Quaint stone cottages, cute historic pubs surrounded by rolling green hills and little streams flowing through – there are few things in this world more picturesque than a quintessential English village. The countryside of England is home to an abundance of stunning little towns and villages, each one just as pretty as the next.
Some are so beautiful, it’s hard to imagine that people actually live there and you’re not walking through the set of a movie! Full of character and old-world charm, every village has its own story to tell. Each one featured in this article would make an excellent addition to your England road trip itinerary, otherwise it is possible to visit most of them on a day trip from London if you’re short on time!
Retreating to the English countryside is the perfect way to escape the city, take a step back in time and enjoy the slow-paced way of village life. From the popular Cotswolds villages to some lesser known gems, here are 20 of the most charming and beautiful English villages to inspire your next visit.
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20 of the Most Charming and Beautiful English Villages
-By Wendy from Empty Nesters Hit The Road
Located in West England, the Cotswolds is full of picturesque villages. Choosing which one to visit is never easy, but Broadway is a good bet. Like all of its neighbours Broadway is full of honey coloured stone buildings, streets lined with ancient trees, and plenty of window boxes filled with colourful flowers. But as it’s larger than many of the surrounding towns, it offers great boutique shopping and a selection of excellent restaurants. As a popular destination for artists, there is also a nice selection of galleries in town.
With its location along The Cotswold Way, Broadway is a popular overnight stop for multi-day hikers. It has a nice selection of bed and breakfast inns and guest houses, most of which are locally owned and operated. After a long day in the countryside, walkers look forward to the creature comforts of this lovely village.
For history and architecture buffs, the famous Broadway Tower is located one mile south-east of the town in Broadway Tower Country Park. Built in 1798, this tower is known as the Highest Little Castle in the Cotswolds. Today the tower houses a museum on three of its floors. Also located in the park is a herd of red deer. In the Spring and Fall it’s possible to see the deer and their babies.
Broadway is just two hours northwest of London. Many visitors opt to take the train from Paddington Station to Moreton-in-Marsh and then a cab or bus to Broadway.
→Click here to browse accommodation options in Broadway←
Painswick Village, Gloucestershire
-By Sophie from We Dream Of Travel
Painswick is a beautiful, quaint village tucked away amidst the British countryside within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With its honey-hued homes and cobbled streets, it is easily the prettiest village in the Cotswolds, if not the whole of England!
Located just over 2 hours’ drive from London, it makes for a perfect day trip to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and can be combined with any of the other charming Cotswold villages. Painswick is steeped in history and as you meander through its labyrinth of streets and alleyways, you’ll encounter clues to the past. Many of the buildings have small plaques on them to acknowledge their former use and there are a number of informative boards around the town to give insight into the village’s long history.
There were once 17 inns and alehouses in Painswick, and today Painswick is still well known for its excellent restaurants. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Golden Heart pub sign on Tibbiwell Lane. While the pub no longer exists, the sign remains as part of a protected Grade II listed building.
The village of Painswick is also renowned for its church garden, home to 100 yew trees. Until 2000, there had been 99 yew trees and legend told that the hundredth yew tree planted would be destroyed by the devil. However, to commemorate the millennium, each parish in Gloucester received and planted a yew tree. Contrary to the legend, the 100th tree is still alive and well!
Painswick is also home to the Rococo gardens, dating back to 1748 and hailed as one of the Cotswolds’ best kept secrets. These gardens provide the perfect place for an afternoon stroll.
-By Christina from Travel2Next
British poet William Morris wasn’t wrong when he called Bibury “the most beautiful village in England”. When the sun streams on the honey-coloured stone cottages of Arlington Row, it’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful of all the Cotswold villages. It looks like it’s straight out of a storybook. Completing the picture is a bubbling brook, lovely gardens and a tranquil pond. Arlington Row is possibly the most photographed village in England. Built in 1380, the cottages were initially used to store wool but later became weavers’ cottages to produce cloth that was sent to Arlington Mill for processing.
While most people are attracted to Bibury to take photos of Arlington Row, it’s also worth visiting the Bibury Trout Farm to learn how they breed Rainbow and Brown Trout. The farm has been operating since 1902 and has a gift shop, picnic areas and a fresh seafood counter where you can buy smoked trout and other seafood. On weekends, a fun thing to do is to go fishing and catch fish to take home. The farm supplies fishing rods and the activity is suitable for beginners, and you pay for your catch by weight.
There are some charming cottages to stay at in Bibury, but you’ll want to book a room at The Swan Hotel, which was once a coaching inn and is beside the River Coln. You can get to Bibury by train, public bus or by car but if you’re planning on exploring other villages in the Cotswolds driving is the most convenient way to get around.
-By Emily from Kids and Compass
Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the most beautiful and popular villages in the Cotswolds. Think old, honey coloured houses, covered in climbing roses with pretty little gardens lining a stream; cute cafes and boutique shops.
Bourton-on-the-Water is also known as the Venice of the Cotswolds. The river Windrush is crossed by several little bridges, although sadly you can’t punt up and down as the stream is far too small!
You’ll find plenty of attractions in Bourton-on-the-Water when you’re finished admiring the surroundings. Families will enjoy visiting Birdland which is home to flamingos, cassowaries and other exotic species, although it’s also a haven for wild birds. Don’t forget the Jurassic Journey walk, where kids can look for dinosaurs hidden in the undergrowth.
The Cotswold Motoring Museum has an incredible collection of cars, buses and other vehicles and motoring memorabilia. There’s a great collection of toys too. You might also want to visit the miniature village in the town centre.
Bourton-on-the-Water also has a cute little hedge maze. You have to solve clues as you walk around, and you won’t be able to find the treasure at the centre without completing the puzzle.
Bourton-on-the-Water is a two-hour drive from London. If you can’t drive, then take a train to Moreton in Marsh and then a bus to Bourton-on-the-Water. The town is also a great base for exploring the rest of the Cotswolds as it’s so centrally located.
Stay in the boutique and centrally located Chester House Hotel, although there are plenty more choices to suit any budget.
Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire
–By Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan
Lower Slaughter is a picturesque Cotswold village in the county of Gloucestershire, filled with limestone cottages built in the traditional Cotswold style. It doesn’t receive as many tourists as some of the more popular Cotswold villages and has managed to retain a more authentic charm. As a vegan traveler in the Cotswolds, I was a bit wary of staying in a place called “slaughter”, but thankfully the name does not refer to the slaughter of animals.
Rather, it comes from the Old English word sloh, which means “a marshy or muddy place”, and refers to the nearby wetlands and the Eye stream that flows through the village. Lower Slaughter is known as one of the Cotswold’s “water villages” and features several quaint stone footbridges that cross the stream. You can often see geese and other water birds paddling around in the water. Copeshill Road, which follows the stream, has been voted the Most Romantic Street in Britain!
As you may have guessed, there is also a village called Upper Slaughter, which is just a short walk away. This lovely stroll along the stream takes about 25 minutes and is highly recommended. Along the way, you’ll pass the Old Mill, which was built in the 19th century and has now been converted into an arts and crafts shop. The mill’s original water wheel is still functioning.
By car, Lower Slaughter is about a two-hour drive from London. If you’re taking public transport, the train takes about three hours, while the National Express bus is a bit faster and also much cheaper.
Castle Combe, Wiltshire
-By Josie from Where Jo Goes
Often lauded as England’s prettiest village, Castle Combe in Wiltshire is a single meandering high street of honey coloured stone, a brook bubbling through it. At one end of the street is the much photographed bridge with the picturesque cottages that overlook it. At the other stands the Market Cross, the village pump, traditional English pubs including the 12th Century Castle Inn and St Andrews Church. You’ll notice the locals sell produce such as home-made cakes and jams straight from their doorsteps, bringing a touch of local personality to this bucolic spot in the heart of the English countryside.
On arrival, Castle Combe may well look familiar. War Horse was filmed here and it features in Downton Abbey and many period dramas.
The Manor House Hotel at Castle Combe is a luxury hotel with a Michelin starred restaurant. Take a wander through the Italianate gardens or along the river bank if you’re stopping for a meal or drink in the hotel or a game of golf at the hotel’s club. It’s also the perfect spot for a quintessentially English afternoon tea. Confession, I spent the first night of my honeymoon here so it has a soft spot in my heart, it’s such a beautiful spot!
For a more adrenaline filled pursuit, Castle Combe Circuit offers a range of driving experiences.
Getting here: A 3-hour drive from London or 50 mins from Bristol, the village is best reached by car. Nearest train station: Chippenham (15 mins drive away). Click here to find train times and tickets.
If you are on the hunt for yet more gorgeous English villages, combine with a trip to Lacock or head to Bath to sample the spa waters.
→Click here to book your accommodation in Castle Combe←
-By Laura from What’s Hot Blog
Lacock is a charming English village that has somehow managed to preserve its medieval spirit to this very day. As you wander through the village, you’ll see cosy pubs and eateries, even the odd honesty vegetable stall or two. Locals will often leave their homegrown vegetables and other homemade wares on their doorsteps and windowsills and you can leave a coin or two in exchange.
Just 30 minutes by car from Bath, Lacock is definitely worth visiting for an afternoon, especially if you’re a film aficionado. Walking through the streets of Lacock, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled into a period drama. That’s exactly why this tiny British village is so often used as a filming location, famously for the most magical tale of our time: Harry Potter.
The best thing to do in Lacock is to visit Lacock Abbey, which dates back to the 13th century. The interiors are beautiful with ornate decorations and furniture. It also served as a Harry Potter filming location with its cloisters being used as Hogwarts corridors and the now-empty rooms doubling up as Quirrel and Snape’s classrooms. In the main village, you’ll see other traditional, quaint British homes, one of which served as Harry Potter’s parents’ house and another as Slughorn’s hideaway. Other films shot here include Wolf Hall, Cranston and even an episode of Downton Abbey.
It’s small, but it’s beautiful. If you want to feel like you’ve stepped into times gone by and have a very charming British day then you must add Lacock to your bucket list.
The Best Tours to the Cotswolds from London
Looking to take a day trip to the Cotswolds from London? Find some of the best Cotswolds tour options below or click here to read my complete guide on choosing the best Cotswolds tour from London.
-By Faith from XYUandBEYOND
Bampton is set in the Oxfordshire countryside right on the edge of the Cotswolds. A chocolate box village that sits about 20 miles west of Oxford this charming little town stands in for Downton Village in the Downton Abbey show.
Bampton’s history goes back as far as the Iron Age and it is said that the Romans also settled here. What makes Bampton special is that it is Downton Village. The Village is also incredibly peaceful and quintessentially English with its independent shops and a high street that still features its historic buildings.
Church View is a lovely little green square behind the main village high street. If you watched Downton Abbey you will immediately recognise the area and St. Mary’s Church. The Church dates back to the 11th century and was built as a Saxon Minister. Over the years new additions such as the gothic spire have been added.
To the left of the Church is the Rectory now called the Deanery it was built in the 13th century and later was reconstructed as a Georgian Manor. In Downton, it was used as Isobel Crawley’s home.
Church View stands the same as it has done for centuries the green square with its large oak trees is a little peaceful oasis. Just down from the Deanery is “Downton’s hospital”. Now run as a visitor’s Centre where local crafts and Downton memorabilia are sold. All the profits from sales and the filming of Downton are used to assist the village in its conservation efforts.
Walking into the main village past the visitors’ centre you will be treated to a lovely main street where you can grab a pint at the Horseshoe Inn or treat yourself to a cream tea at the Bampton Coffee House.
-By Maggie from Pink Caddy Travelogue
Stratford-upon-Avon is not only one of the most beautiful English villages, but it’s also a can’t-miss for literature buffs. Named for the River Avon that flows through it, Stratford-upon-Avon is a beautiful, historical gem just an hour from London that can be easily reached via train or car.
Visiting the village is like stepping back in time. Founded in 1196, Stratford upon Avon has retained much of its historic flavor, despite being a bustling modern village. Although visited by millions of tourists every year, the town itself is charming and distinctly English. Many of the buildings have kept their original Elizabethan or medieval look, and in springtime, English gardens abound in the streets surrounding town-center.
It’s charm alone is worth checking out, but the town’s biggest claim to fame is for being the epicenter of all things Shakespeare. The famous poet was born here, spent most of his life here, and died and was buried in this quiet English village. Most of his immediate family had homes here as well.
Visitors can tour Shakespeare’s birthplace, a waddle-and-daub cottage where, in 1564, the poet himself was born. Tourists can also check out Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare’s family worshipped and where many of them are now buried. End the day by seeing one of Shakespeare’s works brought to life on stage at the Royal Shakespeare Theater, an unforgettable experience!
→Click here to book your accommodation in Stratford-upon-Avon←
-By Chris and Heather from A Brit & A Southerner
When it comes to idyllic English villages, you could be forgiven for thinking about hamlets in the Cotswolds or neighbouring counties. However, why not head north to the Red Rose county of Lancashire to explore the beautiful village of Downham, located in the Ribble Valley less than 40 miles north of Manchester.
Rural England is epitomized in this part of Lancashire and if you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, the Lancashire locals in Downham will certainly make you feel welcome as they go about daily life in this quintessential English village. Visit Downham if you are looking for a location that epitomizes everything there is to love about stereotypical rural England.
The history of Downham dates back to the 15th-century and the Assheton family who are responsible for the village and surrounding estate. Today, visitors can enjoy a quiet, relaxing stroll up and down the village before heading inside the Assheton Arms to sample fine Lancashire cuisine and a beer or two. Visit St. Leonard’s Church towers above the Downham landscape at the top of the hill and you may well be greeted either by the local vicar or perhaps the resident hen that frequently roams around the church and down into the village.
Downham is a charming village full of character, frequently associated with the nearby Pendle Hill and the resident witches but this story should be left for another day. Instead, take your time enjoying the inherent beauty of a picture postcard village.
-By Roshni from The Wanderlust Within
The chocolate box village of Castleton in Hope Valley, is a hotspot for hikers, outdoor lovers and history buffs. Looming over this quaint and charming village is Mam Tor, also known as Shivering Mountain. It is the top attraction in Castleton and is one of the most dramatic viewpoints in the Peak District. Mam Tor is only a two-hour circular hike from the village centre, making it possible for adults and children alike.
Castleton village is also overlooked by the ancient Peveril Castle. The 11th century castle is one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses, and the ruins can still be visited today. A short hike to the top of the hill is required but you’ll be awarded with breath-taking views of Hope Valley.
In fact, Castleton is surrounded by hikes, so after you’ve burnt some calories, the best place to visit is one of the many tea rooms in Castleton. Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea in the Peak District, followed by a visit to some of the country’s best show caves and caverns.
Castleton village is situated in Derbyshire’s Peak District and can be reached in only half an hour from Sheffield by train. If you arrive by car, you’ll be blessed with spectacular views of Winnats Pass as you drive into Castleton. Just another reason to visit this picturesque English village.
→Book your day trip to Castleton from Manchester←
-By Chelsea from The Portable Wife
Debenham is a tiny riverside village nestled in the Suffolk countryside. Despite its small size, Debenham gets regular visitors thanks to its numerous antique stores, artisan craft shops, and charming “chocolate box” cottages.
The best way to experience Debenham is on foot. The village is very walkable, and you’ll find plenty of Instagrammable buildings and gardens as you stroll up the main road and smaller residential streets.
If you get hungry, stop into the Vanilla Bakery Cafe for some delicious baked goods or the River Green Cafe and Deli for tasty sandwiches and tea. The deli also sells locally crafted food and drink, including infused gins and fruit preserves.
Book lovers should stop into David Shacklock Book Services, where towering stacks and shelves of antique novels create a cozy atmosphere. If you like one-of-a-kind items, head to Spiral for unique accessories and home decor. And of course, no trip to Debenham would be complete without visiting a few antique shops, especially Swan House and Garden.
Getting to Debenham is easiest by car. However, there are buses that run from nearby Stowmarket and Ipswich. And if you want to try glamping in Suffolk, Kenton Hall Estate is walkable from the village and offers yurt and shepherd’s hut lodging from May through October.
→Book your glamping experience at Kenton Hall Estate←
-By Susan from Travel Guideline Blog
Cley-Next-the-Sea is a small village with a population of less than 500 people. But despite the small size, there’s so much to see and do!
The most popular attraction is the nearby Cley Marshes, home to thousands of birds and a must-see spot for birders and wildlife photographers. It’s the oldest county wildlife trust in Britain, dating back to 1926. Annually it brings in more than 100,000 visitors. It’s a lovely property with marshes, a beachfront, and views of the Cley Windmill.
In town, you can visit Artemis, a coffee shop with delicious breakfast, scones, coffee and tea. When the weather is nice, their terrace overlooks a marsh area that’s scenic and peaceful. While you’re there, you can also visit The Artemis Barn. It’s a boutique on the same property that carries clothing, home decor items, and gifts of all kinds.
Just across the street is Picnic Fayre, a small grocery and deli housed in the town’s old forge building. They carry all kinds of meats and cheeses, plus an amazing array of chutneys. You can also find homemade cakes and bread, plus locally-grown produce. The store is entirely charming, from the window front to the wine room in the back.
Don’t forget to book a seal-watching trip to Blakeney Point! The tours last 60-90 minutes and depending on the time of year, you will see grey and/or common seals. The boat trip itself is loads of fun and perfect for families with young children.
History buffs will enjoy the Cley Windmill, Felbrigg Hall, and St. Margaret’s Church. The windmill dates to the 1800s. It now operates as a bed-and-breakfast, so consider a stay there if it suits your fancy. Felbrigg Hall is located in nearby Felbrigg Village, and is a 17th-century country house of Stuart architecture. Lastly, St. Margaret’s is an active parish in the Anglican Church, and dates back to the early 1300s.
If you’re taking a Norfolk beach road trip along the A149, you’ll go right through Cley. You can also get there by bus or train.
-By Darek from DarekandGosia.com
Cheddar is one of those beautiful and sleepy English villages which is worth visiting on a weekend trip to take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The village is located in Somerset, in South England. If you travel by train, it is best to reach the seaside resort of Weston-Super-Mare or nearby Bristol, and then take a bus from Westop-Super-Mare 126, or from Bristol 672. All travelling by car from London should drive the M4 motorway to Bristol, then exit on M5. The road to Cheddar itself is well signposted so you will not have a problem reaching it.
The village is not only a land of rock walls, beautiful caves and mountain viewing terraces. Cheddar is famous for its production of sweet yellow cheese which originated there over a thousand years ago! In addition, delicious cheddar Ale is produced in the mini-brewery and available in all local pubs. Tea enthusiasts can enjoy a drink in the local tearoom, famous for its excellent home-made cakes.
Cheese lovers who visit Cheddar because of its famous production should not only visit the original place of its production – in a deep cave – but also see the modern place of cheddar production. On site there are shops where you can buy fresh and original cheese in many varieties.
This might sound cheesy, but Cheddar is really one of the best villages in England.
-By Annemarie from Travel On The Brain
Wembury in Devon, England is a cute little village near Plymouth, right by the coast. But what makes it so special isn’t its cottage style houses but its nature settings. In summer, it’s a great idea to stroll down among the rugged cliffs and take a dip at Wembury Beach. Throw down a towel on the small sandy beach for some sunbathing afterwards.
Should you plan your visit in spring, time it so you can see the ancient woods carpeted by magnificent fields of bluebells. British bluebells are protected and native (and pretty much exclusive) to Britain and are not to be missed.
If you don’t have a car, you can take the local hourly bus 48 from Plymouth to the northern edge of the town (ask for stop ‘Hollacombe’) and start your walk through Traine and Hollacombe Wood down to Wembury Woods.
After entering through the gate, take a left down into the valley and follow the signs towards the village. Already here the bluebells will completely surround you and it’s a breathtaking sight! However, please do not leave paths or step on the flowers as they are very fragile. (This includes pets you may walk or like to place for a pose.)
In total – and if you don’t constantly stop and gaze at the flowers for a prolonged time – the walk through the woods to the Wembury Woods bluebells takes around an hour and is relatively easy to do. There are some inclines but nothing dramatic. Sturdy shoes are advised as the path can still be muddy after a rainy day.
Cadgwith Cove, Cornwall
-By Annabel from Smudged Postcard
Tucked away on the south east coast of the Lizard Peninsula in the English county of Cornwall is Cadgwith Cove. This little fishing village features a tangle of pretty cottages with flower filled gardens and a smattering of appealing shops and pubs. The village has an attractive pebble beach filled with colourful fishing boats. Wander along the coastal path to discover the Devil’s Frying Pan, a deep hole in the cliffs where a cave collapsed into the sea.
As with much of this hidden corner of Cornwall, Cadgwith Cove does not receive the same volume of visitors as other parts of the county, except during the summer BBQ evenings when the whole village is alive with the sound of locals and visitors enjoying freshly cooked fish. Monkfish and king prawns are particularly delicious and you need to come early as the delicious food sells out very quickly. There’s entertainment on the beach for children and an informal bar for refreshments.
Cadgwith Cove can be reached by car from the airports at Newquay or Exeter. It’s worth exploring some of the other villages as well. Fans of the BBC series Poldark will no doubt recognise some of the dramatic coastline which has made this region such an enjoyable place to visit.
Corfe Castle, Dorset
-By Nesrine from KEVMRC
If you like castles and time travel, you should definitely visit Corfe Castle. Located on the Jurassic Coast, the region that runs along the furthest south of the English Channel coast, Corfe Castle is a very pretty and picturesque village in the famous Dorset county. Corfe Castle is actually the best place to stop for a lovely break if you are visiting the region as it is only a 12 min drive from Old Harry Rocks, and 25 min drive from Durdle Door.
As you may have assumed, there is a castle in the village, and what a castle! It can be seen from miles away as it sits on a hill above the village. There are many different viewpoints from where the ruins can be seen throughout the surrounding area. Of course, you can also visit the monument itself to have a full experience and enjoy a nice view of the village from above.
Besides the castle, Corfe Castle is also famous for the old train station where you can take a steam train! Yes, the steam train still works and you can take it for real! Visiting this train station is definitely a travel in the past as it is exactly how you picture the beginning of the 20th century in England.
Corfe Castle has a lot more to offer. Indeed, the village has very charming streets with beautiful stone houses that make it very attractive.
Ready for your trip to Corfe Castle? Find everything you need to know about the village and prepare for your trip with this guide.
→Book your day trip to the Jurassic Coast from Bournemouth with a stop in Corfe Castle←
Dulwich Village, South London
-By Catrina from 24 Hours Layover
Don’t be fooled by Dulwich Village’s proximity to Central London. Dulwich Village is one of the most quaint English villages and one of the only neighbourhoods in the capital that has managed to hold onto its unique and true village charm. Located in Zone 3 in the London borough of Southwark, Dulwich Village is known for the world-class Dulwich College and the famous Dulwich Picture Gallery built by Sir John Soane, which features paintings by Rembrandt and Reubens, amongst others.
Dulwich Village is an upmarket and exclusive neighbourhood full of upper-class families residing in its many mansions and cottages. Many buildings here are Grade II listed, including the local pub, and there are plenty of independent boutique stores and cafes. There are many green spaces here for families to enjoy such as Dulwich Park and Dulwich Wood. You can also see the only remaining London Tollgate here, just past Dulwich College. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you’re in Dulwich Village.
The easiest way to get there from Central London is to take the train from either London Victoria (arrives at West Dulwich station) or London Bridge (arrives at North Dulwich station). Both routes take around 15 minutes and Dulwich Village is located in between the two stations. Click here to find train times and tickets.
The nearest Underground Station is Brixton however it is almost 2 miles away so you should take the P4 bus from Brixton to Dulwich Village once you get off the tube. There are several other ways to reach Dulwich Village depending on your location, so the best thing to do is to always check the Citymapper app as it will show you the cheapest and fastest way to reach anywhere in London from your current location.
Rye, East Sussex
-By Aimee from Snap Happy Travel
Rye is a quaint market town nestled towards the coast of East Sussex. It’s only a 30-minute drive from Hastings and easily accessible by bus. The poster child for Rye is Mermaid Street with its storybook charm. Mermaid Street is a winding cobbled street with great views of slightly wonky stone and timber houses; reminiscent of a Harry Potter film if you’re into that sort of thing.
Be sure to pop into the coziest pub in prime position on the street for a pint or some afternoon tea; The Mermaid Inn is an amazingly well preserved 15th century pub and inn with a beautifully decorated interior.
There is certainly much more to see and do in Rye than the famous Mermaid Street. Why not stop for a coffee at Cafe des Fleurs on Station Road, or if you fancy the most amazing hot chocolate then you can’t miss Knoops, perfect for a cold winter’s day. For the best view of Rye, climb up the Bell tower of St Mary’s Church to see this historic town in all its glory.
If you have more time why not take a walk out to Camber Sands which is a long stretch of golden sand, a 20-minute walk from Rye. Aim to catch a sunset while you’re there and watch the sky light up with a spectacular show.
→Book your stay at the gorgeous Mermaid Inn←
Alfriston, East Sussex
-By Rick from The Road Is Life
Alfriston is a very small, quintessentially English village in East Sussex surrounded by the incredible natural beauty of the South Downs hills. The village of Alfriston dates back to the Saxon period, making it one of the oldest in the county. It later became a market town in the middle ages and still retains much of its medieval spirit to this day.
A wander down the village’s charming high street is sure to transport you to times gone by. Admire the well preserved timber-framed buildings that line the narrow street and make sure to stop for lunch and a pint at one of the beautiful historic pubs.
The Star Inn makes a good choice for a traditional English pub experience. It dates back to the 15th century when it served as a shelter for pilgrims making their way to Chichester. Nowadays you can expect to be served delicious pub food and try out some local ales.
Another great option is the George Inn which is a classic old pub on the high street serving up excellent food with a cosy atmosphere. It dates back to the 14th century when it was the first pub in Alfriston to be granted an Innkeepers licence.
A 20-minute drive south of Alfriston will take you to The Seven Sisters and Beachy Head, a series of chalky white cliffs that will take your breath away with their beauty. A great option for a day trip would be to combine a visit to the cliffs with a lunch stop and an afternoon stroll around Alfriston.
Getting to Alfriston is only a 20 minute drive from Eastbourne or a 30 minute drive from Brighton. If you’re travelling from London, the drive will take up to 2 hours and by train, it’s a 1.5 hour journey.
You can catch the train from London Victoria to Polegate and then catch an 8 minute taxi from there to Alfriston. Click here for more details on train times and tickets.
→Browse accommodation options in Alfriston←
-By Ann from The Road Is Life
Wye is a tiny medieval village nestled in the heart of the Kent Downs. This part of England has been named “an area of outstanding natural beauty” as it’s home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Southeast. Located only 1 hour from London by train, the village of Wye makes the perfect day out in Kent for those seeking a peaceful countryside retreat.
The most popular thing to do in Wye is to go for a scenic walk in the hills surrounding the village. There are a number of walks of varying length depending on your preference. Each one offers stunning countryside views and viewpoints that will take your breath away.
An easy walk that only takes 30 minutes begins in the village centre and leads you up to the Wye Memorial Crown in the hills. The view from the top is spectacular. Click here to find more detailed information about hiking around Wye.
After you’ve worked up an appetite from all that walking, make your way back to the village for a delicious pub meal. The village of Wye is home to a few of the cutest old English pubs around.
The Tickled Trout is one of the most popular ones, and for good reason. This historic pub is perfectly situated on the edge of the Stour River and has the loveliest outdoor beer garden. Whether you visit during winter or summer, the Tickled Trout is the best pub in Wye for delicious food and post hike pints.
Getting to Wye from London requires catching the train from London’s St Pancras Station to Ashford. You will then get on the train toward Canterbury West and get off at the next stop which is Wye. Click here for more details on train times and tickets.
Planning your trip to England? Read more of our travel guides!
- An amazing one week road trip from London
- The perfect day trip itinerary to Dover from London
- The top 10 day trips to Kent from London
- How to spend a full day in the historic town of Canterbury
- The ultimate day trip from London to Bath itinerary
- The 10 best tours to the Cotswolds from London
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What a comprehensive coverage of quaint English villages. Wish I had all this info back in the day when I traveled around England.
Glad you enjoyed the post! Never too late to head back and tick more of these beautiful villages off your list 🙂
It was such a pleasure contributing this guide and I’ve LOVED reading all the other recommendations. There are so many beautiful places I still need to visit in England.
Thank you so much for your lovely contribution and beautiful photos!
Oh my gosh! They all look so beautiful. I want to visit each and every one of them. A month-long road trip through England and Wales would be a dream trip! Burton-on-the-Water would be at the top of my list. Thank for such a great post!
So glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 The Cotswolds are full of gorgeous villages, it’s hard to pick just a few to visit!
Stunning selection! I’ve only been to Stratford-Upon-Avon in this list, but pinning for my UK trip this year ❤
So glad you liked the post! Enjoy your time in the UK 🙂
So many of my favourites here! I’m lucky enough to live in the south west so am spoilt for choice!
Thank you so much for your contribution Jo. The south west definitely has so many gems!
lol I love how the first like 5 are just Cotswold villages. I really need to explore that area more! Absolutely love Stratford. I also cannot believe I’ve never been to Rye, considering I lived pretty close to there for a few years!!! It’s amazing what you miss on your doorstep, isn’t it haha.
Right!? The Cotswolds have an epic collection of the most stunning little English villages! And totally check out Rye if you get a chance, it’s one of my all time favs!