Published on : Thursday, January 5, 2017
Chippenham is a large town with over 45,000 residents and it has prospered thanks to its location on the Wilts & Berks Canal, the London to Bristol stage coach route, and the Great Western Railway.
There is a wealth of historic buildings, beautifully maintained parks and modern shopping centres. The River Avon and Wilts & Berks canal forms a peaceful backdrop to walking and cycling routes.
The Town Hall is an architectural gem in the heart of the town centre dating back to 1834. It plays a major role in the life of the town with council meetings, civic functions, exhibitions and conferences being held through the year. It is also a superb venue that can be hired and is licensed for wedding ceremonies.
Chippenham has been awarded the prestigious Purple Flag status for the high standard and safety of the town centre at night. Purple Flag status recognises places that provide a vibrant mix of entertainment between 6pm and 5am that are safe for both local residents and visitors. It is often reported to increase night time visitors and show a drop in crime rates in the area.
Things to see and do
Chippenham has beautifully maintained parks, play areas and open spaces.
John Coles Park is the jewel in the crown regularly attracting 1,500 people on a sunny day. It is maintained to a high standard and offers a large open space and circular walk through mature trees. Facilities include a splashpad, bandstand, multi-use games area, children’s play area, tennis courts, bowls pavilion and refreshment kiosk.
Stanley Park is an award-winning sports ground facility and one of Wiltshire’s largest outdoor sporting venues. The 47-acre site offers facilities for a range of sports including football, rugby, lacrosse, American football, table tennis and international Frisbee.
There’s nowhere better to learn more about the area than in the Chippenham Museum & Heritage Centre. Set in a Grade II Listed building and featuring displays from the Saxon era, via the Industrial Age to the modern day, the Museum charts Chippenham’s fascinating local history. Admission is free, and it is open Monday-Saturday, 10am to 4pm. The Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre is also located in the town.
Treasure Trails are a fun way to explore towns and there is a new one in Chippenham.
Annual Events & Entertainment
The annual Chippenham Folk Festival usually takes place on the last bank holiday weekend in May. It aims to be one of the country’s finest traditional folk music festivals, introducing new generations to English music, dance and song with over 200 events, performances and demonstrations over the four days.
As Chippenham Folk Festival comes to an end, the next festival just around the corner is ChippFest – a ten day music arts and drama festival which comes to the town at the end of June/beginning of July.
Chippenham’s Christmas Lights Switch On and Christmas Market usually take place on the last weekend in November and promises to be a weekend of fun festive activities.
The Neeld Community and Arts Centre is an exciting venue bringing varied cultural life to Chippenham with professional shows, live music, exhibitions and events while continuing to provide a well-used and much loved community venue. After recently being refurbished it now has 158 retractable tiered theatre seats, bar area, air conditioning, improved lighting and sound equipment. It’s a high-quality, flexible venue for professional shows, corporate and private functions and community events and activities.
Where to eat and shop
Hungry visitors are never short of options around Chippenham. The Garden (Café Bar Grill) (reopening early 2017), is in the centre of Chippenham and offers a relaxing space to eat and drink good quality and locally-sourced produce. Allington Farm Shop, also prides itself in quality, home produced and local food with fresh meat from their 400-acre farm, butchered and hung traditionally. Alongside the farm shop, is Allington Café which offers a fantastic selection of seasonal produce.
Chippenham’s colourful and booming street markets are held on Fridays and Saturdays in the High Street and offer a variety of traditional and modern stalls. There are also many shops and restaurants in the town centre.
Where to stay
Best Western Angel Hotel in the centre of Chippenham is a 400-year old coaching inn with 50 bedrooms, which has been sympathetically extended to include a gym, indoor pool, courtyard garden and bedroom wing.
In the nearby village of Kington Langley, The Moors B&B offers a family-run organic dairy farm experience and Barn Cottages near Lacock have three quality self-catering holiday cottages.
Chippenham is centrally located and well connected with excellent transport links including a main line train station. A little over an hour’s journey from central London, Chippenham offers an ideal centre for relaxation and exploration of rural Wiltshire and the Cotswolds.
The area surrounding Chippenham is famous for idyllic stone villages. Lacock and Castle Combe are amongst the best known, and are regularly voted amongst the most beautiful in Britain. Major attractions such as Longleat, Bowood and Avebury are not far away and often very popular with visitors to the area.