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Picture-perfect Cotswolds stay at Manor House Castle Combe

This luxury hotel in Wiltshire has 365 acres to explore, including its own golf course, bee hives and village pub

by Sarah Bridge
Manor House castle combe

A stay at Manor House

If your idea of a perfect summer’s day is afternoon tea (or a gin and tonic) on a beautiful lawn in the sunshine, The Manor House five-star hotel in the Cotswolds village of Castle Combe, Wiltshire, is the place to be.

manor house castle combe and river in the sunshine

The Manor House in the heart of the pretty Cotswolds village of Castle Combe is set in beautiful gardens

The Manor House Hotel is surrounded by beautiful lawns, the Bybrook river and there’s even a golf course on the other side of the hotel. You can immerse yourself in the Sunday papers (or even a game of lawn chess) with nothing to disturb you but the gentle chirp of birdsong, the splash from the herons fishing in the stream running through the grounds and occasionally someone coming to ask if you’d like something more to eat or drink.

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the manor house castle combe exterior

The Manor House was built in the 14th century to replace a Norman castle and former inhabitants include Sir John Falstaff who was immortalised by Shakespeare in Henry IV. The Manor House was sold in 1947 and has been a hotel ever since

Manor House location

A circle of little hills wraps around The Manor House’s 365 acres, making the hotel feel cosy and protected from the outside world. Little seems to have changed here for centuries. The same can be said of the village of Castle Combe itself, a vision in pale Cotswold stone. From the stone bridge over the babbling brook at the bottom of the village to the 14th century market cross at the top, Castle Combe looks as if it has come straight out of a Cotswold calendar or the lid of a box of chocolates.

Wiltshire village of Castle Combe

The Wiltshire village of Castle Combe has remained unchanged over the centuries and is a hit with tourists and film makers alike

If it seems familiar, that’s because it is: Castle Combe has been the setting for a host of films and TV series, from Doctor Dolittle and War Horse  to Doctor Thorne and most recently the hugely popular Japanese anime series Kiniro Mosaic, also known as Kinmoza.

Book The Manor House on Booking.com

Visit The Manor House on Tripadvisor

The grounds of The Manor House itself circle the village like a warm embrace, with its driveway sweeping from its gates at the southerly end of Castle Combe village to the lawns in front of the hotel, past an ornate Italian garden and a row of workers’ cottages (now converted into bedrooms) before emerging at the top of the village.

workers' cottages on the estate of manor house castle combe

Beautiful workers’ cottages on the estate are now bedrooms and suites, just a few moment’s walk from the main house

the manor house castle combe front entrance

Just to the right of The Manor House are some ornate Italian-style gardens and the kitchen gardens which supply the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant

Manor House's lawns

The Manor House’s lawns are the perfect spot for afternoon tea (or a cocktail or two)

Manor House bedrooms

We were first given a room right in the eaves of the hotel with a high ceiling, wooden timbers and sloping roof. It looked like a grand, classical room but still had all the modern luxuries of three TVs (one disguised as a mirror), roll-top bath, walk-in shower, Smart TV, brand new £300 Dyson Supersonic hairdryer and iPad detailing the hotel’s many charms as well as free wifi throughout.

double bedroom at manor house castle combe

Our room at the very top of the hotel

However a swarm of honey bees took up residence outside just after our arrival and soon a constant stream of little buzzing scout bees were coming through the walls in search of a new home.

Thankfully after receiving my panicked phone call to reception the hotel sprang into action and relocated us to an even better room by the front of the hotel overlooking the lawns. After dinner we found two jars of the hotel’s own honey in our room with an apologetic note from the bees. Top marks for customer service!

bedroom with sleigh bed at the manor house castle combe

Our second room, right at the front of the hotel (and thankfully without any little honey bees)

honey from Manor House bees

The bees were kind enough to leave us an apologetic note though…

Bybook restaurant at The Manor House

Service was equally good on the lawn for a pre-dinner drink in the beautiful evening sun and then it was time for dinner at The Manor House’s restaurant, The Bybrook, named after the stream running through the grounds.

As you’d expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant, there was a host of little treats between the courses, including chicken liver parfait with fig chutney and onion espuma with pork belly. The dishes themselves were works of art, from starters of salmon confit and scallops to the mains of halibut with samphire, cockles and mussels, and fillet of beef with braised ribs and wild garlic.

Orkney hand-dived scallops

Orkney hand-dived scallops with smoked river test eel and sea vegetables

Fillet of beef with braised ribs and wild garlic

Fillet of beef with braised ribs and wild garlic

Buttermilk panna cotta topped with a salad of wild strawberries

Buttermilk panna cotta topped with a salad of wild strawberries

We were far too full to try the impressive-looking cheese selection and when the coffee arrived with a cake stand of petit fours it was with some relief that we remembered that our room was just a few steps away. However guests with more stamina (or who’d maybe eaten less food than us) were heading to the little bar for a nightcap.

The Manor House breakfast

Breakfast the next morning was an excellent combination of continental and cooked (although I was surprised that the honey on offer wasn’t the hotel’s own) and after such a weekend’s indulgence the Italian gardens overlooking the hotel and woods surrounding the golf course at the back of the hotel were the perfect places for a lengthy summer’s morning walk.

the manor house castle combe bridge over bybrook rvier

The hotel’s golf course and surrounding woods were a great place for a post-breakfast stroll

We finished our perambulations back in Castle Combe village and its beautiful church, St Andrew’s. Its 15th century clock is one of the earliest working clocks in England and we arrived by chance just before midday so we got the maximum benefit of its chimes.

Church of St Andrew's in Castle Combe

Inside the beautiful church of St Andrew’s in Castle Combe. Its 15th century clock is one of the earliest working clocks in England

It was with some reluctance that we returned to The Manor House to pick up my little yellow car for the drive home – but the calmness from my stay at The Manor House hotel lasted all the way home along the M4 – quite an achievement!

yellow fiat at the manor house castle combe

My little yellow Fiat was rather reluctant to leave The Manor House…

Hotel information and book The Manor House Castle Combe

The Manor House
Castle Combe,
Wiltshire SN14 7HX

Book The Manor House on Booking.com

Visit The Manor House on Tripadvisor

The Manor House is part of the Exclusive Hotels group. Other hotels in the group include: A luxury spa hotel stay in West Sussex at South Lodge; A stunning spa fit for the England rugby team at Pennyhill Park, Surrey; Lainston House hotel, Winchester: a delightful Autumn stay

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