Shipston-on-Stour – the North Cotswolds gem

Shipston-on-Stour is a delightful town close to Stratford-upon-Avon and nestled along the left bank of the River Stour. The town’s name comes from being known in ancient times as ‘Sheep-wash-Town’ as it was, for a long time, an important market town for sheep before its popularity continued with the introduction of a horse-powered tramway connecting Stratford with Moreton-in-Marsh.

Whilst the north Cotswolds is an absolute walkers’ delight your first stop should be a wander around the town’s streets to take in the marketplace, many courtyards and countless alleyways dating back to medieval times. The shops are a pretty mix of red brick and grey Cotswold stone and, in fact for a small town of its size, you will find around 50 small independent shops. For the food lover there is a butcher selling locally reared meet, a fishmonger, greengrocer, delicatessens and a bakery – all within walking distance of the town’s free parking.

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Holidays in Shipston-on-Stour

Everyone knows the Cotswolds is home to many great antiques shops and every town and village is bursting with homeware and gift shops. But in Shipston-on-Stour we are lucky enough to have Portobello Farm – an eclectic lifestyle emporium offering a unique and inspiring collection for the home and garden. You will find carefully curated antiques, vintage and pre-loved finds alongside a delightful collection of new homeware items. The entire shop is an absolute Aladdin’s cave that will make for perfect gifts for family, friends as well as yourself!

What to do in Shipston-on-Stour

Between the walking and the shopping you might find you build up something of an appetite, luckily there are plenty of local eateries to choose from. The George Townhouse serves breakfast, lunch and dinner made from the best local, free range, artisan produce, which, when the sun is shining, can be enjoyed on the charming garden terrace. However, if the weather is not on your side then choose to dine in the airy garden room, rustic stone walled pantry, handsomely panelled parlour or secluded carriage room. Or, if you prefer Thai food, head on over to the Black Horse Inn where you may be surprised to find a menu bursting with Thai delicacies. Italian more your style? Then try out the pasta, risotto, pizza or meat dishes at Amore – just don’t expect to have room for dessert.

And whilst there is plenty to entertain in Shipston-on-Stour, many of our guests choose the town as a perfect base for day trips to the area’s many attractions. A short 20 minute drive out of town will find you at the beautiful Hidcote Manor Garden where you can wander through a series of outdoor rooms such as the Pillar Garden, the Bathing Pool Garden, the Red Borders and Gazebos. Another great garden to visit is Compton Verney where you can admire the landscapes planned out by Capability Brown, before heading into the house to enjoy the wonderful art collections.

Entirely different, but well worth the trip, is the Cotswolds Distillery where you can enjoy a simple tour of the stills house before picking up a bottle or two from their shop. Or, you could indulge yourself for a couple of hours and book in to a gin making masterclass where you will make your very own gin to take away!

Hopefully by now you can see why Shipston-on-Stour is such a popular holiday destination and in just a few clicks you could be planning your very own North Cotswolds stay.