M4, Junction 17; 14 minutes
Vegetarian or vegan options
Castle Combe is criminally pretty, which is why it’s awash with tour groups and selfie sticks. Don’t be deterred; the beautiful sandstone village with appealing gabled houses (notice that TV aerials are banned) and an arched bridge spanning a river is worth the hype.
Few places are more welcoming for a recharge than the Old Stables Coffee Shop, just off the main street. It’s a relaxed home from home: stone walls painted cream are hung with bright local art. Loaf around by the log burner, relax on the sofa with a paper or play with Twiglet and Bumble, the often-resident dogs.
Owners Philippa and Yasmin are laid back and hospitable – muddy boots, mucky dogs, sweaty cyclists, even ponies are ushered in. Food is flavourful and most of it comes from within a few miles of the door. Bacon rolls and excellent coffee for breakfast, paninis and coronation chicken sandwiches for lunch. Tempting cakes are freshly baked each day – maybe a bakewell slice, orange, honey and rosemary loaf or gingerbread muffin.