Britain’s beauty astounds me. From idyllic countryside to iconic cities, there’s no shortage of loveliness here. And the smaller places are some of my favorites when it comes to seeking out charm. If you feel the same, today I bring you 9 of the prettiest towns and villages in Britain.
Prettiest Towns and Villages in Britain
Each of these destinations has awed me from the moment I arrived. From storybook cottages to fairy-tale palaces, they feel like the stuff of dreams. Whether you’re looking for Georgian splendor or Cotswold stone, there’s a perfect place for you to discover.
Painswick is a Gloucestershire gem. This village in the Cotswolds is not only home to picture-pretty streets, but also a churchyard full of topiary yew trees. Add to that a Rococo garden and plenty of walking paths to explore, and it’s hard to find a more inspiring place.
Down in Sussex, Rye‘s tangle of streets and half-timbered houses make me feel like I’ve stepped back into medieval times. Ghost stories abound at the local pub and there’s even a castle to guard against the marauding French. Add to that Henry James’s house and garden, cottages with delightful names, and nearby beaches like Camber Sands, and this is a great escape.
Portmeirion is the most magical place in Britain. An Italian seaside town climbing a hillside on the Welsh coast, this village is an architectural fantasy land created by architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. With towers in bright hues and antique treasures dotted throughout, Portmeirion is his masterpiece and a great place for a weekend getaway.
4. Castle Combe
Back in the Cotswolds, Castle Combe is Wiltshire‘s chocolate-box village. The high street is lined with stone cottages, their slate roofs peaking up and down in harmony. Windowsills overflow with flower boxes and kettles hang above doors to welcome visitors to tea rooms. A trip to this place is like stepping straight into my favorite childhood story.
Not far from Castle Combe, Lacock has been used as a filming location for everything from Downton Abbey to Harry Potter. This village has all the yellow stone I could ever want and roadside stands with baked goods and bunting to boot. Add to that the famous Lacock Abbey with its medieval cloisters, and there’s a lot to love here.
Up in Scotland, Falkland is another of the prettiest towns and villages in Britain. It has rows of charming cottages, historic pubs, and turrets galore. In the heart of the village, Falkland Palace was a favorite of Mary, Queen of Scots. Today visitors can explore its fine interiors and gardens while discovering the area.
7. Robin Hood’s Bay
Robin Hood’s Bay is an old smugglers’ settlement on the Yorkshire coast. With narrow passages winding up the hillside through a jumble of houses and pubs, this village is a joy to discover. Combine that with beautiful beaches and coastal scenery, and Robin Hood’s Bay is hard to beat.
8. East Meon
Out in Hampshire, East Meon is an idyllic village with a river meandering through. Thatched roof cottages and pink facades make this place a travel lover’s dream, as do cheerful hollyhocks on the waterfront and red post boxes framed by brick walls.
Of all the prettiest towns and villages in Britain, Bath might be my favorite. Its Georgian architecture and golden stone make it pleasing to the eyes, and its layers of history are fascinating. This place has attracted everyone from the ancient Romans to Jane Austen, meaning there’s no doubt there’s something special about it.
There are more places I want to discover beyond these, including Shaftesbury in Dorset. Golden Hill looks like a dream. But I hope this list gives you a good start and some inspiration for your future travels. Which is to say nothing of your photos, which can’t fail to be lovely.
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