Ever so often I allow myself to get so bored that I’ll willingly choose to read my emails. New in at Topshop? Go on then, show me the shoes. A great deal from Groupon that can’t be missed? OK, if you insist! I might even read an email from LinkedIn if I’m feeling particularly spiritless. And so it was on a cold Suffolk afternoon in December, surrounded by wrapping paper and distracted by audiobook offers and cheap flights, that I found myself wooed by a Secret Escapes deal.
Admittedly, I had at first fallen in love with a last minute trip to a Greek island, but a night away in the quaint Cotswolds village of Castle Combe seemed a little more practical. The pictures were pretty, it was only a two hour drive away from London and if I booked within the next few hours (the pressure! THE EXCITEMENT!), it would be just £100 with a welcome bottle of fizz and all the breakfast you could hope for. So 39% off, basically. SOLD!
As this little jaunt was prompted entirely by a deal and not any sort of actual “research”, I wasn’t sure what to expect as we drove through the Wiltshire countryside to get there. Passing through the teeny hamlet of Tiddleywink was an obvious highlight, but as we dropped down into the wooded valley of Castle Combe it was immediately clear why this little place has been awarded “Prettiest Village in England” so many times. It’s prettier than pretty. It’s “what tourists think England looks like” pretty. And I fell in love.
We checked into our room at The Castle Inn and I went a little bit giddy about having a four poster bed…
And I also decided we needed these exact tiles in our bathroom at home…
Call me an exhibitionist but I LOVE a big window in a bathroom
Then it was time to head out and explore…
This didn’t take long – there’s only a short row of houses, a tea room, a pub and a church – but it was delightful to stroll about in the chilly January sunshine and to pretend to have done enough hard graft to have earned jacket potatoes the size of our heads at The White Hart.
This 14th Century pub had roaring fires and a great big golden lab to stroke (she was a local’s dog as opposed to an Official Pub Dog, I cannot guarantee she is always present for cuddles) and there was good football chat to be found at the bar, so we were very happy.
We dozed in the afternoon, then headed down to the hotel restaurant for drinks and dinner. Sat once again by an open fire, our meal was very good – I was overly excited to see a noodle dish as one of the vegetarian options and went all in for this, almost wanting to write a note to the chef in my leftover soy thanking them for offering something that’s not risotto. I opted for sticky toffee pudding for dessert (as I always will, if it’s there to be chosen) and I could have happily bathed in its sweet sauce.
After a sound night’s sleep, we awoke to horses outside our window and a seductive siren song from the breakfast room downstairs.
The breakfast was GREAT (capital letters awarded as there was fried bread on the menu) and the pastries were the nicest we had over our three days away. (Ah yes, I didn’t mention that this deal prompted me to book another two hotels. Ahem).
Once we’d checked out, we snooped around the grounds of the fancy Manor House Hotel next door (I’ll be watching out for deals here!) and got back on the road to head to our next hotel in Cirencester.
I don’t know The Cotswolds very well at all, but if there’s a more charming place than Castle Combe then I’d (genuinely) like to know about it. We’ll definitely be coming back, heck we were on Zoopla looking at nearby houses before we left, and whilst I’m sure it can get pretty overrun come summertime it’s an amazing place to see. I felt as though I’d stepped back in time there and it’s easy to understand why it’s used as a film location; with no street lights or TV aerials you could easily pretend you’re in the 15th century as you wander around.
I’ll be blogging about our Cirencester stay tomorrow, so for a more modern take on all things Cotswolds come back to read that one 🙂
You can find more info about Castle Combe on the village website here. Details and rates for The Castle Inn (as well as some properly gorgeous pics of the area) are here. As mentioned before we booked on Secret Escapes which made the B&B rate £100 for an exec room and I highly recommend Secret Escapes for nights away like this. This isn’t sponsored, discounted or PR-ified in anyway (is PR-ified a word?), I just really do love Secret Escapes as every trip we’ve booked with them has been a triumphant success.