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 offers also something you wouldn’t dare to think- charming villages. Their medieval style and cobblestone houses just take you back in time. Road trip through England will lead you to the land of fairy tales as English villages have their own lifestyle. Diversity of United Kingdom will come unto your palm as choosing 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 landscape of three rivers: Rother, Tillingham and Brede. History is bursting here through the years of maritime conflicts that starts to immerge already in Roman times.

Ypres tower built in 13. 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 14. century.

This hilly town is a bit more than one hour from the 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 tranquille landscape, pretty lagoons and richness of bird life, easily accessible with the bus from Rye train station.

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

The names of the streets like Watchbell Lane, Mermaid Street or Wish Street just invite to visit. Rye is a charming town filled with cozy shops and caffe 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 introduction to the valley full of wonder.

Alfriston Clergy House is the firstly built house belonging to National Trust dating from 14. century, once serving the church properties. Pretty gardens and caffe 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 share the authentic vibe.

Walking by South Downs Way will enchant you with ashtonishing 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 this is a charming village filled with picturesque landscape, cute houses and some watermills.  Small winery is the highlight of this village.

Castle Hedingham, Essex

Village built around the castle from 12. century is the famous historical place where timbered house play the game. Many events are hosted in the castle specially weddings, it offers a pleasant tranquille accomodation as well.

Shere, Surrey

Scenic village filled with cute cottages was a perfect ambience for the 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- James Church from 12. 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 at the river Cam. Properly here the Ashwell springs create the 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 commute 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 were focusing mostly on religious thematic. It’s announced by Daily Telegram as the second richest village in England. Stanley Spacey Gallery is alone worth the visit.

Cute shops, caffe bars and restaurant are inescapable here. Train goes from London Paddington taking a bit more than an hour.

Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire

Great Missenden at 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 honoured 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 historic place. Recognizable by its medieval bridge the river played an important role in its economy. It’s also known by the battle of the Britons and Anglo-Saxons in the 5. 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 one hour train ride from London Victoria to the station at Barming.

Biddenden, Kent

Charming Biddenden is known by 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 Cotswolds covers mainly four counties: Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Worcestershire and some others. Announced as the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966. Cotswold is filled with mostly rural landscape of the 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 picturesly set on the river Coln. Once described as „the most beautiful village in Cotswold by an architect and writer William Moris Bilbury is a synonim for 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 its most famous street built in the 14. century as the monastic wool store. Now it’s owned by the National Trust. This is the place you’ll see at the photographs of 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 into pure magic.

Castle Combe, Wiltshire

Castle Combe is characterised as one of the prettiest villages of England where fairy-tale cottages blend with the soft nature and lovely pubs. Near the pretty St. Andrew’s church stands the house of Doctor Dolittle from the 1967. movie. From the market place to the woodland limestone house 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 as the wool trade village into the 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

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 Arts and Crafts Museum placed in the medieval church.

Some of the Painswick houses were notable historic homes.

Snowshill, Gloucestershire

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

Buckle Street is the most famous road immers in the pretty gardens where Snowshill Manor is the major attraction holding an authentic collection of 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 of England are located south of Broadway.

Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire

Known as the market town this hilly places intrigues by the fascinating narrow streets from 12. 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 cross the area.

 Lacock, Wiltshire

Stunning village entirely owned by National Trust is located near Castle Combe but a bit outside of Cotswolds. Sharing the history of wool trade it’s dating back in 14. century. Filled with half-timbered houses and with charming Lacock abbey across large meadow Lacock catches the eyes. Lacock abbey served as a background of Harry Potter.

Bampton, Oxfordshire

Lovely village is settled at 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 touristic spot in the Area od 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 imposant 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, cultural significance of the cities York and Leeds. Regionally it’s divided into North, East, West, South.

Helmsley, Yorkshire

Helmsley castle dominates this lovely place in North Yorkshire National Park. Helmsley Walled Gardens deligth 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, specially at the Thatched Cottages which is the prettiest in the village. North Yorkshire Motor Museum bring the 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 the 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 the stunning experiences. Two of lighthouses create magic atmosphere. The first one from 17. century is the marvellous stone wonder.

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

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

Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire

The intrigung name of this lovely fishing village is of the unknown origin but 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

Lake District is a picturesque mountainous area at the North of England, belonging to the National Park. It’s distance to London is around 400 km. Lake District is announced as 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 at home of the poet William Wordsworth, 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 by its recreational and walking paths. Its position at the fell named Old Man of Coniston makes it a popular outdoor spot. Many caffe bars and restaurants around the lake Coniston offer the relaxing place. In 1999. Coniston got the national award as the „village of the year“.


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 arrival of rhododendrons and azaleas. Hayes Garden Centre is another awesome garden to visit.

Central England

Blakeney, Norfolk

Setled 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

Southwest England

Cranborne, Dorset

Located in the charming Cotswold this is a pretty secluded village. River Crane flowing through the centre covers with relaxedness, once it was pretty a 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 by its Castle and Old Yam Market Dunster village is spreading 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-tale, it’s a step in history that will embrace you will wonders. There’s 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.

Leave a Reply