What Are the Best Places to Visit in Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK?
Learn more about great places to visit in Chippenham.
Chippenham, located on the banks of the River Avon and about an hour’s drive from central London, is an ideal base for exploring rural Wiltshire, Bath, and the Cotswolds. Chippenham is 4 miles south of the M4 and on the mainline rail route from London Paddington to the West Country, with a train ride to Bath taking only 10 minutes.
Chippenham has a reputation for being a thriving and lively market town, with a compact centre and thriving commercial life, and it has been awarded Purple Flag Status for its nightlife. The main shopping areas are located on or near the High Street, Market Place, The Causeway, The Bridge, New Road, and Hathaway Retail Park. On either side of the High Street are the enclosed Emery Gate Shopping Centre and the open air Borough Parade Shopping Centre. There are several out-of-town shopping areas, such as Hathaway Retail Park and Methuen Park.
The town is home to the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre and the accredited Chippenham Museum.
Chippenham’s vibrant and thriving street markets take place on Fridays and Saturdays in the High Street and feature a mix of traditional and modern stalls.
Chippenham has many well-kept parks, play areas, and open spaces, including John Coles Park, which has mature trees, flower beds, and a Victorian Bandstand, and Monkton Park, which sits on the banks of the River Avon.
Archaeological discoveries place the first urban settlers of Chippenham in the 7th century. Ethelwitha, King Alfred’s sister, married in Chippenham in 853. The mediaeval timber-framed Yelde Hall, located in the Market Place, dates from 1446 to 1458. In 1747, Chippenham was at the centre of a parliamentary scandal involving bribery and corruption by the two members for Chippenham, which resulted in an election petition that brought down Sir Robert Walpole’s government. In 1798, a canal spur of the Wilts and Berks Canal advanced trade in the town, which was aided further by the construction of the Great Western Railway from London to Bristol, which arrived in 1841.
Surrounding Chippenham are a number of stone-built villages, including the National Trust’s Lacock, Biddestone, and Castle Combe, which have appeared in films and television dramas such as Harry Potter, Cranford, Pride & Prejudice, The Christmas Candle, The Wolfman, War Horse, Stardust, Larkrise to Candleford, Dr Dolittle, and Poirot.
Longleat, Bowood, Corsham Court, Lacock Abbey, and Dyrham Park, as well as Castle Combe Racing Circuit, are all within easy reach.
Chippenham is an idyllic location for living, working, and visiting due to its combination of the ancient and the new, historic architectural gems, excellent communication links, beautifully maintained parks, modern shopping centres, and proximity to some of the country’s greatest houses and historic villages.
John Coles Park
The park offers a large area of open space and a circular walk through mature trees. It is maintained to its consistent high standard by our Environmental Services team.
The park is open from 8am to dusk spring and summer and from 8am to 4pm from early November to mid-January.
John Coles Park contains over 350 individual trees. From the striking foliage of Copper Beech and the sweet summer smell of Silver Lime in bloom to the towering majesty of veteran Pedunculate Oaks which pre-date the opening of the park in 1923, our trees are a delight to the senses.
John Coles is managed as an amenity park, and the trees within are a mix of native, semi-native and ornamental species, aiming to balance conservation and amenity so that there continue to be trees in the park for many future generations to enjoy.
Castle Coombe Race Track
The Castle Combe airfield opened in May 1941 on land of the Castle Combe estate, owned by the Gorst family, and operated as RAF Castle Combe for seven years before being decommissioned in 1948. During the war, the airfield was a training ground for pilots. From 1946 to 1948 the buildings served as a resettlement camp for Polish ex-service personnel. The property was returned to the Gorst family in 1948; with the Bristol Motorcycle & Light Car Club, they organized the first race in July 1950. By 1955 the property was divided and sold. Between 1956 and 1961, the circuit was used for motorcycle racing. Some years later, the circuit was converted to motor racing.
British Formula Three cars in 2003
Castle Combe has staged many different motorsport disciplines over the years. In 1997, Nigel Greensall established a lap record. His Tyrrell 022 lapped the circuit at 130.93 mph (210.71 km/h). However, this was the last year that the circuit would remain unaltered. An accident involving the death of a spectator forced the owners into installing two new chicanes in order to slow the cars down. The new layout was slightly longer at 1.850 mi (2.977 km), and was completed over the winter of 1998–1999.
The Yelde Hall
The Yelde Hall provides a beautiful, historic setting for your event or meeting. However, its exposed beams and open plan also make it a unique exhibition space. Chippenham Museum has hosted several successful pop-up and community exhibitions in the Yelde Hall as well as vintage markets, workshops and concerts. We are always interested in showcasing local creative talent so please get in touch to discuss your ideas.
Housed in an 18th century townhouse, Chippenham Museum tells the fascinating story of this historic market town from its prehistoric origins to the present day. Learn about the town’s development, through its connections to river, road and rail, and explore its surprising links to Alfred the Great and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
The medieval Yelde Hall is open on Saturdays from Easter until the end of September. Meet characters from the town’s past in the council chamber and pirates form 1709 in the lock-up.
Alpaca Walking Experience
Fall in love with one of our charming Alpacas on our 90 min Alpaca Walking Experience. You can walk an Alpaca for 30 mins, meet the herd of over 80 Alpacas, hand feed them and meet the new cria (baby alpacas). Refreshments are provided and there is a small Gift Shop on farm.
Paca Picnic Experience – Bring your own picnic and enjoy a wonderful 90 min experience in our picnic paddock with several Alpacas to feed and photograph or just simply chill with.
Cute Cria Experience – Relax and wind down with our Alpaca mums and babies for an hour in our Nursery paddock. This experience will allow you to get up close and personal with our beautiful babies and capture some amazing moments that you wouldn’t normally be able to experience.
Castle Combe Market
A market cross is a structure that marks a market square in market towns. Market crosses can be found in most market towns in Britain including the market cross in Castle Combe (see below).
The market cross in Castle Combe was erected in the 14th century AD when the privilege to hold a weekly market in Castle Combe was granted.
The Butter Cross
The building, which some say was built in 1570, was once a place where dairy products were sold. It was built where a real estate office is now.
At first, fresh food was laid out and sold on the circular, stepped bases of the Market Cross, which was a structure that marked the market square and the centre of business. It slowly grew into the six-pillared building with a roof that you can see today.
Around the Buttercross grew the Shambles, a long shed with an open front and a wooden roof where butchers sold their goods. In 1856, this building burned down, but the buttery was still there and sold meat.
In 1889, Mr. E. C. Lowndes, who owned the Manor House in Castle Combe, bought it for £6 and used it as a gazebo in his kitchen garden. It was replaced by a building from the late 1800s. After 100 years, the Chippenham Civic Society bought the building for £300 and began a 6-year campaign to move it back to a prominent spot in the Town Center, close to where it had been before. Local people gave money to help pay for the £85k that was needed to fix up the Buttercross.
It opened in 1995 and is now the focal point of the pedestrianised town centre, where every Friday and Saturday there is still a market.
Six stone Doric columns support a roof with oak beams and Cotswold stone shingles on top. This includes memorial benches made of stone and paving made of striped Portland stone.
The history of the Market Place and the names of the people who helped rebuild it are carved into the stone bench.
St Andrew’s Church
In Chippenham, Wiltshire, England, there is a Church of England parish church called St Andrew’s Church. It is one of the four Anglican parish churches in Chippenham and serves the south and east of the city. The church, which is Grade II* listed, is located in the Market Place, near to the town centre.
Chippenham Town Football Club
Eddie Cochran Memorial Plaque
Other points of interest.
Chippenham Community Hospital
Wiltshire Police, Chippenham.
Cleaning Companies in Chippenham