English Villages Rye

Travel Guide: Charming Villages in England

London comes in mind to most people when mentioning England, but this amazing island is full of history, castles, soft rolling hills within Lake District. It also offers something you wouldn’t dare to think about; charming villages. Their medieval style and cobblestone houses just take you back in time. A road trip through England will lead you to the land of fairy tales, as English villages have their own lifestyle. The diversity of the United Kingdom will come into your palm as you choose to explore the simple, tranquil beauty.

Dare yourself to explore beyond usual and here’s where you should go:

Day trips in London

Rye, Sussex

Stunning place near the sea within only 3 km, Rye is a picture-perfect town filled with cobblestone streets and lovely pubs. Picturesque feelings are intertwined within the landscape of three rivers: Rother, Tillingham and Brede. History is bursting here through the years of maritime conflicts that started to immerge already in Roman times.

Ypres tower, built in the 13th century, is one of the oldest buildings which served to defend the town from the French. Rye Castle Museum is housed at Ypres tower. Landgate is one of the four gates in Rye that is still preserved, dating from the 14th century.

This hilly town is a bit more than one hour from London’s station St. Pancras. From Ashford International in London, high speed trains arrive in 40 minutes.

Rye, Sussex- photo by Sussexbloggers.uk
Rye, Sussex- photo by Sussexbloggers.uk

Rye Nature Reserve is filled with a tranquil landscape, pretty lagoons and a richness of bird life, easily accessible by bus from Rye train station.

Bodiam castle is an amazing edifice immersed in the lake within a short drive from Rye.

The names of the streets, like Watchbell Lane, Mermaid Street or Wish Street, you just invite you to visit. Rye is a charming town filled with cozy shops and cafe bars.

Alfriston, East Sussex

Alfriston is a lovely village in the valley of the river Cuckmere near Brighton. Charming houses and shops and chocolate-box pubs are just an introduction to the valley full of wonder.

Alfriston Clergy House is the first built house belonging to the National Trust, dating from the 14th century, once serving the church properties. Pretty gardens and cafe bars display even more charm.

Alfriston, East Sussex- photo by Sussex Live
Alfriston, East Sussex- photo by Sussex Live

St. Andrew’s Church in Tye shares an authentic vibe.

Walking on South Downs Way will enchant you with astonishing cliffs and seaside views.

Little more than one hour is needed to come by train from London.

Lurgashall, West Sussex

On the hidden track near Blackdown, it is a charming village filled with picturesque landscapes, cute houses and some watermills.  A small winery is the highlight of this village.

Castle Hedingham, Essex

The village built around the castle from the 12th century houses a famous historical place where timbered houses play games. Many events are hosted in the castle, especially weddings. It offers pleasant, tranquil accommodation as well.

Shere, Surrey

A scenic village filled with cute cottages was a perfect ambience for several Hollywood films. Bridget Jones and Four weddings and a funeral took their locations here. Surrounded by the picturesque valley of the river, Arun Share hosts a small museum, two pubs, St 12th James Church from the 12th century and amazing scenery.

Shere, Surrey- photo by Visit Surrey
Shere, Surrey- photo by Visit Surrey

Ashwell, Hertfordshire

This lovely village between London and Cambridge is settled on the river Cam. Properly, here the Ashwell springs create a gorgeous experience.

Ashwell, Hertfordshire- photo by Ashwell.gov.uk
Ashwell, Hertfordshire- photo by Ashwell.gov.uk

Church St. Mary with its tower stretches imposingly in the center. Three pubs also offer a brilliant commuting atmosphere.

Ashwell itself doesn’t have a railway station but a nearby Letchworth, which makes the journey last up to 1.5h.

Cookham, Berkshire

This picturesque place on the river Thames is the home of the famous British painter Stanley Spacey who focused mostly on religious thematics. It was announced by Daily Telegram as the second richest village in England. Stanley Spacey Gallery is alone worth the visit.

Cute shops, cafe bars and restaurants are inescapable here. The train goes from London Paddington, taking a bit more than an hour.

Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire

Great Missenden in the Chiltern Hills is known as the home of two British prime ministers, but its most famous resident was British writer Roald Dahl.

This large village is filled with charming houses, shops and eateries. Prestwood Tennis Club is located nearby and you can be honored by splendid hilly views.
It can be reached from London Marylebone in 40 minutes.

Aylesford, Kent

Lying on the banks of the river Medway, Aylesford is a picturesque historical place. Recognizable by its medieval bridge, the river played an important role in its economy. It’s also known from the battle of the Britons and Anglo-Saxons in the 5th century.

Ayleford, Kent- photo by Kent Live
Ayleford, Kent- photo by Kent Live

Its half-timbered houses and pretty alleys just look like they dropped out of a fairy-tale.

It’s only a one-hour train ride from London Victoria to the station at Barming.

Biddenden, Kent

Charming Biddenden is known for its flemish houses and Biddenden Vineyards. Mostly timbered houses decorate its lovely appearance. Biddenden Maids is a half-legend that created the story of the village when two sisters created charity activities.

Villages in Cotswolds

Located only two hours from London in the southern corners of the country, the Cotswolds cover mainly four counties: Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Worcestershire and some others. Announced as the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966. The Cotswold is filled with mostly rural landscape of soft hills and gorgeous villages and towns. Cotswolds stone characterizes the fairy-tale houses commonly described as honey-coloured cottages.

Bibury, Gloucestershire

Bibury is a typical English village picturesquely set on the river Coln. Once described as “the most beautiful village in Cotswold” by the architect and writer, William Moris Bilbury, it is a synonym for the English countryside. Entering Bibury means being enchanted by its exquisite beauty where even films like Bridget Jones and Stardust were filmed.

Bibury. Gloucestershire- photo by Cotswolds Adventures
Bibury. Gloucestershire- photo by Cotswolds Adventures

Bibury is only a short drive from Cirencester town. Arlington row is the most famous street, built in the 14th century as a monastic wool store. Now it’s owned by the National Trust. This is the place you’ll see in the photographs of the English countryside.

Trout farm in Bibury is a charming landmark of the place.

Swan Hotel near the river Coln offers the authentic experience to immerge yourself in pure magic.

Castle Combe, Wiltshire

Castle Combe is characterised as one of the prettiest villages in England where fairy-tale cottages blend with the soft nature and lovely pubs. Near the pretty St. Andrew’s church is the house of Doctor Dolittle from the 1967 movie. From the market place to the woodland, houses tell the stories of the picture postcards.

Castle Combe, Wiltshire- photo by Visit Wiltshire
Castle Combe, Wiltshire- photo by Visit Wiltshire

Painswick, Gloucestershire

Known as the „Queen of Cotswolds“, Painswick evolved from a wool-trade village into a charming wonder. St. Mary Church surrounded by the 99 yew trees describes its history and magic.

Painswick, Gloucestershire- photo by Campsites.co.uk
Painswick, Gloucestershire- photo by Campsites.co.uk

The post office in Painswick is the oldest building, the only half-timbered house.

Roccoco Garden from 18. centure allures through the tamed valley, nowadays the only Roccoco garden of UK.

Ashton Beer Collection houses the Arts and Crafts Museum in the medieval church.

Some of the Painswick houses were notable historic homes.

Snowshill, Gloucestershire

Set up in the rolling hills, this secluded village is among the prettiest in Cotswold. Appearing in the movie of Bridget Jones, this village holds the sleeping beauty.

Buckle Street is the most famous road immersed in the pretty gardens where Snowshill Manor is the major attraction, holding an authentic collection by Charles Wade, the local craftsman.

Broadway, Worcerstershire

Named as such as the broad main street ie. Broadway High Street occupies the area with the lovely boutique shops, caffe bars and restaurants.

Broadway, Worcestershire- photo by Great British Life
Broadway, Worcestershire- photo by Great British Life

Artistic Children’s Activity Park, Broadway Tower, Lygon Arms Hotel create the breathtaking puzzle of emotions and dreams. The Lygon Arms is a historic hotel of 14. century where many famous guests spent their vacations.

One of the best lavender fields in England is located south of Broadway.

Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire

Known as the market town, this hilly place is intrigued by the fascinating narrow streets from the 12th century and St. Edward’s church. Fairy-tale doors framed by the yew trees are the dreamy exposition of this unique church.

Stow-On-The-Wold, Gloucestershire- photo by Cotswolds Gentleman
Stow-On-The-Wold, Gloucestershire- photo by Cotswolds Gentleman

Local tea rooms and the cricket museum feel the beauty where the famous gardens pack the vibe. Many artistic shops across the area.

Lacock, Wiltshire

A stunning village entirely owned by the National Trust is located near Castle Combe but a bit outside of the Cotswolds. Sharing the history of the wool trade dates back to the 14th century. Filled with half-timbered houses and with the charming Lacock abbey across a large meadow, Lacock catches the eyes. Lacock abbey served as a background for Harry Potter.

Bampton, Oxfordshire

A lovely village is settled in the Thames valley around 30 km from Oxford, not very touristic. This place was filmed in the series Downtown Abbey.

Bourton-On-The-Water, Gloucester

Picturesquely set on the river Windrush, it’s a popular tourist spot in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Lovely low bridges made of stone create a unique charm. Containing the Model Village of Bourton-On-The-Water, it’s the chance to see the lovely gardens and Cotswold Motor Museum in this important attraction from 1937.

Bourton on The Water, Gloucestershire- photo by Cotswolds
Bourton-On-The-Water, Gloucestershire- photo by Cotswolds

Villages in Yorkshire

Yorkshire is the largest English county, occupying the central area of the country bursting with history, famous for cricket, and the cultural significance of the cities of York and Leeds. Regionally, it’s divided into North, East, West, and South.

Helmsley, Yorkshire

Helmsley castle dominates this lovely place in North Yorkshire National Park. Helmsley Walled Gardens delight with its scents and colours. It’s a pretty historical town where many award-winning small shops occupy the vibe.

Helmsley, Yorkshire- photo by Visit Helmsley
Helmsley, Yorkshire- photo by Visit Helmsley

Thornton-Le-Dale, Yorkshire

Cobblestone magic is pretty alive here, especially at the Thatched Cottages, which is the prettiest in the village. North Yorkshire Motor Museum brings an awesome car collection.

Thornton-le-Dale, Yorkshire, photo by High Oaks Grange.co.uk
Thornton-le-Dale, Yorkshire, photo by High Oaks Grange.co.uk

Nearby walks create enchanting feelings through the soft valleys.

Flamborough, Yorkshire

Amazing views of the coastline where cliffs blend with the wildlife- that is Flamborough. It’s the place where lighthouses and sea arches create a stunning experience. Two lighthouses create a magical atmosphere. The first one from the 17th century is the marvellous stone wonder.

Flambourough, Yorkshire- photo by Cunard
Flambourough, Yorkshire- photo by Cunard

Not only this, people come here to birdwatch, hike near the sea or go canoeing- it’s an outdoor paradise. It’s a very touristic place maintaining this history mostly thanks to Flamborough Head which, is an amazing coastline. The most popular birds here are puffins and seal bobbings.

Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire

The intriguing name of this lovely fishing village is of unknown origin but it is believed that it was linked with the legendary Robin Hood. His story touches the French pirates while Roobin Hood was giving to the poor.

Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire- photo by Campsite.co.uk
Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire- photo by Campsite.co.uk

This picturesque village is car-free as almost every street is so tiny. This hilly village leads to the sandy beach which is full of fossils.

Villages in Lake District

The Lake District is a picturesque mountainous area in the north of England, belonging to a National Park. Its distance to London is around 400 km. The Lake District has been announced as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2017. consisting of soft mountains called fells, more than 16 lakes and some glacial lakes.

Grasmere, Cumbria

Grasmere village is known as the home of the poet William Wordsworth, a picturesque place in the valley of the homonymous lake. Romantically set on the river Rothay, which flows into the lake, Grasmere is a popular touristic place. It was inhabitated by many other artists and poets who were inspired by its enchanting spirit.

Grasmere, Cumbria- photo by Britannica
Grasmere, Cumbria- photo by Britannica

Coniston, Cumbria

Coniston is a lovely village known for its recreational and walking paths. Its position on the fell named Old Man of Coniston makes it a popular outdoor spot. Many cafes, bars, and restaurants around Lake Coniston offer a relaxing place. In 1999. Coniston got the national award as the „village of the year“.


The picturesque town at the shores of the lake Windermere is a popular tourist place. Stock Ghyll Force is an amazing waterfall nearby, covered entirely with daffodils in spring.

Stagshaw Gardens amazes with the arrival of rhododendrons and azaleas. Hayes Garden Centre is another awesome garden to visit.

Blakeney, Norfolk

Set in the area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Blakeney is a beautiful coastal village. Once a medieval commercial port, now a lovely place full of nature resorts.

Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Known as the birthplace of William Shakepeare, this traditional English village on the river Avon is full of history.

Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire- photo by Curious About
Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire- photo by Curious About

Cranborne, Dorset

Located in the charming Cotswold, this is a pretty secluded village. The River Crane flowing through the centre covers it with relaxedness, once it was a pretty large town.

Cranborne, Dorset- photo by Visit Dorset
Cranborne, Dorset- photo by Visit Dorset

Cheddar, Dorset

This popular village is home to cheddar cheese where rolling hills just invite. Cheddar Gorge Hike is the largest gorge in UK fabulously painting the village.

Cheddar, Dorset- photo by Britannica
Cheddar, Dorset- photo by Britannica

Dunster Village, Somerset

Known for its Castle and Old Yam Market, Dunster village is spread along the cliffy coastline and marvellous hills.

Dunster Village, Somerset- photo by Visit Dunster
Dunster Villager, Somerset- photo by Visit Dunster


Visiting the English countryside is like entering the world of fairy-tales. It’s a step in history that will embrace you will wonder. There are far more villages worth visiting than mentioned here, but honey-shaped magic will be framed even with the few day trips out of London. It’s the way to learn about the English lifestyle, to feel the ancient power of nobles and just catch the favorite local hikes.

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