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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 06 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Annabelle Thorpe

Ask an American to describe a traditional English village and they’d probably describe Castle Combe. Ridiculously pretty, this perfectly preserved slice of medieval life had a starring role in War Horse, and the cluster of stone cottages, edging a winding High Street, almost have the feel of a film set.

The Market Cross, at the village centre, dates back to the 14th century and the White Hart pub has been open for more than 500 years.

If you only visit one village in the Cotswolds – make it this one.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Driving from London to Castle Combe takes around 2.5 hours. Chippenham station is approximately 1.5 hours from London Paddington, and 5 miles from Castle Combe – taxis are available at the station.

When to do it

Castle Combe is at its most atmospheric and beautiful in the autumn months. Summer (July to August) sees hordes of international tourists.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

The Manor House

Castle Combe, Wiltshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.1 miles]

A romantic country house retreat set in historic Castle Combe, one of England’s most medieval villages.

Official star rating:

Whatley Manor

Malmesbury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom (UK)[11.5 miles]

A gorgeously-restored Cotswolds manor house hotel, with an award-winning spa and double Michelin-starred restaurant.

Official star rating:

The Bird

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)[14.9 miles]

Expect friendly, youthful vibes at this relaxed hotel, decorated in jewel tones and with a buzzy restaurant. The location is excellent – the city centre is a five-minute walk away.

Official star rating:

No 15 Great Pulteney

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)[14.9 miles]

Slap bang in the heart of things, No 15. is one of the smartest places to stay, on arguably Bath’s grandest road, close to  the city centre. There’s beautiful décor, a relaxed bar and fine attention to detail.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

A lovely west country city of world-class Georgian architecture, ancient and modern spas, and an atmosphere of romance and refinement.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Westonbirt Arboretum

Tetbury, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom (UK)[12.7 miles]

The National Arboretum is one of Europe’s most beautiful collections of trees, with over 15,000 different species and a stunning treetop walkway.

Best for ages: 13+ | £11

Highgrove Gardens

Tetbury, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom (UK)[14.8 miles]

A beautiful, organic and sustainable garden, Highgrove is also the private home of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

Best for ages: 14+ | £2,950

Roman Baths & Pump Room

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)[15.4 miles]

The historic Grand Pump Room next door has a fountain spouting genuine mineral-rich Bath spa water for tasting. It also does an enjoyable afternoon tea, a popular and highly recommended way to round off your visit.

Best for ages: 8+ | £15

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Exterior view of the beautiful gold stone facade

Lacock Abbey

Chippenham, Wiltshire, United Kingdom (UK)[11.7 miles]

An elegant, 13th-century house built on the foundations of a former nunnery, Lacock is the home of William Henry Fox Talbot, famous for his part in the invention of photography.

Best for ages: 18+ | £15

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Overview >

Walk or cycle to Warleigh Weir

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)[13.9 miles]

A pretty, car-free 3-mile cycle or walk along the Kennet & Avon Canal Path to Warleigh Weir; the weir’s also a perfect spot for picnicking and wild swimming.

Best for ages: 4+ | Free | 1-3 hours

Empty punts lined up on the water's edge

Boating on the Avon

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)[14.2 miles]

Pile into a punt or a rowing boat from this pretty boating house on the outskirts of the city, and paddle along the River Avon. Stop for lunch at the Bathampton Mill country pub before making your way back.

Best for ages: 4+ | £12 | 1-3 hours

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The modern glass add on to the Grade 1 listed building as seen over a hedge of flowers. People at cafe tables.

Holburne Museum

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)[14.7 miles]

An art gallery and museum housing more than 4,000 Georgian treasures bequeathed to the city, displayed in period rooms and offering an insight into Georgian life in Bath. The Sydney pleasure gardens surrounding it are worth a post-gallery stroll on a sunny day.

Best for ages: 13+ | £13

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Overview >