While we were staying at The Pig near Bath, we had two days of which to explore the countryside. I actually googled “pretty towns near Bath,” and Castle Combe popped right up, boasting the title of the prettiest village in England. It is regularly used as a filming location, and coming from Hollywood, I would swear I was on the backlot of Paramount—not in an actual town where people live. Only a 45-minute drive from our hotel, it was the perfect drive through The Cotswolds—albeit, on the wrong side of the road—through magical forests and open pastures.
Like something out of a fairytale, Castle Combe was the journey and also the destination. We parked the car, set out on foot, and when “two roads diverged in a [yellow] wood,” thankfully I had read the poem, and dragged my husband down the inconspicuous entrance to what was revealed as The Manor House, a five-star country house hotel! Originally built in the 14th century to replace a Norman Castle, The Manor House had many Lords of the Manor, including Sir John Oldcastle, depicted as Sir John Falstaff in the Shakespeare play Henry IV.
The staff of The Manor House was very hospitable, and welcomed us to roam the gardens, and have a drink in the Full Glass Bar, where we later learned, is where Margaret Thatcher sat and wrote her memoirs.
Not every travel day goes like this when we decide to wing it, but it served as a reminder that sometimes you get really lucky, and life unfolds surprises that you could have never dreamed of. So without further ado, I invite you to come along for the ride.
Once upon a time…