England Travel

Castle Combe

Castle Combe is a lovely village in southern England. I can’t remember where I saw some pictures, but I remembered the place, so I was keen to visit it on our holiday. I was expecting to have a short walk around the village, but we ended up staying for a few hours. There were many more things to see than I was expecting and, of course, we stopped for refreshments.

Castle Combe

The village sits in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was a filming location for The Wolf Man, Stardust, Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse, and Dr Doolittle, as I’ve discovered when I visited the church. I can understand why is such a great location for period movies, the village is gorgeous.

Garden door at Castle Combe

Street in Castle Combe

I love these narrow streets and old houses, full of character. It really is a lovely place to see.

Castle Combe

Door at Castle Combe

 Village centre in Castle Combe

This market cross dates from the 14th-century.

Bus information

It’s the first time I’ve seen that you can summon a bus if you need. It really is hilarious. Although, getting around for the people from the village and the tourists can’t be easy unless they have a car.

If you can’t see it properly, on the sign it says: “Wednesdays only. 1007 – On request. Please call… no later than the day before travel.” On top of that, the returning service is at 1310. I imagine nobody actually uses this service to Bath.

St Andrew Church in Castle Combe

The St Andrew Church is a Grade I listed building, parts of it are from the 13th century, while some of the “newer” parts are from the 15th century. We went in, as I’m always interested in seeing the churches.

Church interior

The walls are still painted. That is something really special, as so few of these original wall decorations were lost.

Tomb of Walter de Dunstanville

This is the tomb of Sir Walter de Dunstanville (d. 1270). It does look like an unusual (and very casual) effigy. Of course, there is a reason behind it. He has his feet on the lion and the hand on the drawn sword, indicating that he died in battle. The legs are crossed because he went in two crusades. The Armour is from Bristol. Underneath the effigy are the weepers: a man of letters, a weaber, a priest, a lady who died in childbirth, a housewife, and a farmer’s wife.

Clock at St Andrew Church

The church houses a faceless clock which is reputed to be one of the oldest working clocks in the country. A coin operated light can be switched on to see the clock better. The clock was installed when the tower was completed, in the 15th century. Some of the parts, the ones that naturally worn out, were replaced. At that time, only the hour was important, so the hours are struck on a large bell and it has no face.

In 1984 it was brought down from the tower so people could see it working. At the same time, an electric winding mechanism was installed, removing the need for somebody to wind it daily.

On the road to Manor House Hotel

Manor House Hotel in Castle Combe

The Manor House is a 14th-century country house hotel. It was build where once a Norman castle stood. The house was built in the 17th century and rebuilt in the 19th. After WW2, it became a country club and after that a hotel.

Bar at Manor House Hotel

We went to have something to drink.

Hot chocolate at Manor House Hotel

The hot chocolate was delicious, and we were also served with complimentary bits of cake. I did enjoy spending a bit of time there, the staff was great and everything was amazing. Of course, on the premises there is a Michelin star restaurant. It was too early for us to eat and, after I looked online, I saw that they don’t offer vegetarian options, unfortunately.

Homemade cakes in Castle Combe. By Mac

Before leaving, I bought some homemade lemon drizzle cake, made by Mac. I can’t resist an honesty box, neither homemade cakes. When we got to the car, we saw that Mac went outside to replace the slice of cake we bought. I imagine he feels proud every time someone buys something he made. Love that.

Castle Combe has a car park at the top of the hill, but we didn’t need to find it, as we found a parking spot in the village. We were very lucky, as that was the only one available.

4 Comment

  1. Visitors to castle Combe come in their hundreds, in any one day there can be up to 300 people in the village, which has one Main Street. Not sure what time you took the photos, must have been really early as coaches and mini buses arrive in from around 9 am sometimes as early as 7.30. It is busy from that time until around 7pm, Mid summer is even busier.. A busy bustling village and not a quiet backwater by any means.

    1. On the day I visited the village it was quiet, as you can clearly see from the pictures. I arrived in the village around 10am – 11am, while I like getting up early, I’m not starting visiting at 7am, obviously.
      There weren’t any mini buses and it was, clearly, not Summer either, but November. I have no idea how is in summer, so I didn’t talk about it.

  2. What a beautiful area! It looks like it turned out to have many things to see. I always find the meanings behind the postures in statues and effigies to be fascinating.

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