A short drive from my house is the beautiful village of Lacock, Wiltshire (pronounced lay-cock), which has become a regular stop for us when we have friends come to stay, or we just want to go somewhere pretty for a slow Sunday walk.
Why you should visit Lacock, Wiltshire
Wholly owned by the National Trust, Lacock, is a quintessentially ‘ye olde’ English village that has the appearance of being stuck in time. Over 200 properties in the village are listed, so as you wander the high street you’re greeted by a higgledy-piggledy collection of houses ranging from the 18th century to as far back as medieval times.
The lack of street lights and road markings just add to the feeling that you’ve stepped back into a period drama, so it’s easy to understand why the village has been chosen as the backdrop for shows such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Cranford, Moll Flanders and Downton Abbey. A few years ago Top Gear even came to the village, where James May attempted to do a three point turn in a small side street in a double-decker bus. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a simple task to complete!
Lacock and Harry Potter
Of all the things filmed in Lacock, the most famous has to be Harry Potter. Scenes from both the ‘Chamber of Secrets and the ‘Half-blood Prince were filmed here, with the Abbey Cloisters turned into interiors at Hogwarts and one of the village’s houses used as the home of James and Lily Potter in Godric’s Hollow, where they were murdered by the evil Voldemort.
The main village is a treasure to explore and a photographer’s paradise – every corner hides another architectural gem, including a 14th century Tithe Barn. Perfect for a spring or summer stroll, if the English weather does get the best of you don’t worry – there’s a number of wonderful old English pubs and teahouses to keep you warm and dry. You couldn’t find a better location for a classic cream tea or a Sunday roast! One of my favourites to visit has to be The Bell, found on the outskirts of the village, which makes a mean steak and some of the best chunky chips!
Independent shops and artisan chocolatiers
Lacock also provides something for shoppers. Who needs a modern mall when you can peruse a number of wonderful independent local stores selling everything from vintage homeware and jewellery through to gifts made from local produce. My favourite shop to visit has to be the artisan chocolatiers Coco Chemistry, which makes the most amazing salted caramel chocolate spread.
Lacock Abbey and the Fox Talbot Museum
You can easily while away a few hours exploring Lacock village, however you don’t want to miss out Lacock Abbey. Its grounds, often filled with grazing sheep, have become a hub for local dog walkers, but in their centre is the gorgeous Abbey, built on the foundations of a former 13th century nunnery. As you walk through the cloisters, before heading into the main building, you can see how the country house grew and evolved through its various architectural styles as you learn about its owners, which included the Fox Talbot family.
Close to the entrance of Lacock Abbey, the Fox Talbot Museum celebrates the invention of photography and former Abbey owner William Henry Fox Talbot’s role in its development. He created the first ever photographic negative in 1835 here, taken of a small window at his home.
I moved to the South West from Bedfordshire eight years ago and continue to find new places to explore, yet time and time again I continue to find myself returning to Lacock. No matter how many times you come it never loses it wonder and magic, and it’s one of my favourite places to go to with visiting friends and family, or just to grab a scone on a lovely sunny day. If you’re heading down this way, perhaps for a visit to Bath or Bristol, why not save some time to get out of the city and take a trip into the past at Lacock?