The enduring Costwolds magic of The Manor House

The Manor House Golf Club
The Manor House sits in the breathtaking Cotswolds. Credit: Kevin Murray Photography

If you’ve watched the Harry Potter films, War Horse or Downtown Abbey (and I’d imagine the chances of encountering someone who hasn’t seen any of those are pretty slim) you will recognise the picturesque Cotswolds village of Castle Combe the instant you wander down its charming High Street.

Make a right turn as soon as you cross the babbling River Bybrook, which dissects the village, and you’ll encounter The Manor House, a breathtaking retreat nestled amongst rolling Cotswold hills and beautifully manicured gardens. The 14th-century building which acts as the main part of the hotel is visually arresting from the very first moment you lay eyes on it and sweep down the driveway.

Manor House Golf Club Castle Combe
Castle Combe is one of England’s most picturesque villages. Credit: Angela Ward-Brown

Inside it ticks all the boxes you’d expect; panelled walls, deep pile rugs, roaring fires, and a clear attention to detail when it comes to décor. We’re staying in one of the quaint cottages just a stone’s throw from the main house. Again, it’s superbly furnished, comfortable and cosy yet spacious. A plush dog bed sits in the corner of the room, with a bag of treats and fluffy toy perched atop it. Our cockapoo Twix, our third wheel for the night, looks very satisfied indeed.

A wonderful test of golf

The award-winning golf course which accompanies the hotel is worth the trip down to Wiltshire alone. If stunning views and dramatic backdrops are your bag, you’re in for a treat. No two holes are the same, and its tree-lined fairways, changes in elevation and spectacular green complexes provide a unique golfing challenge.

The Manor House Golf Club
The Championship Course was designed by Peter Alliss and Clive Clark. Credit: Kevin Murray

You know you’re in for a special few hours just standing on the 1st tee, overlooking a waterfall and with a tee shot awaiting you over an ancient mott and bailey fortification. A decent drive leaves you a flick into the green. Take your par and head off to the 2nd which is really where the jaw-dropping beauty begins; a par-3 played from an elevated tee down into a valley and a green hugged by the brook.

Three of the next five holes are par 5s, so make sure the big stick is behaving if your aim is to go low around the Manor House. Doglegs in either direction, strategically placed bunkers and no shortage of water require a bit of creativity and inventiveness, before you reach the 8th, a shortish par-4 played from on top of the hillside down towards a green which sits invitingly, temptingly below you.

The Manor House Golf Club
The Manor House is nestled in 365 acres of rolling countryside. Credit: Kevin Murray

A back nine to savour

Be sure to stop off at the halfway house before you begin your back nine, where again, each hole has its own character and charm. The 12th is one of the most breathtaking par-5s you’re ever likely to play, doglegging across the valley with just a lone tree which sits in the middle of the fairway, heavy rough, the river, a lake, and bunkers aplenty to navigate before you reach a devilish, sloping, upturned saucer of a green. I lipped out for birdie but ran to the 13th absolutely cock-a-hoop with a par!

The Manor House Hotel
The beauty of The Manor House Hotel speaks for itself. Credit: Angela Ward-Brown

It’s hard to put down in adequate words just how much of a treat the last few holes are. You walk off each green and head to the next tee thinking ‘well surely the next one can’t be as pretty as this one was’, only to be surprised time and time again.

The 17th is perhaps the course’s signature hole, an awe-inspiring little par-3 which drops down 120 feet to two greens which offer variation and play very differently; one is guarded by the river to the left and the front, the other has trouble lurking all over the back. The 18th is a gorgeous finishing hole, a par-4 with a heavily bunkered green awaiting a well-struck approach. After a hugely enjoyable and tremendously fun few hours, settle into the comfort of the clubhouse for a well-earned pint and either lick your wounds or bask in the afterglow of a good round.

The Manor House Castle Inn
The Castle Inn sits in the village of Castle Comb. Credit: Angela Ward-Brown

Historic hotel with bags of charm

Back at the hotel, there’s just enough time to explore the Italian gardens, have a wander around the market gardens where the Manor House grows its own produce, enjoy a game of croquet on the lawns and have a cocktail sundowner on the terrace, looking out over the forest, before heading out to dinner at The Castle Inn, a warm and welcoming gastropub in the centre of the village but attached to the hotel. The menu is varied and will have you salivating just reading it, the food itself is absolutely top-notch and the waiting staff are incredibly friendly and will bend over backwards to make your evening as special as possible. We leave with tummies full, and memories of a fantastic day.

The Manor House is, quite simply, idyllic. A little paradise carved out of the Castle Combe valley, the perfect little spot for a getaway where you’re guaranteed to be extremely well looked-after and leave happy and reenergised. Its golf course is unique; visually-arresting, undulating and fun from start to finish. Even if your golf absolutely stinks on the day you happen to visit, just enjoy the views! The setting could not be more stunning. It’s hardly a surprise they settled on Castle Combe as the ideal location to film Harry Potter. After all, there’s certainly something magic in the air.

*For more information about The Manor House or to book a stay visit Exclusive.co.uk/The-Manor-House
*Jamie Weir was a guest of The Manor House

The Manor House Hotel and Golf Club
The food at the clubhouse will not disappoint. Credit: Angela Ward-Brown

The Manor House Golf Club scorecard

The Manor Golf Club Scorecard

The Manor House Golf Club: Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Where is The Manor House Golf Club and Hotel located?

This idyllic 14th-century retreat is nestled in the picturesque Cotswolds village of Castle Combe in Wiltshire.

Who designed the Championship Course at The Manor House Golf Club?

The Championship Course at The Manor House Golf Club was designed by the legendary BBC Commentator Peter Alliss alongside Clive Clark and opened for play in 1992. The course is flanked by mature oak and beech trees which line the fairways while the River Bybrook meanders through the course. It’s a stunning setting.

How much are green fees at The Manor House Golf Club? 

Green fees at The Manor House Golf Club will vary depending on the time of year and the day of the week, but visitors are welcomed as are members’ guests while residents of The Manor House Hotel also receive preferential green fees. For the very latest green fees at The Manor House Golf Club click here.

Are there stay and play deals at The Manor House Golf Club?

There some excellent stay and play golf breaks on offer at The Manor House Golf Club, with the option to stay at the luxurious 14th century Manor House Hotel, book a room in the cosy village pub The Castle Inn, or stay in the quaint Waterfall Lodge overlooking the 18th green. For the best deals for The Manor House Golf Club click here.

What about the halfway hut at The Manor House Golf Club?

The Manor House Golf Club may well have one of the finest halfway huts in England with some fantastic hot and cold food and drinks served out of  of a converted Airstream trailer close to the starter’s hut.

Jamie has become a well-known face and voice to golf fans across the world in his role as reporter, presenter and golf correspondent with Sky Sports. The proud Northern Irishman, who has travelled the world interviewing the biggest names in the game at the majors and Ryder Cup, is a dedicated family man and loves new adventures.

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