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Castle Combe
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15 things to do in Castle Combe

Planning the perfect day in this tiny Cotswolds village? Discover fairytale cottages, woodland walks, great pub grub and more things to do in Castle Combe

By Katie Gregory
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If you get the feeling that Castle Combe has been frozen in time, you’d be right. No new houses have been built in this tiny Wiltshire village since the 1600s, and its ancient, honey-hued Cotswold stone cottages remain its standout feature. Factor in valley views, a meandering river and some strict (but welcome) parking restrictions, and it’s no wonder it’s a regular on lists of the UK’s prettiest villages. Visit in winter when it's quiet, and the place is full-on fairytale.

A perfect day in Castle Combe

Adrian Baker

First up

Find the medieval market cross monument near pretty St Andrew’s Church. Pop in and spot the faceless clock then get a snap of Doctor Dolittle’s house from the 1967 movie. Drop by the village hall too, to see if the sporadic market is on.

Soak up the vibes

Once you’ve seen this dinky village close-up, view it from the surrounding hills. Wander up The Street from Market Place to follow the footpath that trails off to the right and into the
woodland. The full loop is a gloriously muddy 5.5 miles.
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Stop for lunch

Pre-book afternoon tea at The Old Rectory Tearoom for a feast of home-baked cakes and savoury nibbles. Or plump for a bacon butty and coffee in front of the roaring log-burner at
The Old Stables. Otherwise, cobble together a picnic from the
honesty boxes outside locals’ homes.
The Castle Inn
The Castle Inn
Photograph: The Manor Exclusive Hotels/Amy Murrell

Drink like a local

Two pubs vie for your attention once you reach Market Place: The Castle Inn and The White Hart. Both offer freshly pulled pints, roaring fires and charming courtyards, but The Castle Inn wins on fancy food: from a full English to a full-blown roast, it does a great line in hearty homemade fare.
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The Manor House, Castle Combe
The Manor House, Castle Combe
Photograph: The Manor Exclusive Hotels/Amy Murrell

Splash the cash

The ivy-covered Manor House is the place to push the boat out. Dine on food fresh from the kitchen garden in the luxury hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant The Bybrook or book in for a day of golf on the championship 18-hole course. Too serene?Take a supercar for a spin at Castle Combe Circuit – a rite of passage for petrolheads.
Castle Combe
Castle Combe

If you only do one thing

Wander down the hill from Market Place to the bridge at the southern tip of the village for the ultimate photo op. It’s where Castle Combe’s combo of weavers’ cottages, rippling river and wraparound woodland come together in one picture-perfect vista – especially if you can get the church spire in.

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And if you stay the night, wake up here

Arriving in the dreamy village of Castle Combe is fittingly atmospheric. The main route in takes you through a dark tunnel of trees – and The Old Museum, a tiny stone building with cute pastel shutters, is one of the very first you see as you descend the hill. Inside, it’s a petite but bright open-plan space with a little log-burner for chilly evenings. The quaint cottage comes with a rare parking space (winner!) and is just a few minutes’ walk from the heart of the village. Get up early to have its timewarp charm all to yourself before the crowds arrive. From £110 a night. 

Exploring more pretty Cotswolds villages?

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