As we walked through the cobbled streets of Lacock I had to rub my eyes and ask ‘Am I still in the 21st century?’ Lacock is a timeless, traditional English village that looks like it has just stepped out of medieval times. Or the pages of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. This National Trust village is – as you would expect – perfectly preserved, with a wealth of centuries-old buildings and period features.
Set in rural Wiltshire, Lacock village is famous for its picturesque streets, historic buildings and for its use in the Harry Potter films.
Nothing is allowed to interfere with its looks, not even TV aerials or overhead cables. No wonder, then, that it’s the star of many movies and period dramas, including the adventures of a certain wizard from Hogwarts School.
Lacock doesn’t need to dress up for the occasion. All it has to do is be itself. And in doing so it extends a unique welcome as one of the most picturesque villages on the planet. The village is home to beautiful Lacock Abbey and the famous Fox Talbot photography museum.
We wandered through the historic village filled with many great shops and places to have a relaxing meal. As we wandered around those ancient streets we discovered a mixture of period buildings ranging from black-and-white half-timbered to Georgian brick and honey-coloured Cotswold stone, 15th-century inns, and an ancient church.
Our first official stop was at the FoxTalbotMuseum.
The museum celebrates the achievements of former Lacock resident, William Henry Fox Talbot, famous for his contributions to the invention of photography.
The Abbey, located at the heart of the village within its own woodland grounds was founded in the 13th century and dissolved in 1539. The house eventually passed to the Talbot family. It is most often associated with William Henry Fox Talbot. In 1835 Talbot made the earliest known surviving example of a photographic negative, a photogenic print of the oriel window in the south gallery of the Abbey. Talbot continued with his experiments at the Abbey and by 1840 had discovered the negative/positive process to record photographic images by chemical means.
It is a quirky country house of various architectural styles. The Abbey is actually built upon the foundations of a former nunnery. Walking through the medieval rooms and cloister court, gave me a small taste of the Abbey’s monastic past.
Some interior sequences in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets were filmed at Lacock, including the cloister walk where Harry comes out from Professor Lockhart’s room after serving detention and hears the basilisk. During four days in October 2007 Lacock was also used to film some scenes for the sixth Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Warner Bros. announced that the spooky nights of Hogwarts were also filmed here with most of the main characters including Daniel Radcliffe.