Planning a trip to England? Skip the big cities and head to the countryside to admire rolling fields, vast woodlands and an abundance of picturesque villages that are just waiting to be explored. Here are six of the prettiest villages in England, all of them boasting cute cottages, traditional pubs and endless walking trails.
Located in the New Forest, Brockenhurst is frequently named one of the most desirable places to live in the U.K., thanks to its picturesque beauty. If you’re looking for a quintessentially British village with tranquil rivers, cottages covered in wisteria and surrounded by rolling green hills, this is it. In the winter, there are plenty of traditional pubs with cosy open fires, and when summer comes along, the locals head to their favourite secret swimming spot on the river.
Probably the most famous village in the Cotswolds (a region known for its pretty, traditional villages), Castle Combe resembles a postcard of what visitors expect England to look like. Ancient stone cottages line the banks of the Bybrook River and spread out into the town, many of them adorned with flowers either creeping up their walls or filling pots outside their front doors. The town has been used as a location in several films, and the locals have cottoned on to the increasing tourism, many of them now selling bunches of flowers or homemade cakes outside their homes.
Cornwall is full of pretty little villages, but Polperro has got to be one of the most scenic. Known for its seafood and its past as a smuggling hotspot, the village attracts many visitors. Its traffic-free cobbled streets, small harbour and the surrounding hills make it a place that warrants staying for a few days to savour it all. There are plenty of small shops selling handmade items, quaint little cafes and cosy pubs to discover as you wander around the village taking photos and admiring the views.
Located in the heart of the Peak District, Eyam is most famous for its story in the time of the Bubonic Plague, when the villagers decided to quarantine themselves rather than risk spreading the disease. Visitors today will be distracted by the beautiful gardens that lie in front of the old stone cottages, filled with dazzling displays of flowers and ornaments. Several interesting walks loop through or around the town, allowing hikers to base themselves in the village while discovering the surrounding countryside.
Known to many as the home and resting place to poet William Wordsworth, Grasmere is also one of the Lake District’s most beautiful villages. The heart of the village is its frequently visited cemetery, and the traditional gingerbread shop that sits behind it, selling one of England’s most delicious sweet treats. Rolling green hills surround Grasmere, providing inspiration for those who prefer to stay in the village or a challenge for anyone keen for a hike.
Situated in the South Downs, this quaint little village is filled with traditional thatched-roof cottages with vibrant gardens. Visitors can walk along the River Arun, head further into the South Downs or choose to focus their visit on strolling around the village itself. The Black Horse is a favourite local pub, where guests can get cosy beside the fire in winter, and there’s also a small museum and local swampland to discover.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.