Castle Combe and Lacock Village from Bristol or Southampton

Quaint old English villages, untouched by time and used by movies such as Downton Abbey and Harry Potter. Castle Combe is five miles north of Chippenham. It and Lacock are just 16 miles apart and can both be easily seen in a day. Just 40 miles from the Port of Bristol and under 60 miles from Southampton, the trip is less than seeing a palace in St Petersburg or trying to reach Bangkok from the coast.

It is so odd that we ignore many gems in the UK, but maybe it is because there are simply too many to take on board. Stopping at Bristol offers a wonderful city, if not contrived by history. Bath has so much to offer from the Roman Baths to the wonderful Christmas market. But, the English villages and cloudy cider have a romance of their own. In this blog, we look at Castle Combe, which is near a motor race track and has a Spanish-type eventful golf course that needs to be done by buggy. The manor house is now a hotel and many of the cottages are own by the same group and are built into different combinations of family and group rooms as well as romantic double rooms.

The commission of ariels, satellite dishes, and above-ground cables does not mean it is ultra-modern and all-fiber connected, though time does have a strange way of bringing us back to basic. The roads are always a huge cover-up for a movie, the double yellow lines on tarmac and manhole covers, but the rest is a walk into a black hole, down a wormhole, and out into the past.

There was a small castle built at this location in the 12th-century, a walled enclave on a hill with a moat. These were called a motte and bailey castle. That was gone within about two hundred years, but the village is based on three roads around a 14th-century market cross.

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To obtain a magnet or postcard visit the church where there is a photographic memory of the movie shoot War Horse and one of the country’s oldest clocks. It is all shown in Jean’s excellent 4k video which looks wonderful on the big screen.

Lacock is a short journey. The national trust village has a manor house attached to the abbey and it is much larger but just as historic and original. The Fox Talbot family lived there, and he did a lot of scientific work, from fungus study to the British beginning of photography using silver nitrate and saltwater for fixing. 

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The National Trust offers other ‘nearby’ sites to explore. The stones at Avebury are just that, a circle of Druid-like stones best seen from the air the circle is so small. It is said to be far more significant than Stonehenge but from the ground possibly less impressive as it is difficult to take in as it is so spread out whereas the latter is contained. That journey took us nearly an hour and I didn’t feel the urge to use the camera, whereas, as a boy, I photographed Stonehenge on my Instamatic 104 until I ran out of film!


Cruise crime novels are a whole new experience. You may not have been to the ports in the novels, you certainly won’t have been to the parts of the ship they use. All the cruise crime novels will make you feel like you are in the adventure and on the ship – dodge the bullets and stay out of the romance. Ship and cruise accurate, the novels are a great way for new cruisers to discover a ship too. Please share the Amazon link with other cruisers.

Cruise Smuggled Blood Diamonds is out at the end of 2021. It is a full-on action crime mystery and a romance that you will not be expecting. Blood Diamonds sees the end of CSCI in that Ship is dropped from the agency title. It is the start of the shorter name for the agency, CCI CRUISE CRIME INVESTIGATORS. For those following the cruise novels, expect change.


You may have seen the author on a ship giving an after-dinner talk or perhaps in the theatre during the day. His page is here. Stuart St Paul – click here  




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