Lacock Village In The Cotswolds: A Visitor's Guide

You may not have heard of Lacock Village, but it’s highly likely you will have seen it.

Perfectly preserved for over 200 years, the medieval Wiltshire village is a go-to filming location for costume dramas and feature films, with its most famous appearances including Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, and several of the Harry Potter films.

An Ancient Village Just 10 Minutes (4 Miles) Drive From The King’s Arms

If walking in the footsteps of stars has left you in need of some A-list treatment, we recommend you head to the nearby King’s Arms. Enjoy some delicious food and sample some award-winning Butcombe beer before resting your head in one of the boutique bedrooms.

History Of Lacock Village

Lacock Village is believed to have begun life as a Saxon settlement – its name originating from the word ‘lacuc’ meaning ‘little stream’, in reference to Bide Brook which runs through the village.

In 1232, Lacock Abbey was founded on the village’s manorial lands by Ela, Countess of Salisbury, and thanks to her efforts, the village was granted a market and developed a thriving woolen industry throughout the Middle Ages.

Today, Lacock is owned by the National Trust, who preserve the village’s buildings which all date between the 13th and 18th century. Despite being a tourist attraction, Lacock remains a living, breathing village with most of its houses rented out to people whose families have lived there for several generations.

What To See At Lacock Village

There are lots of preserved buildings to discover at Lacock Village, such as a 14th century Tithe Barn, the medieval St Cyriac’s Church, and an 18th century village lock-up, once used to temporarily detain local drunks and people awaiting trial!

Visitors can also explore the village’s local shopping scene, which includes quaint antique, chocolate and soap shops as well as a bakery and pottery.

The wonderful Lacock Abbey is also a must-see with its fascinating mish-mash of architectural styles, its photography museum dedicated to former resident and photography pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot, and its beautiful wooded grounds.

Lacock Village On Screen

With its streets devoid of modern giveaways like satellite dishes and power lines, and its historical heritage kept alive thanks to the National Trust, Lacock Village is a magnet for film crews hunting for authentic backdrops.

For a price, the village’s streets can be emptied of cars and transformed into the era of choice, with many of the locals happy to step in as extras for visiting productions!

Lacock Village and Harry Potter

Of all the productions that have passed through Lacock over the years, perhaps none is better known than Harry Potter, making the village a site of pilgrimage for many die-hard Potterheads around the world. Must-see filming locations include:

  • Harry Potter’s parents’ house (found at the end of Church Street), glimpsed briefly during the flashback scene in the Philosopher’s Stone when Hagrid is explaining to Harry how his parents were killed
  • Horace Slughorn’s hideaway (found along Cantax Hill), seen at the start of the Half-Blood Prince when Dumbledore whisks Harry away to Budleigh Babberton to convince the professor to return to Hogwarts
  • Budleigh Babberton – just after Dumbledore and Harry have successfully convinced Slughorn to come back to Hogwarts in the Half-Blood Prince, they stroll down the streets of Budleigh Babberton (aka Church Street), and apparate at the end of one road (the intersection between Church Street and Cantax Hill).
Lacock Village and Downton Abbey

Lacock Village has starred not once, but twice in Downton Abbey. In 2015 the period drama’s crew transformed one of the village’s streets into a 1920s livestock market, with sheep, pigs and a 1-tonne long-horned bull joining the cast to create a bustling market scene attended by Lord Grantham, his family and many of the staff.

In 2018 the crew returned to the village to shoot scenes for the much-anticipated Downton Abbey movie, with its streets setting the scene for a spectacular royal parade which featured real-life Lacock residents dressed in period-accurate costumes!

Lacock Village And Pride And Prejudice

Lacock stood in as Meryton for the 1995 BBC series of Pride and Prejudice, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. It was in the village that the Bennet girls, in particular Lydia and Kitty, “whose minds were more vacant than their sisters”, shopped for bonnets, sought the latest gossip from their Aunt Philips, and hoped to attract the attention of the officers – in particular a certain Mr Wickham.

Directions To The King's Arms From Lacock Village

The King’s Arms is an 18th century pub and inn, located in the heart of Melksham.

To reach The King’s Arms from Lacock National Trust Car Park, you must first head westerly towards Hither Way and, upon reaching the roundabout, take the first exit onto Melksham Road.

Take a slight left onto the A350 and continue for approximately 3 miles before exiting onto the A3102. Continue towards Market Place via High Street and you will see The King’s Arms on your left.