My first thought upon entering the village of Lacock in Wiltshire was: how can a place this quaint and beautiful exist?
Glancing up the street at the row of perfect period houses, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d accidentally stepped back in time about 200 years. Without a telephone wire or satellite in site, the cars parked outside the houses are the only sign betraying its modernity – which explains why it has been used as a filming location for several period dramas throughout the years.
One such period drama is the 1995 BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice – which, as you well know, is my all-time-favourite Jane Austen adaptation. The village of Lacock became Meryton for this adaptation, and I was so excited to stand outside the Red Lion inn which featured as the Meryton Assembly Rooms – the very location in which Lizzie and Darcy meet for the first time!
Lacock is not only suited for period dramas, but also for films of a more magical nature. At the end of a narrow lane just beside the church is the house of James and Lily Potter in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and at the other end of the village is Horace Slughorn’s house from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
The crowning glory of the village is the glorious Lacock Abbey, which also featured in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. But even without the fame garnered through its use as a filming location, the Abbey’s previous inhabitants boasted their own impressive achievements.
William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) was a scientist and inventor. There are traces of his academic interests scattered throughout the house, from the shelves upon shelves of books covering a wide range of genres and topics, to the telescopes in his study which spoke to the astronomy nerd in me.
Another interest of Talbot’s was photography: in 1835 he took a photographic camera negative of a window’s interior in the abbey’s south gallery, which is thought to be the earliest surviving image of its kind.
All in all, Lacock is a breathtakingly beautiful village, brimming with history at every turn. Whether you enjoy gushing over quaint period properties, or visiting filming locations from your favourite TV shows and films, Lacock is definitely worth a visit.