UK Rural Retreat: Guide to Visiting Castle Combe (the Cotswolds)

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 travelled around the UK enough. But I decided to change that and took a short trip to the pretty little village of Castle Combe which is just outside of Chippenham.

Visiting Castle Combe: Key Planning Points

Location: England. Castle Combe is located just outside of the Chippenham in the Cotswolds. It is approximately a 2.5 hours drive from London. Alternatively, you can take a train from London with the total journey taking approximately 3.5 hours.

Best Time to Visit: British summer time. This break is for the nature lover so try and book your trip in for the dry sunny season!

Type of Holiday: Outdoors, ideal for nature lovers but also "novice" nature lovers.

Ideal Length of Stay: 2 days. Best for a weekend break.

Why Visit: For hiking and the amazing scenery.

What to Pack: Hiking boots or trainers and a waterproof coat.

Hiking in Castle Combe

Castle Combe is known to be the prettiest village in England and this is because of its natural beauty. Now 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. Hotels in the area are happy to provide hiking routes, but there are also loads available online. 

Starting out on my hike in Castle Combe 
Hiking in Castle Combe
Castle Combe Gift Shop
This little gift shop is the only shop I saw while I was in Castle Combe. Other than that there are a few pub/restaurants. For more shops and restaurants, you have to go to the nearby village of Chippenham which is around 20 - 30 minutes away by bus. 

If you aren't a full-on nature lover fear not! I amn’t particularly a "lets-put-a-tent-up", "bugs-don’t-bother-me" outdoorsy kinda girl, but I do 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. Castle Combe is definitely relaxing. Being from Scotland I thought beautiful rolling hills were reserved for us! I had no idea how beautiful the Cotswolds were, and now I know why it's such a popular spot to visit.  

Hiking route in Castle Combe
The place was beautiful but I was sure we were lost for at least half of the time we were walking. It turned out 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 the country way is to just hop over using the little wooden step at the side of the gate and continue on with your walk. So that’s what I did.

Cows in Castle Combe
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 who are clearly living the good life grazing on all the good grass and some curious cows too who actually l walked right up to the gate to say hi. 

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

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