very popular for the thatched-houses which is basically what I went there for. I love admiring thatched-houses, there’s something so charming about it. It brings back memories of childhood because it looks like the house where our fairy tale heroines would have lived.
Thatch is a natural insulator, it keeps your house warm during winter and cool during summer. It also has a good resistance to wind damage. Sadly, it’s no longer allowed to build anything with thatch roof in London after the Great Fire in 1666 and the only thatched-building left in the city is the Shakespeare Globe Theatre which had to have a special permission for it before it was built. So seeing all these thatched houses in Chipping Campden was a delight even if it meant walking for quite awhile under the heat of the sun (which I hate). Lol.
During my rather uncomfortable walk, I’ve also noticed that a lot of the buildings in the town have crosses on top of their doors. I’ve done my research about it but I couldn’t find an answer so I sent an email to their tourist information office hoping they could satisfy my curiosity.
The answer was a very uninteresting “it’s for structural purposes to reinforce the stonework” – I was hoping it had to do with something more religious or sinister, like to mark where witches used to live. Lol. I don’t know, it’s probably the heat that’s making me think of nonsense like this.
I admit that I didn’t explore the town as much as I would have loved to and I have definitely missed some of the thatched houses that I so wanted to take photos of. However, I was becoming too tired walking around – the heat was literally draining my energy so I had to go back to the car.
As expected, I regret not exploring it more now. I do hope I get to have a next time in Chipping Campden and I promise that I’d be a better traveler then. 🙂