One Stays at One's Manor in Castle Combe

When you think of going on holiday, short UK trips don’t usually make the short list. You automatically think, “somewhere hot please!” Because of that, I don’t think I have traveled around the UK enough.

When I moved to London, I realised I hadn’t been to a lot of great places in Scotland and now that I am in England I don’t want to make the same mistake and with summer around the corner, it’s a great time to get out and about!

This weekend I visited the pretty little village of Castle Combe which is just outside of Chippenham and is about a two and a half hour drive from London. Now, I amn’t particularly a lets-put-a-tent-up, bugs-don’t-bother-me outdoorsy girl but I do now love to be around nature. I used to be awful at slowing down but taking time away from the city is a great way to relax and de-stress. It’s like going to a nature spa.

The Manor House Hotel

I stayed at the Manor House Hotel while I visited and honestly it was a major part of why this trip was so great. This is how you do a country break five-star style. This place is amazing.

Firstly because it looks like this…
Manor House Hotel

You can pretend for the whole weekend that you are lord of the manor and say things like “let’s go for a hunt” “where are the hounds?” “bring me my pipe” “I’m taking the corgis out for a walk”

The hotel has several lounges where you can just relax and they are happy to serve you anything from their “informal” menu in any one of the rooms while you smoke your imaginary pipe by the fire.

Bookshelf goals
The hotel is perfect for reading a book or just having tea and chatting while you enjoy the great scenery could play chess! It’s one of the cute little extras the hotel provides. Obviously, I decided that one should play chess after taking one’s corgis out for a walk. So I took a crash course, lost miserably, licked my wounds and then ate dessert (sticky toffee pudding – a.k.a work of art).

The other really thoughtful little touch is the hotel’s DVD collection. I really loved this, even though I didn’t get the chance to take advantage of it (because I was too busy having a bubble bath with the built in TV - I'll tell you about that later). I’ve stayed in some great places while I have travelled but I haven’t seen a DVD collection done like this before.


The second reason I loved this place was because of the amazing and extensive grounds. The grounds are so beautiful that after my husband and  had finished our hike around Castle Combe we went out for round two to explore the place. It turns out we were staying in the secret garden - it was full of great spots. These pictures are from some of the places on the grounds.

Nosying around really paid off, we discovered some great spots.

Ok, so if you aren’t impressed with the mini waterfall then they also have croquet, outdoor chess, tennis courts and a golf course.

The Room

Our room was in one of the hotel's cottages
This row of cottages is actually part of the hotel and is where we stayed (yes, I stayed in a postcard). The room was lovely with big country windows and double mattresses on the bed so you can be the princess but without the annoying pea.

Kettles are so last year

Cute little extras like this little guy, who is your do-not-disturb sign, made it extra special. Also coffee maker - yes please. I can’t believe I was using a kettle all these years. And why on earth has no one given me a hotel smart pad before?

The bathroom also had great extras too. It is honestly one of the most satisfying things in the world to get squeaky clean after coming back from a hike. A huge waterfall shower is lovely as it is, but this one also had water jets built in on the sides. There was also a bathtub with a built in TV (oh yeah). 

The Hike

This little gift shop is the only shop I saw while I was in Castle Combe

Castle Combe is known to be the prettiest village in England but be warned, this is a break for a nature lover. This isn’t the type of village with a little town square surrounded by cafes. It is a hiking break. But you don’t have to be a hardcore hiker. I don’t even own hiking boots. You just need a good pair of trainers and walking legs. You can do 1, 2 or 3 hour hikes around the village. The hotel was happy to provide us with trails we could follow but you can easily just look up a map yourself and draw out a route.

The place was beautiful but I was sure we were lost for at least half of the time we were walking. We weren’t but because you are mostly alone while you’re hiking there isn’t that comfort of “everyone else is going this way too”. Also, when you are met with a gate or a fence, that tends to look like a dead end to me. But after hopping over a few we continued on our walk and found our way.

The hike is beautiful, it takes you high up over the village where you get great views of the area. There are lazy sheep along the way living the good life and some curious cows too who actually left what they were doing when they saw us and walked right up to the gate to say hi. Hi little cows!


Breakfast at the Manor Hotel
There are a few options for food in Castle Combe. As well as the "informal" menu I told you about, the Manor Hotel has a Michelin star restaurant (the Bybrook) if you really want to enjoy luxury all the way. But if you just want an easy going village dinner you can pop into the Castle Inn which serves tea and scones as well as a good dinner including some good old fashioned fish and chips. 

I had dinner at the Manor hotel from their "informal" menu and I have to say the food was amazing. Portion sizes are small but they are the right size for you to fit in a starter a main and a dessert.

Breakfast was also fantastic. I am a holiday breakfast fanatic. I will wake you up to make sure we get to breakfast - it's not negotiable (this is how to lose friends and alienate people). They do a buffet style continental breakfast but you can also order something warm from their breakfast menu.

This is a great short trip. It’s not really a place you can stay for long as hiking is the only thing to do but it is the perfect short weekend break. I am now a country break convert and will definitely be on the hunt for more breaks like this.
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