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Things to do in Hook Norton, Oxfordshire

What makes Hook Norton (Hooky to the locals) so special is the location, set in rolling countryside between the famous towns of Banbury and Chipping Norton (home to the late comedian, Ronnie Barker).

Hook Norton from the Brewery
Hook Norton from the Brewery © S Parish [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

At one time you could travel here by train, but all that remains of the railway are the vast stone pillars of the viaduct bestriding the valley and a long and spooky tunnel!

Hook Norton cottages
Hook Norton cottages © Chris Eaton [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Hooky boasts four pubs. The Sun, fully modernised, serves good food and stands opposite St Peter's church in the centre. The Pear Tree at Scotland End sits at the bottom of the lane leading to the Hook Norton Brewery, and the Gate Hangs High is on the edge of the village on the road to the Sibfords.

Hook Norton Brewery
Hook Norton Brewery © Chris Allen [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

St Peters Church Hook Norton
St Peters Church Hook Norton © Geoffrey Lloyd [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

All three are worth a visit not least for the local Hook Norton Ales - at one time delivered by the brewery's horse drawn drays.

Hook Norton Library
Hook Norton Library © Alan Murray-Rust [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Bell, the oldest of them all in the centre of the village is the only Free House.

Hook Norton Manor
Hook Norton Manor © Alan Murray-Rust [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In mid July the brewery hosts a popular Beer Festival complete with various local entertainments.

Hooky is a village in the true sense of the word, unattached to any urban sprawl and is full of engaging characters where you can enjoy a real sense of community and a ready welcome from the locals.

A flea market is held once a month in front of the Sun and the Hook Norton Brewery Company gives guided tours around the premises and their own museum.

The brewery machinery is still driven by the original steam engine and was featured in Fred Dibnah's TV series. It is a wonderful sight to witness the old pistons sucking up water from the springs below and the huge belts turning to hoist the hops and barley aloft.

Hook Norton
Hook Norton © David Stowell [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The church of St Peter's Hook Norton, dating back to early Norman times, is an oasis of calm in the high street.

Sunset at Hook Norton
Sunset at Hook Norton © John Stevens [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The tower contains one of the finest rings of eight bells in the diocese of Oxford. You will hear them rung at 9.30am on Sundays and all are welcome to attend the service.

Description by Chris Wigg

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