Chippenham is a vibrant Wiltshire market town, located just south of the Cotswolds and north of Salisbury. The bustling town centre has many pleasant historic buildings, with several fine Cotswold stone structures and a 15th century timber-framed hall.
The town is attractively situated on the River Avon, with excellent walking and cycling facilities. There is plenty for the visitor to enjoy here including several beautifully maintained parks, a local history museum and a heritage centre.
The main shopping facilities are found along the High Street and in the Market Place. There are two modern indoor shopping centres along with a number of smaller specialist shops. A traditional street market is held on Fridays and Saturdays, offering a variety of traditional and modern stalls.
Chippenham has been a market centre since Saxon times, when King Alfred hunted in the surrounding forests. Until recently the town held one of the largest cattle markets in the country. The 10 acre site closed in 2005 and is now an ECO housing estate. The full history of the town can be traced in the town museum, in Market Place.
Although now mainly an industrial centre, Chippenham still has some attractive half-timbered houses and others of Cotswold stone, dating back to the 18th-c and beyond. There also an old lock-up, a range of cottages by Professor Sir Albert Richardson and a good red-brick school of 1714.
The 15th-c Yelde Hall, in St Mary's street, is a Grade listed timbered structure with twin gables. This fine building was used a town hall until 1841, and is now part of the museum.
The museum is attractively located in an 18th-c townhouse, in Market Place. The museum depicts the area's ancient past, hosting over 30,000 artifacts relating to Chippenham and its surrounding towns and villages. Exhibits mainly cover local history, geological and archaeological.
This modern facility serves as a central resource for heritage services relating to Wiltshire and Swindon. It has purpose-built archive storage and research facilities, and incorporates the local studies library, museums service, archaeology service, Wiltshire buildings record and the conservation service for the county.
Opening times: - Tue to Fri, 9.30am to 5pm
Location: Cocklebury Rd, Chippenham SN15 3QN
Tel: 01249 705500