If you're visiting England, stopping by Lacock is the closet you'll get to hopping into a time machine and being transported back to the 1500s. The quiet village — which is frequently used as a filming location for movies — redefines "picturesque," with its half-timber homes and old brick buildings that are completely unspoiled and utterly authentic.
Because the National Trust owns almost the entire village, great care has been taken to ensure that the historic buildings and streets are preserved and appear just as they would have centuries ago. Frozen in time, the town has become a go-to set for directors and producers of period films and television shows. Most recently, "Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box," which will be released in 2013 and stars Michael Sheen, Lena Headey, and Sam Neill, was filmed in Lacock.
If you're staying in Bath or London and have some time to spare, there is no better place to spend your day than in this Wiltshire village that is literally picture perfect. Here's a look at some notable places you won't want to miss during your visit.
Lacock Abbey is best known as the filming location for several of the beloved Harry Potter films. The abbey's cloisters — easily recognizable by their arched ceilings and windows — were in some of the movies, and many of the smaller rooms were used as classrooms. Admission prices range from £8-12, depending on which areas you want to see, and information on opening times is on the abbey's website.
The Tithe Barn
Back in the 14th century, residents of Lacock Village would pay their rent in corn, hides or fleece, all of which were collected in the large Tithe Barn. Visitors might recognize this ancient structure and its distinctive interior ceiling beams from the icehouse scenes in the 2010 film "The Wolfman," which featured Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins.
The Red Lion
A popular inn, restaurant and pub, the Red Lion was transformed into a storefront for the popular BBC series "The Cranford Chronicles," starring Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins. Fans of the series will recognize the building's red brick and white windowpanes even without the transformation, and many of the adjacent houses were also used in filming. According to the Lion's website, staff members have appeared as extras in some of the shots!
The Sign of the Angel
Situated in the heart of the village, The Angel restaurant and inn dates back to the 15th century. From the centuries-old wood paneling to the stone steps worn with age, the Angel is a time capsule and an absolute must-see. Visible in the background of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" when Harry and Dumbledore arrive in Budleigh Babberton to find Slughorn, it's one of the oldest and most authentically preserved buildings in Lacock.
The Village Streets
Only in a village as old and beautiful as Lacock are the streets themselves an attraction. There's really no way to get lost, and the four main (really, the only) streets — East, West, Church and High — make an easily walkable square. It's also easy to recognize many of the building exteriors from such well-known films or series as "Pride and Prejudice" (1995), "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "Emma." The cottage used as the exterior of Slughorn's house in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" is just north of West and Church Streets.
by Zoe Bauer
Top: This view of East Street in the English village of Lacock shows the 14th century Tithe Barn at right. (Photo by Britain on View/Visit Britain)
Left: A vintage car in Lacock Village, England. (Photo by Britain on View/Visit Britain)