Heading Away From London to Castle Combe

My last few posts have talked about London, but I want to get out of that area and talk about other areas in England.  During my trip I stayed in England, although I wanted to see many other areas there just was not enough time.  Maybe the next trip I will make it to Wales and other places.

So as I mentioned in my post about London, I decided to hire a car and drive through the countryside.  First off, let me say that it was so easy to adjust to driving on the right side of a car and on the left side of the road.  I actually prefer it to American driving.  The only thing I wasn’t keen about is how narrow many of the roads in England are.  You can not be a timid driver in England or you could easy be run off the road.  Luckily for me, I live in Seattle and there many aggressive drivers here so I have had lots of practice with them.  I picked my car up at Gatwick airport since part of my holiday also took me to Germany and it was just easier to hire the car from there since I was flying out of that location.  The Garmin gps was terrible and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you absolutely can not read a map.  As it is here in the states too, it looked for the closest route to everything instead of the main highway so I opted for a map of England and navigated my way much easier not to mention saved myself lots of time and kept my mileage to a minimum.  Gas in England is purchased by the liter instead of gallon, it cost about $12 US dollars per gallon so you really want to keep track of your miles if you are on a tight budget.

The plan initially was to head north to Kibworth Beachamp in Leicester, Leicestershire, but we ended up heading west toward Bath instead.  Before I left the states, someone shared a photo of the town of Castle Combe in Whiltshire, England on Anglotopia.net’s Facebook page.  It was like a photo from the past, a village you only see in movies, but was very much taken in present day.  I dabble a bit in photography so I wanted to stop and shoot pictures of the village for my own collection.  I quickly added that to my list of must see places.  I am so glad we did.  Castle Combe is a place you shouldn’t miss, but you can easily miss the turn off into town as we did.  If you end up seeing the sign to park here and a big parking lot, you missed the turn by one road, but you can take the road by the parking lot down and it will meet up with the one that goes into the village.

Castle Combe sits off the B4039 just off the M4 about an hour and a half west of London near Chippenham. It is better known for the feature films that were filmed there.  Stardust and Warhorse were both filmed in the Village.  Next time you watch one of them, you will be able to say you know where the village is and that it really exists.  There are a few restaurants to dine in, a couple of inns and even a large manor home to stay in here if you want to get away and just be.  We had dinner at the Castle Inn.  It’s a cute place to have dinner and the atmosphere is great.

What I really liked was the architecture of all the buildings.  I am just in awe of the old buildings all around England.  America is such young nation in comparison to the UK.  We don’t have as many wonderful buildings with rich styles that you can easily find all across the country.  There a so many old churches and it seems that just about everyone of them is photo worthy.  Saint Andrews Church in Castle Combe was one that I just had to shoot.  It has a cemetery attached to the church grounds with old graves and then a magnificent church.  I could have easily stayed here for a few days and never run out of places to take photos.

So if you are out in this area, make a point to stop in and see what I am talking about.  It seems that each little town and village has it’s own feel and special inspiration that will draw you in.  Next up, Bath.

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