Top 15 prettiest villages in England

30 Most Picturesque Villages In England Worth Visiting

20 mins read

England is known for its picturesque villages. Finding the ultimate frozen-in-time picturesque village has become a popular pastime – especially for those looking to escape the city smog. If you’re looking for a slice of your dreamy rural perfection, here are my all-time favourite gems…

1. Polperro, Cornwall

Polperro village

This picturesque village on the edge of a harbour was voted the prettiest village in Cornwall, and I personally love it here! I recommend meandering through the narrow lanes to see the unique and very quirky stores, taking a boat trip out to one of the nearby islands, and stopping for a drink in one of the small pubs.

There is a heritage museum about the fishing and smuggling that has kept this place alive, so I would also suggest paying a visit. For a particularly scenic walk, I would also suggest walking along the coast or the river estuary, which runs through the Polperro village.

My trip to Polperro…

YouTube video

2. Castleton, Peak District National Park 

Castleton - 10 of the prettiest English villages on

Dating back to the 11th century, this popular village (sometimes crowded in summer) has many attractions. Known as the “Gem of the Peaks, ” you can visit Peveril Castle, the Odin Mine, or one of the four Castleton underground caves.

The rolling hills surrounding the village on three sides can be explored along the numerous walking paths, and there are many holiday cottages I recommend staying in so you can extend your stay a little longer! 

3. Castle Combe, Wiltshire

Castle Coombe - prettiest villages in England

This place is stunning! I recommend walking from Market Cross towards the By Brook through this village, which is a gem! Overlooking the village are the remains of an ancient castle fort.

The lanes are lined with 100-year-old typical Cotswold houses where the artisans lived when the village was a major cog in the wool industry in the Middle Ages.

The quaint English village has starred in films like Doctor Doolittle, Stardust and The Wolf Man.

Wild animals love this village as much as tourists. It is in a conservation area, and both the natural countryside and the buildings are protected by law, so I suggest trying to spot them while you’re here!

4. Bibury, The Cotswolds, Gloucestershire 

Bibury village England

I’m always charmed by this Cotwolds Village! Described by 19th-century artist-writer William Morris as “the most beautiful village in England” the narrow high street leads down to the River Coln where there is a cute river bridge.

The pretty Cotswold village is a typical village in this picture-perfect area. Here, you can see Arlington Row, with weaver’s cottages from the 17th century, the Bibury Trout Farm, or the village church of St. Mary.

The remains of a hillside fort overlook the village and the river splits the village in half, the river is full of trout and the river meadow, Rack Island is populated only by wildlife.

5. Clovelly, Devon 

Clovelly pretty village Devon

This private village has cobbled streets and no motorized vehicles along the high street. It is built in a cleft of a cliff, surrounded by dense woodlands sloping down to the sea. The narrow lanes are lined with whitewashed cottages, each adorned with colourful window boxes.

 As a private village, there is an entrance fee to the village, which traditional craftsmen meticulously preserve.

I would highly recommend finding a cottage or guest house here for an idyllic summer break. Just remember that it’s a steep place, so you have to be fairly able-bodied to visit.

6. Shere, Surrey 

Shere Village Surrey

This is a dreamy and now famous gem! This small village, deep in the heart of Surrey, features a level of photogenic beauty that will capture your imagination as quickly as it did for the producers of The Holiday and Bridget Jones, both of which were filmed here! 

If describing twee British ‘romcoms’ doesn’t give you an idea of what it’s all about… It has a couple of pubs, a stream that winds through the village, and numerous cute tearooms, which I recommend checking out to get into the quaint vibe!

If you want to saunter through one of Surrey‘s most beautiful villages and experience a real village feel, then stop by. You’ll be glad you did.

7. Amberley, West Sussex 

Amberley village, West Sussex

Oh, Amberly, how you captured my heart! I personally think this is one of the beautiful downland villages situated between the Downs, Amberley Mount, the South Down Way, and the River Arun. The river floods in the winter and is responsible for the moist ground and nearby swamplands.

The village castle is now a hotel, and behind it is the Amberley Swamp. Visit the Amberley Working Museum to see antique agricultural tools and industrial machinery,

The museum also hosts an annual beer festival. For a local pint, I would suggest visiting the Black Horse to see what the village houses look like from the inside.

From the outside, the homes in the village are mostly thatched roofed with thick stone walls framed by colourful flower beds.

8. Whitby, Yorkshire

Whitby seaside town Yorkshire

The setting for one of the most famous thrillers of all time! The village is the primary setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula and has beauty with a touch of bleak North Sea ruggedness all wrapped into one easy-to-visit package! I’m a huge fan of the quirky vibe it has.

If you are into titillation, indulge your inner paranormal vibe by visiting Whitby Abbey, where gothic ruins jut like broken teeth from the hillside overlooking the village, or take a ghost tour.

Alternatively, if you are more straight-laced, pop by for fish and chips at the harbour or walk the dog and go shell collecting on the beach. The wind from the North Sea can have a bit of an edge, so I would suggest taking a coat…thank me later! 

9. Mousehole, Cornwall

Mousehole, Cornwall in England

Aw this is a cutie! This is a sleepy but impossibly pretty fishing port and village near Penzance, Cornwall. With a cute and quirky name and boats gently swaying in the salty breeze, I thought this place was postcard-pretty.

It’s also steeped in history—the Spaniards sacked it in 1595, and a hundred years ago, it was a bustling port. Today, it’s still filled with an old-world charm, and it tends to attract discerning visitors.

10. Lamberhurst, Kent

Scotney Castle Kent

The village is home to Scotney Castle, surrounded by a moat; it is one of the most romantic castles in England. Here, you can also see the Sprivers Horsmonden 18th-century garden, where there is a walk through the woodlands.

There are also several historic houses like the Georgian Finchcock House with a collection of keyboard instruments, and the Victorian Ladham House.

I would suggest exploring the stunning countryside and the Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest or the Lamberhurst Vineyard.

11. Haworth, West Yorkshire

Haworth, West Yorkshire in England

This is a gem of Bronte Country! Enter Bronte Country on the edge of the Pennine moors, with wide-open expanses of fields.

I suggest taking the steam train to the village and visiting the cute Bronte Parsonage Museum, where the sisters once lived. You can find interesting stores, pubs, and teashops in historic buildings along the cobbled high street.

The village hosts many events, like the 1940s weekend. To feel like you are in Wuthering Heights, walk along the country paths nearby. I would also recommend visiting the Bronte Waterfalls and Top Withens.

12. Ambleside, Lake District, Cumbria

Ambleside village in Cumbria

This village is so pretty! Just outside Ambleside is Stock Ghyll Force, a 21-metre-high waterfall surrounded by daffodils in the spring.

The water from the River Rothay flows into the village under the Bridge House and onto 12 watermills.

I suggest walking down the village’s high street, which will give you a view of some of the mills and the countryside, which can be seen over the rooftops.

13. Rye, East Sussex

Rye Village East Sussex

A gorgeous corner of South East England, this East Sussex gem is as postcard-perfect as pretty villages get. 

It has a colourful past filled with smuggling and maritime conflict, but today, it’s a much more peaceful place. Here, you’ll find a pretty labyrinth of winding streets and passageways, quirky shops, nature walks, charming traditional pubs, and medieval inns and cafes.

I personally think it’s a dreamy delight, especially for stressed-out Londoners!

14. Flatford, Suffolk

Flatford village - prettiest villages in England

Come here if you’re an art fan! Quaint Flatford is close to East Bergholt in Suffolk and is best known for the 18th-century Flatford Mill, Willy Lott’s Cottage (featured in the famous Constable painting “The Hay Wain”), the Granary Barn, and Bridge Cottage.

The thatched roof cottages are framed by greenery, and the 16th-century Bridge Cottage greeted me as I arrived and crossed over the picture-perfect wooden bridge. Blissful! 

Flatford’s oldest building is the 15th-century Medieval Hall House. John Constable, one of the UK’s old masters, immortalized the pretty hamlet in his paintings.

15. Aylesford, Kent

Aylesford village in Kent

Kent – otherwise known as the Garden of England – has some serious contenders for this list, but this is one of my favourites.

The large but very pretty community is located on the River Medway through an impressive 14th-century medieval five-arched bridge.

The village is filled with interesting and historic buildings, including 17th-century thatched barns and Aylesford Priory, built in 1242 when the first Carmelites arrived from Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. It’s also home to the finest intact medieval courtyards in England.

16. Turville, Buckinghamshire

Turville - pretty village in Buckinghamshire

Ah, this is a charming Home Counties gem! Soft, golden light, slanty-roofed timber-frame cottages bedecked with hanging baskets, greenery, and countryside for miles around are how I would describe it!

Turville in Buckinghamshire won’t be the place to get it if you want to be busy, but it’s a tiny and very beautiful village, so why would you? It has one (proper country) pub, a tiny ‘high street’, and the Chilterns on its doorstep.

I’m unsurprised that it’s been used as a film set for numerous television and movie productions. If you’ve never seen The Vicar of Dibley, don’t worry; I know you’ll have seen the nearby Cobstone Windmill in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! 

17. Snowshill, Cotswolds

Snowshill Village Cotswolds

This is another Cotswolds gem! Yellow stone cottages at dubious angles and ancient gardens are what you’ll get if you visit Snowshill.

It’s ideal if you’re rambling the Cotswolds and want a country pint. On a rainy day, pop into Snowshill Manor, run by the National Trust.

I would recommend pottering around the gardens and heading inside to see a vast collection of trinkets from the past, including toys, full suits of armour, and much more.

If you’ve ever watched Bridget Jones’s Diary, you know that certain scenes were filmed here, including the village green and a local house featured as the home of Bridget’s parents.

18. Sydling Saint Nicholas, Dorset

Sydling Saint Nicholas
Andrew Smith

Sydling Saint Nicholas, located in Dorest, is beautiful and comes into its own in the summer months. I have to say it’s not the biggest place, and you will be able to see it in a day, but there’s plenty to do.

In my opinion, it’s a perfectly acceptable place to meander around, crossing tiny stone bridges over the chalk stream on which it was founded.

Take in the sights as you wander amongst walls adorned with rose bushes, creepers, and Primrose flowers. Or, if you want a real selfie to be proud of, I would suggest taking a little trip out of town to the huge chalk painting at Cerne Abbas. 

19. Lacock, Wiltshire 

Lacock Village Wiltshire

Wiltshire and wizards! If you are a Harry Potter fan, then you will already have seen plenty of Lacock. The village is a picture of preservation, with timbered houses and stone cottages galore. The locals are so committed to retaining its ‘look’ that even streetlamps and TV aerials are forbidden.

The nearby abbey remains pretty intact, and you’ll step over stones and cloisters that have been in situ for the past 800 years. Due to its aura, the place has been used to film a variety of well-known productions.

Although its value as a tourist town has increased slightly in recent years, it still retains a certain quiet sleepiness.

20. Seahouses, Northumberland

Seahouses Northumberland

Being a bit further ‘up North’ Seahouses is slightly different in architecture and style than my other choices. The Northumberland coast is windswept, bleak, and, in my opinion, ruggedly beautiful, just like this large village on the coast! 

The Northumberland coast has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so you know it’s going to look great. Whatever you do, whether it’s a bracing walk or cycling, I suggest getting out and enjoying the fresh air here—there is plenty of it!

There are boat trips from the harbour to nearby Farne Island, which I love doing. I recommend taking your camera and watching thousands of Puffins wheel and dive overhead. They are super cute and highly photogenic!

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