Lacock Village, in the county of Wiltshire, UK, is largely owned by the National Trust. It's a pretty Cotwolds village that looks much as it did a couple of hundred years ago. Quaint is the word that instantly comes to mind. Peaceful is another - and it is peaceful, as long as there aren't hordes of other visitors milling about (coach parties often stop to visit so there can be quite a lot of people milling).
Quaint Little Village
The Cotswolds is full of quaint little villages, so what makes Lacock different from the others?
Well, there are no satellite dishes, television aerials or lamp posts on show, so you really can see what it was like hundreds of years ago. Lacock Abbey, a stately home, stands on the edge of the village. There's a rather wonderful old Tithe Barn - worth a visit for its quietly magnificent interior, but don't expect to spend more than a few minutes here. Lacock has also appeared in various TV series (Downton Abbey and Pride And Prejudice) and movies (Harry Potter) and that might excite some people more than it excites me.
It's worth noting that there are times when they close the village for filming and these dates are published on the Lacock page of the National Trust website.
Lacock has quite grand church for such a small village. The pointy steeple looks as though it was an afterthought - plonked on top of a good, solid square tower. The village has a handful of little shops and a couple of pubs. It's a pleasent place to wander around (think Aimless Wandering), especially on a sunny Spring day and especially with an ice cream in your hand.
Some of the little old cottages, especially those just beyond the very centre of the village, are almost too quaint for words; small windows, lichen-covered stonework and little walled gardens crammed with colourful plant life. The cottages themselves are half hidden by waterfalls of flowers, and you suspect that little old ladies drinking cups of tea and eating nothing but strawberry jam and scones live inside. They probably twitch the lace curtains and gossip about you as soon as you leave.
When you're walking round Lacock, a little imagination goes a long way. Round one corner you might bump into a mother with a bonnet and a perambulater. Round the next there might be a jolly red-cheeked policeman riding a bicycle. Perhaps a scoundrel or two linger outside the bakery, hoping to pilfer a cream bun. It's easy to imagine how it might have been a hundred or more years ago.
Lacock is also home to Lacock Abbey, whose history is tied to that of the village. Lacock Abbey is a National Trust property and you need to pay to go into it. Fox Talbot, the pioneer of photography, lived here and there's an interesting exhibition with some of his early photographs. In those days photography was laborious, experimental and scientific. These days it's all a bit different - we casually hold our mobile phones, one-handed, and click selfies while engaged in conversation. Photographs were art back then - cutting edge art. Now photographs are the raw material of social media - clicked one second, posted the next, and largely forgotten after that.
The reason to visit Lacock is to step back in time, to walk through a small English country village that has not been changed (on the outside, at least) by the modern electric age - and do it in a way that avoids the clinical way that history is sometimes presented in museums. Here, you walk at your own pace, you touch the stone walls. And with just a little effort you can imagine that you are walking through history. Also, the ice creams are rather good
Have you been to the village of Lacock in England? What did you think of it? What would you say to someone who asked you why they should visit it?
Rob has visited more than 50 countries. He's travelled with organised groups and independently. His travel photos have appeared in many publications and on many websites. His favourite meal is breakfast.