Perched high up on the hills with far reaching views across the valleys, Minchinhampton is a picturesque Cotswold market town with a vibrant community at its heart.
Pretty honey-coloured cottages line narrow sloping streets that wind their way from the centre where the 17th century market house, an important reminder of the town’s past connections to the flourishing medieval wool trade, stands proud alongside the Market Square war memorial. This ancient town has a rich history and was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. Its name is believed to mean ‘high town’ or ‘settlement’ in old English.
Situated between the golden valley and Nailsworth valley and close to Gatcombe Park, the home of Princess Anne, Minchinhampton has many beautiful walks and trails taking in wooded valleys, bubbling streams and open rolling hills, all with spectacular panoramic views, and enjoyed by dog walkers and ramblers alike.
Grazing cows are a popular sight on Minchinhampton Common, which is owned and managed by the National Trust. The cattle are let out on the common every year in May and play a vital part in preventing it from turning into scrubland and help maintain it as a wildlife haven with many rare flowers and insects.
Sports enthusiasts can take part in a range of indoor and outdoor activities. Minchinhampton Golf Club has three picturesque golf courses – two Championship Courses, the Avening course and the Cherington course and the old course on Minchinhampton Common. Minchinhampton Rugby Club is an RFU accredited club for players of all ages and the town also has flourishing tennis, cricket and youth football clubs. Anyone with a desire to get in shape can join Minchinhampton Fitness Hub, a community gym with equipment, classes and personal training sessions.
It’s easy to see why Minchinhampton is such a popular place to live. The town centre is a bustling hive of activity with shops and eateries, hair salons, a primary school, two churches, a community library, doctors’ surgery, dentist, chemist and garage, to name just a few. A market is held every Wednesday morning in the market house where shoppers can buy home-made cakes, seasonal fruit and vegetables and preserves, as well as plants and crafts.
The town is well served by food stores: L Taylor & Sons, an award-winning butcher’s, has been in Minchinhampton since 1921 selling high quality meat; Henry’s Coffee House & Dairy is a family-run business that stocks their own cheeses and organic milk, butter, cream and yogurt; the Market Stores sells a range of groceries, confectionery, toiletries, stationery, wines, beers and spirits, pet food and newspapers and magazines.
Every two years, the streets come alive and the centre is adorned with colourful bunting for the town’s traditional country fayre. The next one is due to take place on September 10th.
Places to eat out in Minchinhampton include The Crown inn, where cosy fires and traditional décor provide the perfect setting for seasonal dishes and fine ales (the pub was named Stroud CAMRA’s Pub of the Year in 2021) and The Kitchen café and tearoom which serves up tasty breakfasts, lunches and morning and afternoon teas. The Chip Shed in West End is popular for fish and chip takeaways. They will even deliver to houses within a 3-mile radius of Minchinhampton.
Fashion lovers can browse the rails at Stafford Cottage Boutique in the High Street which sells a range of smart and casual clothes for women as well as gorgeous accessories, bags and jewellery. Brides-to-be can pay a visit to The White Room where they will find a fabulous selection of handpicked designer wedding dresses and expert help and guidance to help them find the perfect dress for their special day.
There’s a strong community spirit in the town that is echoed through the many clubs that take place for all ages – from amateur dramatics and choirs and dance clubs to gardening, local history and a pony club – there really is something for everyone in this lively town.