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14 SEPTEMBER 2020
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Castle Combe is one of the prettiest villages in the whole of England.
It has other claims to fame, a fine ‘club’ motor racing circuit and a superb hotel, The Manor House, set in magnificent rolling countryside just a short walk from the centre of the tiny community. You can also add to that a celebrated 6,500 yard par 72 championship golf course.
The Castle Coombe race track is a world away from the picturesque village after which it is named. It is a bleak but challenging airfield circuit.
The village was used as a backdrop for Spielberg’s War Horse and many other films.
Business Travel News reviewed Castle Coombe in October 2019, took lunch at the Manor House, and vowed to come back.
The end result was an overnight stay in glorious August, meeting the Covid-19 restrictions.
Back in the 1990s, when it was still a private house, it provided the perfect tranquil location for Margaret Thatcher to write her memoirs. Husband Dennis was a keen golf fan and probably visited the new course.
Arriving midday, it was a delightful light lunch on the patio, where we also took breakfast. Taking its name from the river that runs through the hotel grounds, The Bybrook Restaurant has won a Michelin Star for the last four years.
Starting on the negative side, whilst children are welcome there are no special facilities and plans for an indoor swimming pool are on hold for present. There are two tennis courts plus the golf course and golf clubhouse.
All the 21 country-style guest rooms in the main house are above ground floor level and there is no lift.
The grounds contain a lovely Italianate garden, spilling down from the hill behind the hotel.
We took dinner at the Castle Inn, Castle Combe, just by the Market Cross, and perhaps five minutes’ walk down the very pretty lane between mews cottages. They offer alternative accommodation to the Manor House, quieter and more private. All the same facilities including en suite and wi-fi. Dining can be provided. The 29 cottages, with their own front doors, give guests the experience of ‘living’ in an idyllic village. Two of the lodges provide ramp access for guests with disabilities. The inn itself has 12 en suite bedrooms, attractively priced.
The undulating landscape of the golf course provides some of the most challenging and breath-taking holes in the UK. Justin Rose, Olympic golf champion chose to get married at The Manor House in December 2006 and was back again for the christening of son Leo in 2009.
Situated on the southern edge of the Cotswolds, the Manor House Exclusive Golf Club is set magnificently in 365 acres of rolling countryside. Designed by Peter Alliss and Clive Clark and opened for play in 1992, mature oak and beech trees that line the magnificent fairways together with the immaculate greens, with the Bybrook meandering through the middle, bringing drama and beauty to this most challenging of courses.
If you are staying in the hotel and not really into golf there are 50 electric buggies available to tour the grounds. Just be careful. Just ask at reception. Normally no need to reserve.
For golfers you have two alternatives, both available as packages, either an overnight (or more) stay, taking a buggy and teeing off at the Clubhouse, or a direct drive to the centre of the golfing activities and missing The Manor House completely. This can be for private groups (depending on Covid-19) or, hopefully once again in the future, corporate outings.
The Clubhouse itself offers changing facilities and lockers, a bar for food and drink, and evening dining, plus a state-of-the-art gym. Corporate users can use a private suite for entertainment with a plasma screen to show the rolling leader board.
For company golf days there are endless branding facilities available including the aforesaid buggies dolled up in the house livery plus scoreboards, personalised golf balls, shirts and banners. PGA Professionals make the guests feel at home with a friendly welcome and run down of the day’s events. They can show how it should be done too. The caddy master is about all day to assist. A hearty breakfast of course to get the day going and up to an hour on the driving range is provided prior to the individual tee time.
There is a manicured putting green right in front of the clubhouse available for practise or a further competition after the round.
The Manor House, Castle Combe, Wiltshire, lies 8 miles from Junction 17 of the M4 and 15 miles north east of Bath.
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