Shipston-on-Stour is a small market town on the fringe of the north Cotswolds, and has a mix of period buildings in the town centre some Georgian, some later. The main thoroughfare of Sheep Street is lined with cottages and larger Georgian houses.
The town has a wide range of shops and has historically been popular with older generations, ‘but this is beginning to change, with more younger families moving into the area,’ says Tom Dennes of Savills’ Stratford office. Mr Dennes describes the local property market as having ‘tough times’ but Savills are bucking the trend and successfully selling houses where clients are realistically pricing ahead of the market position (down 9% for the period December 07 to May 08), which means price reductions of around 11% so buyers can see the value and thus stimulate their interest.
‘Commuters to London and Birmingham are attracted to Shipston because of its facilities, although they have to drive to Moreton-in-Marsh or Warwick Parkway station to catch a train.’ A two bedroom cottage costs from £275,000, a four-bedroom house from £550,000, and a five/six-bedroom country house from £800,000.
* Travelling time From Shipston, it’s a 15-minute drive to Moreton-in-Marsh (London Paddington, 93mins) or 25-minute drive to Warwick Parkway station for Birmingham Moor Street (33mins)
* Schools In Moreton, there’s Dormer House mixed prep and Kitebrook House School for girls; Shipston has a high school; and the two good grammar schools are King Edward VI for boys and Stratford upon Avon for girls
* Shopping Shipston has super-markets and a fine wine merchant; Stratford-upon-Avon has specialist shops; and, near Kingham, there’s the Daylesford Organic Farmshop
* Eating and drinking The George Hotel in Shipston has good food and wine; The Howard Arms is an award-winning dining pub in Ilmington; and in Stratford, Baraset Barn and The Vintner serve modern British cuisine
* Attractions: Not to be missed are the theatres in Stratford; Charlecote Park, a National Trust Tudor mansion with deer park; the impressive tree and shrub collection at Batsford Arboretum; and Blenheim Palace, with its beautiful parkland and historical interiors
* Pros: Shipston is an unspoilt period market town with good connections via the M40 and M5
* Cons: It still has the air of a more elderly population. Also, a part of the old centre flooded quite badly in 2007