The final days of my Erasmus in England could not have been more perfect: together with some friends I made a 4-day trip to Bristol, Bath, and Oxford. Besides those three, we wanted to see a part of the countryside, so we decided to visit a village part of the Cotswolds. I had often seen pictures of a village called Castle Combe (thanks to the Instagram feed of @alixelay), situated on the Southern edge of the Cotswolds region. On the second day of our trip, we booked an Uber and left for what I would remember as one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
You might recognise these streets and cottages: the village was used as a setting in the movies Stardust (which used to be my favourite!) and Steven Spielberg’s Warhorse. I expected there to be quite a lot of people taking photographs of the beautiful views, but it seemed as though we were all alone in the village. When we arrived, we had a look inside the old village church and discovered a magnificent, castle-like mansion behind it. Later I found out that the building is called The Manor House, a 14th-century building that serves as a hotel and golf club.
Part of The Manor House was a big staircase that led to a garden filled with little ponds and statues. Up there, everything seemed a bit dilapidated, as if no person had set foot there for years. Apart from an old graveyard, we found a statue of a boy with a mermaid tail and no hands, and one of another boy playing the flute, which made my friend Marieke and me joke about how this place must be under a curse, and how all the inhabitants of the castle must have been turned to stone and the castle to ruins. This part of Castle Combe is definitely the ideal place for a writer to find inspiration for a novel, tucked away in a small valley with, behind the small houses, the view of the wooded hills.
Although Castle Combe consists of not more than one street, I think it should definitely be on your travel bucket list if you love England. There’s not that many things to do, but as you’ll walk around you will feel as if you’ve gone back in time. The village is the perfect place to unwind after having spent a few busy days in a big city like London. After my visit I found out that Castle Combe is often called ‘the prettiest village of England’, which makes me even happier I visited this place.
This was part 1 of my ‘Erasmus travel diary’-series. During my stay in England, I visited a lot of beautiful places which I want to share with you. Besides Castle Combe, you can expect a lot more travel diaries coming soon!