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Castle Combe, England’s Prettiest Village? Gem of the Cotswolds

Mar 08, 2024
Castle Combe, often called the

prettiest

village

in England, in the Cotswolds in southern England, is one of those places you will never forget, especially with its world-famous view across the river to the bridge and the

village

beyond. This small river is one of the main reasons why this town was founded more than eight centuries ago, because the river powered the mill that made wool from all the sheep in the area. They then turned the wool into high-quality fabrics, thanks to the skill of local weavers, and these textiles were sold throughout the region, creating great prosperity that allowed this small town to prosper.
castle combe england s prettiest village gem of the cotswolds
However, that wool industry declined for various reasons about 500 years ago and the town never developed further. As a result, Castle Combe is beautifully preserved as a rare example of a medieval village. It is quite small. The area inside the red circle is only 200 meters wide, but there is a lot to see. So take your time. It is located at the southern edge of the Cotswolds, just 12 miles from the nearest city of Bath and just 75 minutes from London. Like many visitors, we will be taking a day trip from Bath, which is our base for visiting the region.
castle combe england s prettiest village gem of the cotswolds

More Interesting Facts About,

castle combe england s prettiest village gem of the cotswolds...

It was organized by Mad Max, a very capable company with many different tours around the area. Arriving right in the middle of the small town in Market Square with several pubs around us. There is the White Hart, where you can eat or just have a pint, and opposite, the other pub, the Castle Inn, which also doubles as a small boutique hotel with 12 rooms. It is in a 12th century building that has been carefully restored into a classic bed and breakfast. You can come in for a pint, relax for a delicious meal or enjoy a wonderful night's sleep.
castle combe england s prettiest village gem of the cotswolds
The Castle Inn is owned by the five-star Manor House Hotel, which is directly connected to it by this arched cottage, which is one of the rooms at the Manor House Hotel. We'll take you on a tour of the interior of that luxury property at the end of the film. The hotel is connected to the city by this short street, lined with 500-year-old stone cottages, leading to the market square. The four-column structure in the center is called the Market Cross. It was erected in the 14th century when the privilege of holding a weekly market at Castle Combe was granted.
castle combe england s prettiest village gem of the cotswolds
Agricultural products were sold in this stall and its surroundings, and they say that in the center a priest stood giving his sermon to a captive audience – located at the intersection of the three streets of the town. It looks like an open-air museum, but it is a living town with a local population of about 400 people. And sometimes groups of local runners come to run around town on their fun run from town to town. The historic appearance of the town is maintained by a zoning code where everything is strictly controlled to maintain the authentic look of a 16th century town.
In this town there are no shops or large signs, no television antennas, no brightly painted buildings, and no traffic lights. The stone steps are another historical landmark. It was so that riders could easily get on and off their horses. On the right side, notice the entrance with some food tables outside. Payment is made on the honor system. You can buy baked goods, bottled water, and other items and then put your money in the slot on the door. It's Ellen's cabin. Castle Combe is one of the most photographed little villages in England and can get very busy during the peak summer season, but now you will notice that it is quite quiet.
We'll be visiting in early May, which is a great time to be here, and it helps to visit in the morning before the larger tour buses arrive. Our guide explained to us about the characteristic stone tiles of the area. "So you get these big stones, big double stones at the bottom, and they gradually get smaller and smaller at the top." All the houses in the village are typical of the Cotswold type, built of honey-coloured stone, with thick walls and broken stone tile roofs. No new homes have been built in this historic area since about the year 1600.
This was when this river decreased in volume for some reason, making it difficult for the woolen mills to continue operating. It was the beginning of the end of the wool industry in Castle Combe and one of the main reasons why modern developments never took place here. And yet now, ironically, the river has become one of the important reasons why Castle Combe is so attractive to the visitor. It has created this absolutely beautiful scene, so be sure to walk past the bridge at the south end of town to enjoy it. The 15th-century church tower is 80 feet high and has many late medieval features, including four pinnacles, diagonal buttresses, a bell tower and fortified battlements.
You will surely want to visit the interior of this Church of England parish church, called St. Andrew's. It was built mainly in the 15th century, but includes some earlier sections from the 13th and 14th centuries, and then in the mid-19th century it was extensively rebuilt in the original style, and there is no record of any earlier Saxon church on this site. . The oldest monument in the church is in the lady's chapel: an effigy of Sir Walter de Dunstanville, a very important local hero. "This is the famous tomb of Barron Walter of Dunstanville. He would have been lord of the manor and died in 1270. 'Wow'.
We know he went to two Crusades, and he died in the second Crusade he participated in, and we know in virtue of the fact that he dressed in battle dress. When you think about it, how extraordinary it was to get it. "Going to Israel twice, you know, back in the 1200s. They brought him back once they killed him." Norman was lord of the manor at Castle Combe, and his feet now rested forever on the head of a lion. Naturally, behind the church is a historic cemetery in a picturesque garden. It is one of those beautiful little hidden places.
You might get lost if you're in a hurry to walk around this small town. You could walk from one end to the other and back in 15 or 20 minutes, but you've seen that this is such an unusually special place that it's worth slowing down and taking a moment. the time to let it all absorb. If you've seen that classic view once, you'll probably want to go back and take another good look. Some visitors to Castle Combe ask: where is the

castle

? It was a prehistoric Celtic fortress on the hill north of the city, and was later occupied by the Romans and later the Normans.
Well, today the

castle

no longer exists. And the word Combe is an old Saxon word that refers to a narrow valley. That's where the name comes from, Castle Combe. Now that you've seen how pretty the town is, you might be tempted to stay a few days. And why not indulge in luxury at the five-star Manor House Hotel, located just 100 meters from the town. The price is a little less than what you would pay in an urban environment for such amenities. For example, from September to December, you can get a room for two people for around £300, breakfast included.
The hotel offers excellent food in its Michelin-starred restaurant, where you can eat even if you are not staying the night, or perhaps pop in for afternoon tea. They have 21 rooms and suites in the main building, along with 29 luxury suites in what they called Mews Cottages located on the property. This is starting to sound like a paid commercial, but let me remind you that I never accept fees or in-kind services for coverage of any topic, whether restaurant, hotel, or anything. I would just like to share this with you because it is such a beautiful place. There is also a golf course, flower and kitchen gardens, a pond, and some nice walking trails on the property's 360 acres.
The mansion was first built in the 17th century and then extended and rebuilt in the 19th century and, in the mid-20th century, converted into a hotel. Castle Combe is a good base from which you can see many of the other Cotswolds villages within a short drive. We continue our day trip to the Cotswolds to visit some more villages that we will show you in other episodes. Passing once more through the center of the town in Market Square, with the Castle Inn side on our left and Dower House, with those four gables just ahead on the left side.
It was the house of the wives of the Lords of the Manor, they say, and also the house of the town doctor, and it was the house of Dr. Doolittle in the movie that was filmed here in 1966. You can find more videos about other Towns in Cotswold in our collection, and also a series of films about the main city of Bath. We frequently upload new movies, so subscribe to our channel and click that little alarm bell to get notified. And if you enjoyed the movie, give it a thumbs up and we always welcome comments below, or if you have questions about the destination, make a note and we'll answer them.
Thanks for watching.

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