A day trip guide to Castle Combe by the travel blog 'Explore With Ed'

Castle Combe, a sleepy chocolate box village that’s often referred to as England’s prettiest. If you’re looking for things to do in The Cotswolds, this little gem in Wiltshire is a wonderful starting point.

Quaint country cottages in Castle Combe

The Old Post Office in Castle Combe

The Old Post Office Sign In Castle Combe

A brief history of Castle Combe

The village was named after a nearby Norman Fortress and much of what we see today began in the Middle Ages with a booming cloth industry and market square. If this street seems familiar you may have seen it in the cinema, it’s been used as a backdrop for films like Stardust, War Horse and Doctor Dolittle.

Unicorn Lodge and row of houses in Castle Combe

The main street of Castle Combe village

The best time of year to visit Castle Combe

The prettiness of Castle Combe is perhaps most obvious in the height of summer when the honey coloured cottages are graced with colourful climbing plants and overflowing window baskets.

A chilly afternoon in January however will evoke a magical and medieval quality with chimney smoke lacing the damp and misty air. The upside of visiting The Cotswolds in the winter is that it tends to be much quieter, however it’s more likely you’ll get rained or snowed on – like me! 

Further reading: A day trip to Broadway, Burford and Chipping Campden

Places to stay in Castle Combe

Light Green Diana Lomography Camera, taken in The Cotswolds

How to get to Castle Combe in The Cotswolds 

The village is just a few miles off the M4 motorway via junction 18 or 17 and is 1 hour from Cardiff and 2 hours from London by car. If you’re cruising to Bristol or Southampton, Castle Combe may be an ideal excursion outside of the city, similarly if you’re visiting Bath and have an additional afternoon to spare. I parked, like most other visitors, just the north of the village on the roadside.

Further reading: A Trip To Cotswold Lavender Farm & Broadway

Reading a book by the river in Castle Combe, England's Prettiest Village

Sightseeing in England's Prettiest Village in The Cotswolds

Top things to do in Castle Combe

Castle Combe in England has been used as a filming location including Stardust, Doctor Dolittle and War Horse

The Market Square area in Castle Combe

The Castle Inn Pub and Hotel in Castle Combe on rainy day

The central Market Square of Castle Combe on a wet January day

A rainy day in England's prettiest village, Castle Combe

On a dry and sunny day you may like the idea of lazing by the river and picking up drinks and snacks from a honesty stall, an unmanned tuck shop on a local residents door step. If, however, you visit on a rainy day then warming up next to a log fire with a bowl of homemade soup is as cosy as it gets.

Further reading: Three must-see places in The Cotswolds

Castle Combe Church

White Hart pub, places to eat in Castle Combe

The White Hart pub in Castle Combe, Leek and potato soup

Leek and potato soup at The White Hart, Castle Combe

The sun did show its face in time for me to take that classic photo over the arched river bridge…

Sleepy Cotswold village in Wiltshire

The classic view of England's prettiest village Castle Combe (in The Cotswolds) from the river bridge

Have you been to Castle Combe or The Cotswolds? Do you think there’s a place that’s just or perhaps even more pretty? Let me know! 


  1. How to reach the river bridge from London..i.e. i am specifying the last pic in this article.

    • Hello Hema,

      The easiest way is by car, it takes around 2 hours and is quite easy if you take the M4 motorway. However if you’d prefer not to drive I recommend looking up a coach tour that visits Castle Combe and The Cotswolds as there are a couple that depart from London year round. 🙂

  2. Is most of the village walkable? If we park north of town as you suggested, can we see the prettiest spots on foot? Thanks!

    • Yes you can Rebecca – if you park on the roadside before you enter the village (you’ll likely see cars already parked up), you’re only 5 minute walk downhill into the village centre.

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