Castle Combe is the epitome of a charming, English countryside village. Visiting this town is one of the most popular things to do in the Cotswolds.
This quaint country spot is rich with history and peppered with historical monuments.
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I recently had the chance to visit Castle Combe on a day trip from London to the Cotswolds, so read on to discover some delightful things to do in Castle Combe while you’re on vacation.
If you’ve never been to the Cotswolds before, you’re in for a real treat. Designated an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966, the Cotswolds is a treasured tourist attraction in the United Kingdom.
The area covers parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Oxfordshire, and Worcestershire. This stunning landscape boasts rolling hills, meadows, and an abundance of natural beauty.
If you’re looking for Castle Combe Village, head to Wiltshire County in the South West area of England. Wiltshire is about eight kilometres outside of Chippenham.
Castle Combe is a historic medieval village named after a 12th-century castle of the same name.
The Castle Combe Castle, which was abandoned in the late 1300s, was situated on a spur north of the village, overlooking the Bybrook River and Bybrook Valley.
If you’re wondering where the name ‘Combe’ comes from, it’s simply a synonym for a valley. The name Castle Combe referred to the old castle’s view of the valley, where the village was later established.
Nothing remains of the Castle Combe’s Castle today, but you can still see some of the earthworks beneath the site, as well as the stonework ruins in the undergrowth.
Castle Combe Walks
Tourists adore taking long Castle Combe walks, marvelling at the ancient buildings, and enjoying the fresh country air.
It’s also a wonderful place to take your kids as they can play around in the lush, green meadows while the adults tour the historical buildings in town.
See The Market Cross
You can visit the historic 14th-century Market Cross, a roofed structure that indicates a village market square.
The square’s surrounding buildings are dripping with old-world charm, and you can take some seriously Instagram-worthy photos here.
Visit St. Andrews Church
Just east of the Market Cross, you’ll find the stunning St. Andrew’s Church. It’s open to the public, so make your way in and take a look around the old church. Inside, you’ll find one of the oldest functioning clocks in Britain!
St. Andrews is also home to a monument of Sir Walter de Dunstanville. Sir Walter was a knight and the Baron of Castle Combe before it went into ruin, who died in the year 1270.
Stroll Around The Village
Take a pleasant stroll as you map the pathways of medieval market-goers, then pop round to the village hall just up the road.
If you’re lucky, the town market will be underway, and you can shop for homemade jams and antiques to take home with you as souvenirs.
Snap Photos Along Water Lane
For another picturesque photo op, head down to the village bridge over the Bybrook. The sunlight playing on the water is utterly beautiful in the warm months.
And in winter, the snow-capped village houses make for a postcard moment you’ll always remember.
Being such a prized tourist attraction, there are some fabulous accommodations in Castle Combe. You can book a beautiful room at any of the options below.
There are some premium hotels to choose from, as well as a few Airbnb rentals you can stay in with friends or family.
The Castle Inn is one of the best hotels in Castle Combe and an excellent place to call your home away from home.
The inn dates all the way back to the 12th century and even still has some of its original features. Each room is decorated tastefully with antique furniture and beautiful fabrics too.
Staying at the Castle Inn means you’ll have easy access to the inn’s restaurant, one of the best in the village.
They have a fabulous conservatory dining room where you can enjoy a candlelit dinner. And on a warm summer evening, you can dine al fresco in the gorgeous garden terrace surrounded by trees.
Welcome to The White Hart, where you can find a traditional English pub and beautiful rooms to rest your eyes in.
Guests receive a homemade welcome basket on arrival, and everything in the restaurant is made from locally sourced ingredients.
Like everything else in Castle Combe, The White Hart is beautifully preserved and even has some of its original stonework. You couldn’t ask for a better place to stay on a vacation in the Cotswolds.
The Manor House Hotel & Golf Club is a five-star country house that any tourist or local will fall in love with. It’s a popular spot to rent out for fairytale weddings, as the manor is truly luxurious and dignified.
If you’re just visiting for the weekend, though, you can book a gorgeous self-catering cottage to stay in.
If you stay near the Main House, you’ll be able to walk right on over to the Bybrook River in the morning. There are lush green gardens behind the manor, perfect for a refreshing morning stroll or an afternoon picnic.
Of course, one of the biggest draws of The Manor House is its on-site golf course. The 18-hole championship course is a great place to take in the scenery while playing a few rounds.
And when you’re done on the greens, head over to The Bybrook, the award-winning hotel restaurant. There are some mouthwatering dishes on the menu.
If the above hotels don’t tickle your fancy, you can book a room at the Airbnb rentals in Castle Combe below.
If you’re looking for a cute cottage rental for you and your family or friends, try the Castle Combe Cottage Airbnb.
It’s a two-bedroom cottage with its own private garden and all the amenities you’ll need for a comfortable stay.
You’ll also be just walking distance from the Bybrook. You can even spot the ducks on the water from the living room window seat!
The Studio is an endearing cottage rental with vaulted ceilings and its own skylight. Nothing could be better than waking up to a clear blue sky-view right from your bedroom.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, take note that the bed is king-sized. You’ll sleep like a baby at the studio.
Another plus with this rental is that it borders the property of The Manor House. So, you can walk on over to the golf course for some entertainment after a delightful breakfast in the cottage.
Nestled in the heart of Castle Combe, The Castle Inn Pub is the perfect spot for a pint. The 12-century pub offers modern pub grub and a relaxed atmosphere.
You can enjoy a hearty steak by the fireplace or clink your glasses outside on the patio.
If you’re staying at The White Hart, there’s a pub you can try on-site. You can’t go wrong with their selection of crafted cocktails, carefully paired wines and delicious dishes.
For more pubs near Castle Combe, you can drive from the centre of Castle Combe to Chippenham in just 15 minutes. Try the Brunel pub in town for some refreshing cold ones.
As delightful as it is in Castle Combe, you may also be intrigued by the other towns and villages in the Cotswolds.
Take a day trip to the nearby village of Lacock for more impressive medieval buildings and small-town vibes.
You can visit the impeccable Fox Talbot Museum while you’re in Lacock. They have fascinating exhibitions on the history of photography.
There are also some lovely boutique stores in town where you can shop for locally made goods and trinkets.
Another option for a day trip from Castle Combe is the village of Sherston. It’s about a 20-minute drive north of the village and well worth the short trip.
Sherston is also part of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so you can take some scenic strolls in the area.
There are ten different walking routes visitors can try out, each of which meander through the stunning English countryside.
If you’re travelling from London, it’s a fairly simple trip to get to Castle Combe. Londoners can take a one-way train from Paddington Station to Chippenham in about 2 hours.
From there, it’s a quick bus ride to Castle Combe from the Chippenham Bus Station. For more details, you can read this post on getting from London to the Cotswolds.
In anticipation of its consistent stream of visitors, Castle Combe has a free parking lot atop a hill at the edge of the village.
There’s limited parking, so try to get there early. And be prepared for a rather tiresome ascent back up the hill when you’re ready to go home.
Unfortunately, most of the roads in Castle Combe have double-yellow lines where you’re not allowed to park.
Be warned, there are loads of traffic wardens about, so don’t take your chances. You’re better off using the free parking lot on top of the hill.
Keep reading for some essential information on Castle Combe before you start planning your trip. Here are some FAQs you may find helpful below before you get on the train.
Besides being in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Castle Combe is also replete with architectural beauty.
Considering that, and the friendly village vibes of the countryside, this tourist destination is definitely worth a visit.
Even though there are no new houses in Castle Combe, the village is still alive with activity. The local townspeople are up and about enjoying the impressive scenery or running some of the great businesses that keep Castle Combe alive today.
You can stop in at one of the local pubs or restaurants, browse in the Castle Combe shops, or simply enjoy a long walk-in town.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a few film directors have gleaned onto the breath-taking aesthetic of Castle Combe and taken advantage of it for their film sets.
The 2008 film Stardust was shot in Castle Combe and the Steven Spielberg drama War Horse. You might also recognise some of the village spots from scenes in the 1967 film Doctor Doolittle.
Parts of Castle Combe were also used for sets in the Harry Potter film franchise. You can wander through the village and see exactly which houses appeared in some of these famous films.
There’s one more super famous TV series that features different spots in Castle Combe. If you haven’t guessed by now, it’s Downton Abbey, the immensely popular and award-winning British drama series from BBC.
You guessed it: Castle Combe is commonly known as the prettiest village in England, and frequently graces list of the best English villages to visit in the summer.
It’s been hailed as a must-see by publications like The Telegraph, CN Traveller, and The Culture Trip many years in a row.
Somewhat frozen in time, there hasn’t been a new building in Castle Combe since the 1600s. Every historical building in the village has been impressively and carefully preserved.
One example is the Old Court House Hotel on Market Place Street. Boasting stone mouldings and a Tudor-style fireplace, the 16-century building is one of the most popular in Castle Combe.
Hopefully, you get to experience all of the exciting places outlined on this list. From the historical buildings to the excellent local restaurants, Castle Combe provides an unforgettable setting for any Cotswolds holiday.
You’re bound to fall in love with the village just as scores of other tourists and locals have. Have a fantastic trip to the countryside!