Bath to Castle Combe, should you go ?
Castle Combe is officially (according to national press) the prettiest village in England. And when visiting this hidden away gem you would be hard pushed to disagree. In fact my wife actually says that it’s her favourite village in the Cotswolds. And I have to say I am inclined to agree with her though.
Where is Castle Combe?
You can travel from Bath to Castle Combe in around 20-25 minutes. A local taxi from Bath would cost around £35. And you would be make a big mistake to not visit while staying in the wonderful world heritage city of Bath. You should also note that it’s only around 20 minutes from Lacock Abbey and museum as well. So the two destination compliment each other if having a Tour from Bath. Book a taxi from Bath with Roman Bath Private Hire.
So what is here ? Well as you drop into the bowl or “combe” as the namesake says you are met with a beautiful little stream to your right.The Cotswold stone Weaver cottages are then the first thing you notice. Along with the stone tiled roofs which really are a signature of the cotswolds.The further you delph into this beautiful little village the more you feel like it’s a film set rather than a village. In fact films such as the “the war horse” and also the 1967 “Dr dolittle” were filmed here.
The centre of this village and at the very heart is the Market cross. This dates back to the medieval period and would of been used to host the market. All the nearby farms and villages would sell cheeses and milk around it. Directly behind the market cross you will find the Castle inn which is a great place for a spot of lunch. To the right of the cross is another pub called the white hart. Although I have to confess I have not tried the food here yet.
St Andrews should not be missed..
St. Andrews church which is to the left of the market cross is a definite must for any visitor.This 13th century church boasts one of the oldest working clocks in the country inside.
Also particular attention should be paid to the tomb of Walter Dunstaville. He was the baron of Castle Combe and died in 1270. His legs are shown as crossed which is an indicator that he went on two crusades. Above his tomb is the Scribe family coat of arms in the stained glass window. They prescided over castle combe for some 400 years. One other thing worth noting is “The War horse” display which shows how they transformed the village during the filming of this Hollywood block buster. Various souvenirs can be purchased in the church such as postcards and key rings. These are bought on an honesty basis.
To the north of the village is the Manor House which is now a hotel and golf course. In fact on part of the course you can find some but not many stones from the original castle. Hence the name Castle Combe. Unfortunately they are not worth investigating and the Manor House is private and for guests only. The original castle was built in 400 AD which replaced a Roman villa that had fallen into direpair. So Castle Combe has been a settlement for quite some time.