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Castle Combe – Cotswolds and the UK’s Most Stunning Village

by Roberto
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Deep in the Cotswolds in the UK lies Castle Combe. In what is one of the most beautiful parts of the UK it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. Castle Combe does that and more. It’s as if the pieces just fell into place perfectly when building the village. To call it the prettiest village in the Cotswolds and the UK would not be doing any other a disservice. The term chocolate box village fits Castle Combe in the Cotswolds more than any I’ve ever walked through.


What are the Cotswolds?

The Cotswolds is a region in South Central England near Bath and Bristol, containing the Cotswolds hills. The whole region is a succession of rolling hills and has been designated an Area of Outstanding National Beauty. Beneath the hills is a Jurassic formed limestone. Its this golden coloured limestone that brings the area its most distinguishable feature, as it has been heavily mined for centuries and is used to build the areas distinct villages. Characterised by that stone, every village and house you see will have you oooing in amazement. If cake is food-porn then the Cotswolds are architecture-porn.


Our Visit to Castle Combe

A spring road trip in the United Kingdom took us through the Wiltshire countryside, with a stop in Castle Combe village high on the agenda, before the city of Bath. A period Cotswold village of magnificent houses, it would prove to have a lasting impression on my memory. What can I say about Castle Combe? That its possibly my new favourite village. Ever. Period.


Where is Castle Combe?

Castle Combe is located in the county of Wiltshire in South East England. Its nearest town is Chippenham five miles away. The closest city where you might be using as a base is Bath, one of Britain’s oldest and most interesting. Bath is fifteen miles from Castle Combe. Bristol, the local transport hub twenty miles away, has international links to 110 destinations. Cardiff the Welsh capital is fifty miles away while London is one hundred miles away. Its possible to day trip from any to Castle Combe.

The Cotswold village is located on the Bybrook River and is split into two, an upper and lower village. A car park is available near the upper village but we continued on and stopped on the road side bypassing the upper part. You are required to park your car out of the village, with the village being pedestrianized. We went on foot into the village and its a pleasant stroll through the surrounding woodlands.

Castle Combe

What to do in Castle Combe

The Village

From first sight it is breathtaking. The village gets its name from a 13th century castle that once stood nearby. Once the castle was destroyed the limestone from the castle was then used to construct some of the cottages of the village. It all is so postcard perfect. Honestly there isn’t a lot to do here but when it all looks this good you will just be lost in the moment. I think that’s enough.

Castle Combe
Castle Combe

Manor House

While walking around a local woman suggested we enter a private area, and if anyone were to ask to say we were looking for our car. We were glad we did, as a walk by some cute as Christmas houses took us to the beautiful grounds of the Manor House Hotel, a country house from the 17th century and now an upscale hotel and golf club. The house which has quite a history is a Grade II listed building.

The grounds surrounding also were fitting with the river Bybrook cutting through on its way to Castle Combe, and steps leading to well-tended gardens above the house. The Italianate gardens were a delight with flower beds and a croquet lawn adding to the very Victorian feel We couldn’t help but feel we were trespassing a bit so we returned to the village after some brief exploring. Travel goals include returning and staying here some day. Those really wanting to get into the local swing of things, can play a round of golf at the Manor House Golf Club.

Manor House Castle Combe
Manor House Castle Combe
Manor House Castle Combe
Manor House Castle Combe
Manor House Castle Combe

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Walk the length of the Village

All two minutes of it. Each house in the village seems more beautiful than the last and there are the side attractions of the medieval market cross and the church of St Andrews. We walked the length of the village and stopped to photograph the bridge as everyone who enters the town does. Some of the houses are off-limits; it can’t be easy calling somewhere like this home, when every day someone wants to stare in your window.

St Andrews Church is a small but attractive stop on the stroll through. Though originally built in the 13th century, it has been altered many times since and contains several different architectural styles. The graveyard has a number of interesting tombs and gravestones before you reach the structure. At the base of the church tower is a faceless clock, which is considered to be the among the oldest working clocks in the country. Within, the Lady Chapel is of most interest, particularly a memorial to Walter de Dunstanville, the Baron of Castle Combe until 1270.

At the convergence point of Castle Combe’s three main streets is a Market Cross. It was built in the 14th century when the village earned the right to hold a market. The structure is known as a butter cross, a common structure of the time where people would gather to buy and sell dairy.

Castle Combe
Castle Combe – The prettiest English village
Castle Combe
Market Cross Castle Combe
The Market Cross- history in the village centre
Castle Combe

Have a little lunch or Snack in Castle Combe

There are a few options for food in authentic village surroundings such as the Castle Inn and the Old Rectory Tea Room. The Old Rectory tea rooms are in a house dating from 1490, and are open to groups of six or more by reservation. The Castle Inn is even older, with its origins in the 12th century. The pub below is as traditional as it gets, and its fare as British as possible, with pies, fish and chips and afternoon tea served. We had a quick coffee and scone in the Old Stables Coffee Shop a pleasant place with very friendly staff. The outdoor seating is ideal to enjoy them on sunny mornings.


Castle Combe in the Movies

If you recognise the village a little it’s probably from its use as the set in many main stream movies and shows. From the original Doctor Doolittle to modern day Downton Abbey, the town has hosted Anthony Hopkins in the Wolfman, and the great Steven Spielberg. Many of the main scenes of Warhorse were filmed here.


Castle Combe Circuit

It is also famed for the Castle Combe circuit, with race meetings taking place each year in the nearby World War II airfield. The Polish airmen of the war were soon replaced by loud fast cars. Over the past 70 years Formula 3 cars, motorcycles, sports and Gt’s have all hurled around the track. Annually there is a two day summer meeting, with a full weekend of racing. It’s the guaranteed busiest weekend of the year in the passive Cotswolds village.


Take a Guided Tour of Castle Combe and the Cotswolds

There are many group tours take make a stop in Castle Combe while visiting the Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon. Get your guide offers a reliable service to book a tour.


Castle Combe Gallery

As I mentioned before the greatest joys are in walking and admiring. With that in mind I will let my photos speak for themselves. They usually say a thousand words, and no truer than when a village looks like this. The following is my argument that Castle Combe is Britain’s finest.

The Cotswolds
The Cotswolds
The Cotswolds
Castle Combe
The Cotswolds
Manor House Castle Combe
Castle Combe
The Cotswolds
The Cotswolds
The Cotswolds
Castle Combe
The Cotswolds
Castle Combe
The Cotswolds
Castle Combe
The Cotswolds
Castle Combe
Castle Combe
The Cotswolds
Castle Combe
The Cotswolds

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Castle Combe
Castle Combe

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