England’s Storybook Villages, Part I: Lacock

[February 2021. Please note: Always obey regulations regarding travel and covid-19 protocols. This post is intended as inspiration for a visit later, when travel is safe again.]

England is dotted with charming towns and villages, tucked in among the rolling hills and green fields of the countryside. But some of them, like Wiltshire’s Lacock village, truly feel like they’ve been lifted from the pages of a storybook.

Lacock (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

Located in the southwest of England, Lacock’s streets lined with traditional stone houses and timber-beamed buildings are popular among photographers and filmmakers; indeed, the village has played roles in period pieces and films, as its frozen-in-time aesthetic lends a believable historical and fantastical quality to them.

Lacock (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
Lacock (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

Lacock village is under the care and provision of the National Trust, England’s conservation charity dedicated to preserving historic sites, landscapes, and landmarks. Its name, according to their website, is derived from the Saxon word lacuc, for the little stream that cuts it way through one side of the village.

Getting There

Lacock is best-accessed by vehicle via the M4. Taking exit 17, follow the A350 until you reach the Hither Way car park. Alternatively, you can catch the train to Chippenham and then catch the Faresaver bus X34/Chippenham toward Frome.

The nooks and crannies of Lacock are best explored on foot; indeed, parking in the village, especially on a sunny day, is extremely limited, and you should not plan on being able to do this (It is important that you respect that Lacock is also a town in which people live.) Most visitors instead combine their visit to the village with a stop at Lacock Abbey, where you can park for a small fee at the aforementioned Hither Way car park and then wander down to town after exploring the abbey. Check here for a walking guide from the abbey to Lacock.

Lacock (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

What to See

Strolling through the village, you can’t miss the 15th century pub Sign of the Angel or the oft-photographed Lacock Bakery. It’s easy to marvel at the stone cottages, old church, and timber-beamed facades of this impossibly pretty place.

Lacock Bakery (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
The Sign of the Angel, Lacock (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

Keep an eye out for Bide Brook, the stream (lacuc) for which the village is named; on a rainy day, the ford floods completely and can render the road difficult to pass without some sturdy wellies.

Wrap up your tour for a half at the George Inn, Lacock’s oldest pub dating from the 14th century. There’s nothing like sitting by a fire in a medieval pub to really make you feel as though you’ve stepped onto a period piece’s set.

Lacock (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
Lacock (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
Lacock (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

What do you think is the most beautiful village in England? I’d love to know- leave a comment with your answer!

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