Witney ... a potted guide
Places worth visiting...
Witney is the largest of the market towns in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds and much of its architecture reflects the past prosperity of the woollen trade. At one time, the town was known across the world for its blanket making, especially in North America where the Witney Point Blanket was traded in exchange for furs.
The Blanket Hall in High Street was built in 1721 for weighing and measuring blankets and at one time there were five blanket factories in Witney, but with the closure of Early's in 2002, the town's blanket industry ceased production completely. Witney's long, attractive High Street runs from the 17th Century Butter
Cross and features the 18th Century Town Hall, the Blanket Hall and the Victorian Corn Exchange.
St Mary's Church, which dates back to Norman times, stands impressively at one end of Church Green with its imposing 156ft spire, reflecting the wealth and importance of Witney in the Middle Ages, much of this coming from the wool trade. Holy Trinity, the town's other parish church in Wood Green, was built in 1849.
With a population of about 23,000, Witney is a bustling town with a good range of independent specialist shops, supermarkets, a twice-weekly market and a farmers' market. There are also two shopping centres - the Woolgate and the Marriotts Walk shopping centre.
There is a wide range of places for food and drink in Witney and the town has a lively calendar of events including the annual Witney Carnival and Witney Feast.
The Witney Museum and Historical Society shows the history of Witney and the surrounding area. Other popular places to visit include the Wychwood Brewery, where visitors can sample the beer and receive a complimentary souvenir Wychwood Brewery glass.
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