England is home to some of the world’s most beautiful villages. Imagine cobblestoned streets, rose gardens, ivy, and thatched-roof houses nestled around rivers. Not to mention the charm of an English country pub. Combine this with England’s greenery and grey, moody weather, and it is imagery from a postcard or storybook.
Should you go chance to travel to England, don’t miss out on visiting some of the country’s small towns. It will be well worth the visit. Moreover, it will allow you to experience a part of England’s culture far from the hustle and bustle of London.
Many of England’s villages are hundreds and sometimes almost a mind-boggling 1000 years old. So, in these tiny towns you will find a wealth of exciting bits of history and culture unique to England.
England is famed not only for its big cities but also for its small villages. The English countryside is beautiful and intimately tied to the country’s cultural heritage. Throughout history, many of the upper class would own homes in the country and the city. Often they would reside in different houses during different seasons. There was also a social and cultural difference between life in the country and the town.
The English countryside and its villages represent a past and present culture that is distinctly British. However, they are also some of the most stunning small towns globally. They provide the opportunity to get away and experience some country. So, add the villages below to your English bucket list.
Clovelly, North Devon
Clovelly in Devon is one of England’s most beautiful and unique villages. The village is postcard-perfect and sits on a cliffside at the shores of a clear bay. The town itself sits on the side of a 400-foot cliff, with stunning views from the main street. For this reason, it is not easily accessible by car. Moreover, most of the town’s traffic consists of donkeys and locals walking on foot. This adds to the truly old world and traditional feeling of the city.
This quaint place also features a 400 hundred-year-old pub in the village called the New Inn. The pub is a perfect place to sit and enjoy a pint while looking out over the stunning fishing harbor.
Take a stroll through Clovelly’s famous cobblestone main streets to see local shops and restaurants. The road also becomes lined with traditional and historic houses in the old English style. At the 2011 census, the parish population was 443, making this truly a tiny village.
Cartmel, The Lake District
The Lake District is one of the most beautiful regions in England and certainly features many of its most picturesque villages.
Cartmel is a village in Cumbria, England, 2.2 miles northwest of Grange-over-Sands, close to the River Eea. The town took its name from the Cartmel Peninsula and was historically known as Kirkby in Cartmel. The village is the location of the 12th-century Cartmel Priory.
The has a sticky toffee pudding shop within a 12th-century cloister with stained glass windows. Charming details like this make Cartmel top of this list for an English village experience.
In Cartmel, you will find many amazing places to eat. The village even features the world-renowned Michelin Star restaurant, L’Enclume. In addition, there are many pubs and free houses that offer local food, beers, and ales.
There is a rich history to be found in Cartmel, as it is thought the city became inhabited as early as 677. Cartmel lets you visit many picturesque churches, buildings, old English pubs, and lakeside scenery.
When you walk through the streets of Stanton, it is clear that very little has changed for over a century. This idyllic little village may be small, but it is an open-air museum full of English history everywhere you look.
The village is built almost entirely of Costwold stone, a honey-colored Jurassic limestone, which is reasonably remarkable on its own. In addition, several cottages still have old-fashioned thatched roofs. It has a high street, with a pub, The Mount, at the end. In 2017, this village was marked by The Daily Telegraph as the most beautiful village in the Cotswold. Further, it is in the top ten of all of England.
Many of the buildings in Stanton date back to the 15th century.
Lower Slaughter makes this list one of the most beautiful villages in England because it features Copse Hill Road. This street was once voted the most romantic in all of England. The village’s name derives from the Old English term “slough,” meaning “wetland.”
It is not hard to see why with its stunning rose gardens that wind around the river and historic houses. In addition, it famously features the Old Mill, which was recorded in the Doomsday Book of 1086. This means the village has been inhabited for almost 100 years. Today, the mill is open to the public to view.
The village is so picturesque and quintessentially English that parts of the movie, Emma, were filmed there in 2020. Locations included the Village Hall, The Manor House, and The Old Mill.
Polperro is a large village, civil parish, and fishing harbor within the Polperro Heritage Coastline in south Cornwall. The village has a distinctly Cornish feel and is an authentic English gem.
Beautiful white houses shrouded in greenery and gardens cling to a hill overlooking the fishing harbor. In the harbor, sail boats become moored in the blue water.
The village itself is long and narrow, with shops and eateries set along the main street called The Coombe. Get yourself fish and chips to eat down by the harbor or pick up holiday souvenirs in the boutiques. Stretching out from the village are miles of farmland, creating that classic countryside feel right by the coast.
Not far from the village, you will find beautiful sandy beaches. While it may be too cold most of the year to venture into the water, it is ideal for strolling down. Polperro’s stretch of coastline often draws artists who like to paint or photograph the landscape.
Here you will also find charming bed and breakfasts in traditional buildings. You can also visit the Polperro Heritage Museum and the Polperro Arts Foundation. The art gallery became founded by local artists who wanted to encourage the history of creativity and arts in the area.
And of course, Polperro and its surrounding area become filled with fine dining that offers fresh local produce.
Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire
Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire, is like being swept away into a different world. The village’s main street climbs up steep, narrow hills with old English-style buildings on both sides.
A walk through the winding, cobblestone streets will have you discovering cafes, shops, and hidden bars. Walkers and cyclists can also use the English village for touring the more popular North Yorkshire trails. For example, The Coast to Coast, The Cleveland Way, and The Cinder Track.
Robin Hoods Bay has a history that fits its bandit-style name. It has been a fishing village and port for many years. As you walk along narrow streets, you can imagine the fishermen and smugglers who used to dart in and out of all the same spots.
Staithes, North Yorkshire
Staithes is a picture-perfect village, with several colorful but tiny fishing cottages dotted along the harbor.
Once the busiest fishing port on the northeast coast, this English village has an incredible fishing heritage and heroic tales. With the Staithes Lifeboat house and Captain Cook & Staithes Heritage Centre to visit, there is incredible history to unpack.
Staithes is a wonderful place to walk around for hours discovering sandy beaches, cliff tops, and isolated pubs. If you can walk up the hills behind the village, you will get an incredible photo opportunity. A walk up to the lookout allows for a perfect view of one of England’s most picturesque villages.
Additionally, it becomes a great location for geologists and fossil hunters. There is a wealth of prehistoric fossils to be found in many of its caves, beaches, and cliffs. Staithes is also well-known for hosting a lively community of artists.
The Staithes Group was active in the village in the late 19th century, often painting local scenes, including fishers’ wives. The group comprised up to 30artists, including Dame Laura Knight, her husband Harold, Ernest Dade, and Joseph R Bagshawe. Additionally, for the past few years, Staithes has staged an Arts Festival over an autumn weekend. Many homes and shops are converted into art galleries. Moreover, there are pop-up cafes and street food stalls cater to the thousands of visitors who come each year
Snows Hill, Cotswolds
This stunning village in the Cotswolds is reminiscent of a fairytale. It quickly makes this list of picturesque English villages. It becomes known for its pristine and unspoiled state and leafy winding lanes.
An ancient road called Buckle Street crosses the parish and Snowshill Manor. Now owned by the National Trust, is a beautiful building in Snowshill with picturesque gardens outside. Once inside, you can view the unique and eclectic collections of Sir Charles Wade. For example, toys, musical instruments, clocks, bicycles, samurai armor, and much more. Snowshill Manor is also fascinating architecturally as a typical 15th to 16th Century manor house.
You can also use the village as a base to explore some of the amazing country trails surrounding the countryside. Once you finish exploring, you can seek out a hearty meal or pint at Snowshill Arms pub.
This beautiful village is lined with chestnut trees and includes a mixture of period houses and picturesque Cotswold stone cottages. The stunning architecture and atmosphere have lured visitors for centuries. A walk down the street in Broadway is like stepping back in time.
Its population was 2,540 in the 2011 census, which makes it a pretty tiny population. Be sure to visit the stunning churches in the area, such as St Eadburgha or St Michael & All Angels’ Church.
Situated on the Northumberland coast in North East England, the seaside village of Bamburgh overflows with charm, and castle views. There is a pristine beach and drifting sand dunes. Furthermore, snug eateries are tucked away on street corners, and a magnificent castle view are everywhere you turn.
Lining its three main streets are elegant 18th-century cottages turned pubs, tea rooms, and cozy B&Bs. However, its premier draw is the magnificent Bamburgh Castle. Walking along the beach and admiring Bramburgh Castle cannot be missed.
Perched on top of a 180ft high rocky outcrop overlooking the town’s golden beach and grass-covered sand dunes. This is one of England’s finest coastal fortresses.
Muker, North Yorkshire
Muker is a village and civil parish at the western end of Swaledale in North Yorkshire. Surrounded by lush green fields and protected wildflower meadows, the village of is as cute as they come. Think 18th-century stone barns, drystone walls and a charming village tea shop. Additionally, a fantastic pub serving traditional meals and locally brewed ales in a lovely, convivial atmosphere.
There are countless quaint shops, pubs, and eateries lining the cobblestone streets. Solid, stone-lead miners’ cottages gather protectively around the tea shop, the Farmers’ Arms, the Victorian Literary Institute, and St Mary’s Church.
The tiny, quaint fishing village of Beesands features a long shingle beach, magnificent views over Start Bay. It also has one of South Devon’s best gastropubs, renowned for its delicious crab sandwiches. Other local attractions include an Anglican chapel, a wildlife-rich freshwater lake, and a variety of excellent coastal walks.
As you walk along the pebbled beach, you can smell the fresh sea air and become revived. Small fishing boats bob in the water while Beesands rolling green hills stretch beyond them.
England’s villages are a window into time, history, culture, a way of life, and a certain indescribable feeling. The countryside in England and its villages are reminiscent of romance and solitude and represent a straightforward way of life. The English countryside retains a great deal of its culture and lifestyle that has been around for hundreds of years.
While these places are small and quaint, their cultural heritage is not. Many villages in England have a history dating back hundreds of years or more. So, while the village way of life may appear simpler, a closer look tells a more complex story. Should you find yourself in England, it would be well worth your time for magical village get away. Take a break from the main cities and explore England’s quieter side. Your memories and your photographs will be well worth it.