You would be forgiven for thinking you recognise a lot of Lacock, it features as heavily in period dramas as heaving bosoms and crinolines. The Abbey Cloisters above has been in many a Harry Potter film, and recent adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Wolf Hall were filmed in the Abbey itself. It is only when you wander the village that it dawns on you that there are no yellow lines, no street lights and no satellite dishes. For a reason. This village just off the M4 in Wiltshire is all owned by the National Trust and whilst you will need to use your National Trust card (or pay) to enter the Abbey, you are free to wander the village for free.
We stopped off here on our way to Bath and spent a good few hours wandering, taking photographs and eating lunch in one of the pubs. If you do wander around you will also soon learn that the villagers are an enterprising bunch, with stalls at the end of the drives selling everything from home made dog biscuits to shoes their children have grown out of. There was home made bunting and home grown veg, books and Harry Potter related treats all accompanied by signs asking that money be put through the letter box. There is also a well stocked village shop and a fabulous bakery that also sells the famous Lacock dairy ice cream.
The Abbey itself used to be a nunnery and has a fascinating history, especially if, like us, you are keen photographers. Before being handed over to the National Trust it was owned by the Fox Talbot family, a name that might not be familiar if you dont know about William Henry Fox Talbot who is widely credited with being the inventor of photography.
This is the latticed window where, in 1835, he stood to take a photograph that many believe is the oldest existing camera negative. It is truly astonishing to be able to stand there now and take a snap on a phone that I pulled out of my pocket. Truly blows my mind.
There is a camera obscura in the grounds too that you are able to step inside, great for kids to see the image inverted yet in full colour, we could have stayed in there for hours had it not been a tad warm!
So in honour of the fact Lacock is famous for its buildings and photography here are some more, and if you want more information then nip over to the National Trust site for all the info. There is also a wonderful museum in the National Trust entrance dedicated to cameras, photography and Fox Talbot that is well worth allowing time for before you then go onwards into the Abbey grounds.
Oh and there is no parking in the village, but there is a huge National Trust car park that is free if you are a member (just scan your card to get a ticket for your windscreen). If you are not a member you will need coins though as they dont accept contactless, though you can use the PayByPhone app if you have it. It is £4.50. Sadly all the confused people we saw in the carpark appeared to have every other parking app but that one so definitely go prepared!
The post code for it is SN15 2LG
Recognise this as Harry’s parents house in the Harry Potter films?
We loved Lacock, despite knowing nothing about it until we saw it on the VisitBath website and thinking it would be the ideal place for lunch on our way to Bath. Definitely worth a visit and why not make a weekend of it by doing what we did and continuing on to Bath for a stay in the Hotel Indigo Bath?