Back in April, Dan organised a surprise trip to Lacock. I love discovering new places and in the South West, we’re absolutely spoilt when it comes to natural wonders and cultural gems.
Along the canal
Surprisingly, I had never heard of Lacock before but I knew I was in for a treat from the moment our adventure started. We stayed in an AirbnB in Chippenham which Dan had chosen for its proximity to a walking route along the Wilts and Berk Canal, witch led straight to our destination. The weather had been wet and the overcast sky gave the landscape an air of mystery. It was particularly striking around the picturesque Reybridge village and its thatched roofs where I couldn’t resist trying to capture the light and reflexions in puddles.
Arriving in the streets of Lacock village is like walking into a living postcard. With houses dating back to the 13th century, the tiny National Trust managed village is a joy for the eye and the Abbey is the jewel in the crown of this place steeped in history.
It started as a nunnery in 1229 on the orders of Ela, countess of Salisbury who was a formidable woman of her time, but in the 1440s it was destroyed during the dissolution of monasteries. In the 1500s it became the family home of a wealthy Tudor courtier who built the living quarters above the fabulous cloisters (used in a Harry Potter movie) which had remained, giving the house a unique mix of medieval and gothic aesthetic.
The Talbot Museum
The photography lovers amongst us will be particularly interested in the fact that the Abbey became the house of William Henry Fox Talbot who is seen as the pioneer of the art (unless like me, you happen to be French, and you’ll agree that it’s Louis Daguerre we owe everything to). The Abbey hosts the Talbot Museum where you can discover early cameras and Talbot’s first photograph which features one of Lacock’s window).
Although grand and richly decorated, we both thought that Lacock Abbey had a very homely feel to it and we were particularly touched when we visited the bedroom of Matilda, the last occupant of the house. An adventurous lady who loved travels and foreign languages, she took great care of the property before giving it to the National Trust.
The estate offers beautiful grounds, and we also loved discovering the Tudor courtyard and the bakehouse.
We finished our visit with the gorgeous greenhouses (where if you’re lucky you’ll be able to spot a sleepy cat) before heading out for a well deserved pint(s) at one of the quaint local pubs!