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Introducing Chipping Campden

The graceful curving main street of Chipping Campden is flanked by a wonderful array of wayward stone cottages, fine terraced houses, ancient inns and historic homes, making it a truly unspoiled gem in an area full of achingly pretty villages. Despite its obvious allure and the presence of chichi boutiques and upmarket shops, the town remains relatively unspoiled by tourist crowds and is a wonderful place to visit.

The helpful tourist office (841206; www.visitchippingcampden.com; High St; 10am-5pm Mon-Fri) stocks a town trail guide with some background on the town’s most historic buildings. On Wednesday from July to September you can also join a guided tour (1.30pm, tour £2) that leaves from the wonderful 17th-century Market Hall with its multiple gables and elaborate timber roof.

At the western end of the High St is the 15th-century St James’s, one of the great wool churches of the Cotswolds. Built in the perpendicular style, it has a magnificent tower and some wonderful 17th-century monuments. Nearby on Church St is a remarkable row of almshouses dating from the 17th century, and the Jacobean lodges and gateways of the now-ruined Campden House. The surviving Court Barn will open as an arts and crafts museum in summer 2007, celebrating Campden’s connection with CR Ashbee and the Guild of Handicrafts, who moved here in 1902.

About 4 miles northeast of Chipping Campden, Hidcote Manor Garden (NT; 438333; Hidcote Bartrim; adult/under 18yr £7/3.50; 10.30am-6pm Sat-Wed late-Mar–Sep) is one of the finest examples of arts and crafts landscaping in Britain.