Shipston, in the North Cotswolds, is a great place to visit. Named the best place to live in the Midlands and the 10th happiest town in the United Kingdom, it’s a traditional market town with traditional teashops, butchers and bakers, as well as a healthy dose of contemporary independent retailers including a deli, a bespoke tailor, a saddlers, womenswear boutiques, art & antique shops and much, much more. It is quite easy to spend the best part of a day browsing the shops, while stopping for a coffee or lingering over a long lunch.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Whichford Pottery (7 miles)
Established in 1976, the pottery designs and produces a wide range of English flowerpots using traditional hand-thrown and hand-pressed methods. A family-run business, passionate about keeping pottery skills alive, using ethically sourced materials.
Book in advance to watch demonstrations and attend workshops.
Stratford-upon-Avon (11 miles)
A tourist town with a few buildings that would have been familiar to Shakespeare. His house is worth a visit, as is the Royal Shakespeare Theatre located on the banks of the river Avon.
Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage & Gardens (11 miles)
The house where Shakespeare was born and grew up and the charming fifteenth-century thatched cottage that was the childhood home of Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s sweetheart and wife, are both worth a visit; a “full story” ticket gives you access to both, plus Mary Arden’s Farm, Shakespeare’s New Place and Hall’s Croft.
Cotswold Distillery (5.5 miles)
Visitors are guided around the Distillery itself, witnessing first-hand the processes involved in producing the award-winning whisky and gin. Don’t miss their superb on-site shop, tea room and Tasting Room. Booking early is strongly advised.
Hook Norton Brewery (10 miles)
Victorian brewery and visitor centre offering guided tours with free beer samples on pre-booked tours.
Batsford Arboretum (8 miles)
The Arboretum boasts 56 acres of gardens and is home to the country’s largest private collection of trees and shrubs. Gardens, Cafe and Garden Centre are all dog friendly.
Hidcote Manor Gardens (8 miles)
One of the best-known and most influential Arts and Crafts gardens in Britain, with its linked “rooms” of hedges, rare trees, shrubs and herbaceous borders.
Kiftsgate Court Gardens (8 miles)
The gardens, famed for their roses, are the creation of three generations of women gardeners.
Sezincote House & Garden (10 miles)
Sezincote is unique. At the heart of a traditional, family-run estate covering 4,500 acres of rolling Cotswold countryside stands a 200-year-old Mogul Indian palace, set in a romantic landscape of temples, grottoes, waterfalls and canals reminiscent of the Taj Mahal.
Bourton House Garden (10 miles)
An award-winning, three-acre garden surrounding a fine 18th century Manor House. Penned as the “best award-winning garden in the Cotswolds”.
Upton House & Gardens (11 miles)
Famous for housing an outstanding art collection and beautiful gardens, Upton House was originally built from local yellow sandstone at the turn of the 18th century. Having been much expanded since 1927, don’t miss the magnificent kitchen garden, lily pond, herbaceous borders and sweeping lawn.
Chastleton House & Gardens (9 miles)
This Jacobean National Trust property has been preserved “as it is, not as it was”; having been owned by the same increasingly impoverished family until 1991, Chastleton remained essentially a time capsule and a hidden treasure-trove for nearly 400 years as the interiors and collection gradually yielded to the ravages of time.
Cotswold Falconry Centre (8 miles)
Right beside Batsford Arboretum (see above), the Falconry Centre has flying displays daily, as well as aviaries, both of which allow you to learn more about the 100+ birds of prey.
MAD Museum, Stratford (11 miles)
It may be small, but this perfectly formed Interactive exhibition of mechanical art and design with buttons, handles, lights and sound effects is well worth a visit.