Visiting Castle Combe, England’s prettiest village

Before starting my posts about travel again, I’d just like to say a huge thank you for the lovely responses to my post last week. I am feeling much better physically, and emotionally there are ups and downs with accepting childlessness, but I’m so excited to have booked lots of 2022 trips and fully intend to live my best life with my wonderful friends and family. So back to the travel….

Castle Combe is a quintessentially English village, often listed as the prettiest in England. It sits in the south of The Cotswolds in the county of Wiltshire and is one of the main places to visit on The Cotswolds’ tourist trail. It’s such a beautiful spot and if you get the chance to visit one day, I highly recommend it! You could also tie it in with my 3 day Cotswolds itinerary, or a trip to Oxford.


History of the village

Castle Combe was established back in the 1000s, and it used to have a castle (built in the 1100s), though this is now long gone. Interestingly, prior to this there was a Roman villa here, as well as an Iron Age Fort, indicating that the village has been settled for centuries.

Most of the houses you see today date from the 14th and 15th centuries, and no new houses have been built here since the 1600s! The market cross at the centre of the village dates back to the 14th century, to mark the privilege to hold a weekly market being granted to Castle Combe. The village was most prosperous during the 15th century based on its wool trade, and even supplied Henry V’s armies with wool for battles in France.

As the cloth industry began leaving the area in the 1700s, industrial times were over and the population decreased. Today its main business is tourism, being home to 107 listed buildings all within a few streets!


Exploring the village

My girlfriends and I decided to visit Castle Combe for an autumnal weekend break as our first trip away together again after being apart due to COVID. We weren’t going away to ‘go, go, go’ but more to slow down and catch up.

The Cotswolds is the perfect area for taking things slow – having lie ins, spending time in pubs eating, drinking, chatting, playing games and going on long walks. That’s what we did during our weekend and we loved it. No itinerary, just cosy quality time with people that matter. It felt like a weekend ‘on charge’ to relax and replenish, and it was lovely.

Castle Combe is a great spot to do that as everywhere you turn there are stunning houses, as well as two pubs in the village. There is also a tea room, plus a house which sells delicious cake (I had the lemon drizzle) via an honesty box – it really is like stepping back in time. Here are some of my favourite shots of the village.

The only time we left the village was to do a 5 mile walk from Castle Combe to the nearby village of Ford, and back again. The area is so beautiful and every village has a pub so we ate in Ford and then leisurely strolled back again through the autumnal woods.


Getting there and where to stay

Getting to Castle Combe by car is simple, with easy motorway access from the M4, but parking isn’t. The main car park is at the top of the village (and bonus, it’s free), but it’s then a 20 minute walk down to the centre. You could try to park in the limited number of spaces in the village, but most are used by people staying at the local hotel. Get there early though because even the free car park fills up with tourists, so visiting in the morning or evening is best – or, even better, stay over so you get it all to yourselves.

There is a luxury hotel in the village, The Manor House, but it’s also super expensive. We chose the Air BnB option , meaning we could see Castle Combe empty at the beginning and end of the day without breaking the bank. We parked in the free carpark and walked down to our accommodation for the weekend. If you’re interested in finding it, it’s called Middle Cottage.

And if you want to extend your stay or make a week of it, you could combine it with more of the Cotswolds (itinerary HERE), a visit to Oxford (HERE) or both!


And that was my relaxing weekend in Castle Combe. What do you think of this beautiful village? Would you want to spend a weekend here? Stay safe and happy travelling everyone!

40 Comments

  1. Gorgeous, Hannah. โ€œEnglandโ€™s prettiest villageโ€ is a bold claim, but your presentation makes a case for it. Love the stone houses and the autumnal views. Thatโ€™s quite the brooding sky in the left river view too. Another one for the list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely a bold claim – England is so full of beautiful villages, but I definitely think Castle Combe is special, especially in the autumn ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel like our lists are getting longer by the day…..so much to see, so little time!

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  2. Castle Combe certainly looks very pretty especially with all those gorgeous autumn leaves carpeting the ground. So pleased you are feeling stronger Hannah and delighted to learn that youโ€™ve been busy booking trips โ€“ definitely the best medicine having lovely holidays to look forward to! Marion

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Marion, I definitely feel a lo better this week, and boosted even more by the booking of trips and thoughts of future travel! I’m glad you like the look of Castle Combe too, it really is a beautiful spot ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Anyone who says time travel is impossible hasn’t been to this beautiful city. It looks like really stepping back in time. Thanks for the tip so I can include Castle Combe in a future itinerary and for letting us know you are doing much better physically and mentally!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so true!! I can’t believe nothing has been built here since the 1600s, it really is stuck in a timewarp. And for sure it’s worth adding to the future England itinerary – I hope you get to visit us soon ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. The villages of the Cotswolds look like something out of The Hobbit– so cute and quaint! The Cotswolds have been high on my bucket list for quite some time; I’m especially interested in visiting Bibury, as it’s one of the most-famous ones, but Castle Combe looks to be a worthwhile contender…looks like I’ll have to rewrite my itinerary for villages to visit in the Cotswolds, should I return to England someday!

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    1. You’re right – they really are so ‘hobbit-y’. The Cotswolds is a really beautiful area and definitely worth a visit if and when you’re next back in England. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend and thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Now, this is a place where we can spent some quiet time โ€“ itโ€™s truly beautiful! Itโ€™s amazing to read that no new houses were built since the 1600โ€™s ๐Ÿ˜ฒ โ€ฆ and how gorgeous is that carpet of red leaves on your walk to Ford!
    Also glad youโ€™re doing much better (time is the best medicine โ€ฆ and so is planning your next holidays)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s crazy isn’t it that nothing has been built since then – totally crazy! It’s the perfect place to spend some quiet time on charge out in the countryside ๐Ÿ™‚ Time is definitely the best medicine for sure, as well as travel…I’m actually super excited about the travel part and it’s nice to be able to plan without worrying about clinic trips and needle fridges haha! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. It is easy to see why this village was voted the prettiest! Every picture is just so lovely! So glad youโ€™re feeling better and Iโ€™m looking forward to reading about all the places that this next year will take you ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My โ€œPrettiest Villages in Englandโ€ coffee table book doesnโ€™t include Castle Combe, but clearly it should. It looks like you explored it the way it was meant to be explored: in a very relaxed fashion. Your accommodation looks lovely, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nooooo….what an omission; it’s definitely one of the most beautiful. Please tell me it at least has Lavenham in it….otherwise I’m going to have to write one and ship it to you ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for reading and have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Glad to hear that youโ€™re feeling better. Itโ€™s always nice to have a few trips to look forward to over the coming year. Weโ€™ve been brainstorming where weโ€™d like to go in 2022 and are hoping to even hop on a plane for the first time since before the pandemic. Who knows, maybe weโ€™ll visit the UK. Castle Combe and the surrounding village looks super charming and very picturesque.

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    1. It really is such a good medicine. Oooo that is very exciting, where is high on your list for next year? I can’t wait to follow your adventures…and if you end up in England you have a tour guide happy to assist if you need anything ๐Ÿ™‚

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      1. In terms of big trips, we’re thinking of going to Peru this spring, taking a road trip to Atlantic Canada in the summer, and visiting Ireland in the fall. And I might just have to take you up on that offer! It’ll be nice to see all those charming towns and villages that you’ve visited that are off the beaten path.

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  9. Visited Castle Combe from Bath on a tour of the Cotswolds and like you were able to see it first thing in the morning before the crowds came. Such a lovely village and I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to stay there. Itโ€™s absolutely the quintessential English village and so picturesque. This post brought back some very happy memories of my short time there. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so beautiful isn’t it, and I’m really pleased you enjoyed visiting too and seeing it crowd free is a real treat ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m happy to be able to bring back those nice memories. Thanks so much for reading and have a nice evening ๐Ÿ™‚

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  10. Iโ€™m glad to read that you are feeling better, and having many trips planned is already a great thing! I have never been to Castle Combe but I have seen many pictures of it over on Instagram and I have to say that it looks absolutely dreamy ๐Ÿ˜ The pictures you took from your stroll through the woods remind me so much of a magical fairyland and just put me in the greatest mood! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Juliette, I really appreciate that ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s definitely a dreamy place, especially if you can visit early/late to avoid the crowds as it gets sooo busy during the day – a perfect excuse to escape for a walk in the magical woodland!! Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

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