Castle Combe doesn’t exactly have a castle, but it does have the most beautiful bridge and amazing small town charm, with two restaurants, a coffee shop, a tea house and a church with a cemetery attached. We took the train/bus in from Bath, about 1/2 hour all together. However, the bus from Chippenham, the connecting city, to Castle Combe only comes three times per day (except on Sundays), so plan accordingly. We had a good three hours to enjoy. This was more than enough on a cold rainy day, as the town consists of just a few narrow streets and picture-perfect rows of houses.
We were greeted by the loveliest line of small stone houses, all perfectly symmetrical. It was cold and rainy, as are most days in England, but this should not stop you from enjoying the quaint houses and the beautiful St. Andrew’s church.
We ate at one of the two pubs in town, where we were first greeted by a rude, nasty woman who practically growled at us that they weren’t serving food until noon. (It was 11:53am) I looked on google, and the reviews were split down the middle – great food but terrible, awful, rude owners. I almost wanted to leave. But suddenly, once the clock had struck noon, it was like a light had been switched on and she sashayed over to our table, smiling and checking if the heater was working, making sure we were comfortable. She gave us great recommendations and told us the food was all very good. All the smiles. Do we want more drinks? Again, more smiles. She had done a complete 180 and was SO nice to us the rest of the time…so bizarre 😂😂😂😂 The Moroccan Lamb was superb and the portions were plentiful, but I’d recommend making sure you don’t arrive before their food-serving hours.
The coffee house was an old barn that had been renovated for the young people – high ceilings, colorful decorations and all kinds of cakes and sweets. It was surprisingly busy for a town of maybe 60 people and even fewer young people. The tea shop down the road looked so quaint and perfectly English with the three tiered towers for afternoon tea and pink floral table cloths and napkins, all set up and ready. As lovely as it was, we settled on the coffee shop as it was more casual and not as much of a time or financial commitment as the tea shop.
All the houses had names, my favorites being Castle House and Unicorn Lodge (Which was probably a hotel…but still so cute!). There was a surprising amount of tourists, but still very little foot traffic and literally no stores (book shops, shoe shops, pharmacies). Not ONE. The tea shop had some souvenirs, as did the church and small stands in front of various houses. People seemed to leave their goodies outside next to a little money box, no one in sight, using the honor system for their sales. I was so tempted to buy Jacob’s cookies for £1.50, but I didn’t have the correct change. The town sits right next to a golf course, so we saw plenty of old white men with fancy cars 😂😂😂 but they weren’t in town, just heading to the golf course. Little birds flew from tree to tree and locals briskly walked their dogs. Make sure to listen for the water trickling down the river!
Chippenham, the town connecting Bath and Castle Combe, has a tall church, tiny boutiques and an absolute abundance of great resale shops.
Castle Combe was a quiet town, adorable and lovely. We highly recommend you stop here for an afternoon, and let me know your favorite part in the comments!
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