A couple of months ago, I visited Wiltshire on holiday and decided to stay at the lovely village of Lacock for a couple of days. The key museum highlight of the village is of course Lacock Abbey and the Fox and Talbot museum, which I have shared in a separate post. In this post, I am focusing on the special highlights of my stay in the village and my morning walks around the village.
Each morning, I woke up to a view of a private garden that I had labelled the secret garden. I would have loved to explore that garden, if I had had the permission of its owner.
After making myself a hot cup of tea, I would go out for my much treasured morning walks, exploring the village without a soul in sight. The village is tiny with just four main streets in a grid like pattern, so I invariably ended up walking around several times during my stay.
The medieval village of Lacock was built around St. Cyriac’s chuch. The base of the current church was built in the 11th century, though there has been renovations made across the centuries.
Close to the church is King John’s hunting lodge, said to have been used by the King when hunting in the Melksham forest that surrounded the village then. The 13th century hunting lodge, which still has some of its original beam structure, is now a tea room. It was closed for renovations during my visit.
I took the tiny street near the church, leading towards Nethercote hill, and came upon the packhorse bridge over Bide brook. The packhorse bridge was the first bridge of its kind that I had seen. So, while I guessed that the path leading into and out of the brook was for carts carrying market goods, I had to read about it to learn that it had been used for packhorses during the wool trade heydays of the village.
Instead of continuing down Nethercote hill or taking the Lover’s walk footpath trail, I turned back and walked back along Church street. I passed Lacock bakery, which I had visited during the afternoon of the previous day to indulge in a sweet pastry.
Near the end of Church street, close to the main road, I came upon the Sign of the Angel, which had been a 15th century inn and was now a restaurant with rooms to board. Later in the day, when I was walking along the street, I saw tour groups gathering outside the inn and the tour leader was referencing Harry Potter so I guess this place must have been one of the many places in Lacock that was used in the movie. I was more interested in the fact that the village was used to depict Meryton village in Pride and Prejudice (the 1995 BBC miniseries).
From the corner of Church street and West Street, it was lovely to see my rooms above Quintessentially English and I wished that the cars had not been parked on the road, so I could imagine that I had traveled back in time.
Walking along West Street, I passed George Inn, which had been highly recommended for their food by Ollie and where I had planned to have one of my dinners but never did get around to it. George Inn has continued to be a bustling inn since it obtained its license in 1361.
Turning on to High Street, I passed the National Trust shop and Red Lion inn.
While I did not try out all three main inns in Lacock as I had originally planned to, I did have a lovely meal at the Red Lion. I am a fan of the chunky chips that is served in England.
Opposite Red Lion, at the start of East Street was the medieval tithe barn. This was the place where taxes was collected in the form of 10% of farm produce.
At one end of the barn was a small holding cell, which had been used to hold people overnight, who had too much to drink.
The next door village hall is used for community events.
Returning to High Street and walking further in the direction of the abbey, one passes the playing field managed by the Lacock Parish council.
The High Street curves around the low walls and perimeter fence of the abbey grounds and onto Hither Way. I enjoyed my views of Lacock Abbey and its grounds, from the road.
I walked up to the Wharf and Lacock bridge. This bridge has been in use since the 14th century and I read that it is sometimes inaccessible due to floods.
I became fond of the little village from my morning walk explorations during the two days that I stayed there and would highly recommend an overnight stay or more, rather than a day trip to the village. It adds to the experience of exploring Lacock Abbey.
A special highlight of my stay in the village was my accommodation. From the moment I saw Snoozums on AirBnB, I knew I had to stay there when I visited Lacock. Fortunately, the place was available on the days I planned to visit and it was right in the heart of the village, above a shop opposite the bus stop.
Quintessentially English is a delightful shop that Jacqui Sheard founded, so that she could make her passion for crafting handmade organic soaps her profession. The lovely scents of different bath products greeted me as I entered the shop upon arrival. I was soon ushered next door and up the stairs, to Snoozums, the apartment I would be staying at.
It was a lovely space with a living area, cosy bedroom and a private bathroom. Jacqui left a huge breakfast basket for me as well as some of the bath product goodies in the welcome tray.
In addition to my delight at staying at the cosy and comfortable apartment in a historic building, I enjoyed interacting with Jacqui and her husband, David. I also enjoyed helping Ollie with packing some of their Christmas orders and learnt about different bath products, in the process. Jacqui was very generous that she gave me an extra night’s stay free of cost, for helping them out with the Christmas orders, and dropped me at Chippenham for my onward journey at the end of my stay.