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Despite the name, Castle Combe is actually a small village rather than a single castle. In the 14th century, the village began to thrive, and it went on to be a center for wool and eventually military clothing manufacture.
While largely unappreciated until the 20th century, Castle Combe has always been important to the landscape of Wiltshire and even the entire United Kingdom. Today, Castle Combe is a marvelous way to get a glimpse into what traditional village life might have been 500 years ago, since much of the architecture is still preserved.
For a relaxed weekend in the country or a charming week of history, don’t miss out on all that Castle Combe has to offer.
Tour Market Cross in Castle Combe
The epicenter of Castle Combe is Market Cross, which was the hub of trade as well as socializing in the village for centuries. The Market Cross is located right where three major thoroughfares intersect, and these cobblestone streets are still used more by pedestrians than by vehicles.
The old water pump, truly the life of a small village in the 15th century, still remains, as does the 12th century St. Andrew’s Church to one side of the market.
Spot the Castle Combe Clock
Within St. Andrew’s Church is the Castle Combe Clock, one of the few remaining English medieval clocks on the planet. This clock was designed and built in the late 15th century, but it was updated in the 17th century to include a pendulum.
A few decades ago, the Castle Combe Clock was removed from the bell tower and placed inside the church’s nave, although it is now protected within a glass case.
Visit the Village Museum
At the top of the main hill overlooking the village of Castle Combe is a parking lot where visitors are asked to park while touring the area.
Just next to the parking area is the Village Museum, a quaint collection of artifacts and memorabilia highlighting the history and humanity of Castle Combe in the heart of England.
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Take in the View From the Bridge
Although you should absolutely walk through the village and admire the architecture, some of the best views are actually just outside of the village center.
Look for the traditional weaver’s cottages and walk halfway across the bridge just in front of them. From this phenomenal vantage point, you can see the village of Castle Combe in all its historic beauty. This is definitely the best place to take a few photos of the village.
Enjoy Tea at the Manor House Hotel
The 14th century Manor House Hotel is now one of the most luxurious places to stay while in Wiltshire. Even if you don’t get the chance to stay there overnight, however, don’t miss the afternoon tea held in its Bybrook Restaurant.
Try the traditional high tea for fresh scones, clotted cream, homemade strawberry jam, rich and sweet pastries, sandwiches and a variety of hot teas.
To explore a historic village untouched by time, make sure to visit Castle Combe in the beautiful district of Wiltshire in England.