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 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!