Few places compare with Britain’s country villages. They offer rural retreats, hidden hideaways and a slice of country life. Prices can vary from £400,000 for a cute Cotswold cottage, to a multi-million-pound country manor in Sussex. We have scoured the UK to find the top 20 prettiest villages. Discover your perfect property.
1. Beddgelert, Gwynedd, North Wales
In the heart of Snowdonia, Beddgelert is regarded as one of the prettiest villages in the region.
The Beddgelert Tourism Association say: “The village, in keeping with its location in the Snowdonia National Park, is picturesque and unspoilt. Small and friendly, it boasts a full range of amenities, including great guesthouses, arts and crafts, restaurants, and traditional pubs.”
It certainly is one of the most attractive villages in Wales.
Prices range from £180,000 for a two-bedroom cottage to £450,000 to run your own guest house.
2. Rye, East Sussex
Rye is a fortified hilltop town with cobbled streets, tea rooms, and historic properties.
“One of the best preserved medieval towns in England, Rye is home to the enchanting cobbled Mermaid Street, the impressive Norman church of St Mary’s, a rich selection of specialist shops and a thriving fishing fleet. Rye was once surrounded on three sides by the sea and its maritime heritage dates back to Norman times,” said tourist board 1066 Country.
Prices range from £185,000 for a one-bedroom flat to over £850,000 for a large five-bedroom detached house.
3. Shaftesbury, Dorset
The setting for one of ‘Britain’s best-loved adverts’ is in Shaftesbury. In a 1973 advert for Hovis bread, a baker’s boy had to push his bike to the top of the cobbled hill. Even now, people still visit the village to see the famous hill. The village has a farmers’ market, information centre, museum and supermarket.
Prices range from £800,000 for a six-bedroom historic home, to £100,000 for a one-bed apartment.
4. West Somerton, Norfolk
If you’re in search of a quintessential country village, try West Somerton.
“West Somerton is a lovely quiet backwater, ideal for fishing, walking, messing about in boats or just lazing around. There is a wind farm near the village and a lovely ancient church,” say Tour Norfolk.
Property doesn’t come on the market often, so be sure to snap up anything that comes onto the market. A three-bedroom terrace nearby can cost upwards of £140,000, while four-bedroom detached homes cost around £400,000.
5. Lavenham, Sudbury, Suffolk
This must be one of Britain’s finest villages, and at this time of the year it has a full calendar of activity.
“Lavenham offers the perfect backdrop with fine historic buildings, the National Trust Guildhall and the church of St Peter and St Paul with the tallest village church tower in England,” says Discover Lavenham. “The village plays host to live events, car rallies, and has been an inspirational location shoot for TV productions and films including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One.”
A grand five-bedroom family home can cost up to £900,000, or a two-bedroom apartment from £220,000.
6. Craster, Northumberland
Here is a picturesque country village perfect for nature lovers.
“Go bird spotting in the Arnold Memorial Nature Reserve, owned by the Northumberland Wildlife Trust,” recommends Visit Northumberland. “This green haven attracts a variety of birdlife where rarities including wryneck, icterine and red-breasted flycatchers have been recorded. Browse seaside inspired artwork and crafts at The Mick Oxley Gallery, or just sit and watch boating life go by. In stormy times, fishermen still haul their boats high out of the sea’s reach.
“Craster is famed as being the home of the Kipper, a smoked fish delicacy exported to food lovers across the country, and reputedly popular with the British Royal Family.”
Properties do not become available here often. To live nearby, a four-bedroom detached home can be £600,000. For a two-bedroom property, expect to pay around £200,000.
7. Ilmington, Cotswolds
Ilmington stands out in our top 20 for a number of reasons. It has two welcoming inns, The Red Lion and The Howard Arms, Morris men, and a tennis club.
“Ilmington is a beautiful village mainly built of warm honey coloured local Cotswolds limestone nestling at the foot of the Campden hills, in particular Windmill Hill, surrounded by green fields and classed as part of the Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty,” says Cotswolds Info.
There are regal manor houses within a few miles of the village that can cost upwards of £3,000,000. Properties are saught after, with two-bedroom homes costing up to £400,000.
8. Goathland, North Yorkshire
Goathland is a showbiz village in the North Yorkshire Moors. Both Heartbeat and the first Harry Potter films were shot here, and visitors have flocked to the village ever since.
The North York Moors National Park recommend arriving on the trains of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, then enjoying lots of local strolls and hikes. The station may be familiar as 'Hogsmeade' station from the early Harry Potter films.
You could run your own guest house for £900,000, or have a two-bedroom property for around £250,000.
9. Tobermory, Isle Of Mull, Argyllshire
On the Scottish Isle of Mull, this seaside town is known for its colourful houses and as the filming location of children’s TV show Balamory. The port is always busy with fishing boats and the ferry to and from Kilchoan.
The vistor information centre says: “Tobermory was built as a fishing port in the late 18th century and is now the main town on Mull. It is a picture-postcard of a place with the brightly painted buildings along the main street to the pier and the high woodland-fringed hills surrounding the bay. The town has a good variety of shops, hotels, and other accommodation as well as being the administrative centre for the island.”
You can pick up small plots of land for £75,000. A house on the sea front can cost around £500,000.
10. Hambledon, Hampshire
Cricket lovers should head to Hambledon in the South Downs National Park.
“Hambledon is the "Cradle of Cricket" where the laws of the present-day game were formalised in 1770 and the early notable matches were played on Broadhalfpenny Down in the eighteenth century,” says Hambledon Hants.
A three bedroom detached home can cost up to £400,000, while five-bedroom detached homes cost around £800,000.
11. Crail, Scotland
This hidden gem sits on the east coast of Scotland.
Visit Scotland say: “Crail is a historic fishing village in the pretty East Neuk of Fife. Explore the narrow wynds of the village or simply take a walk along the quaint harbour to see the fishing boats.”
“Charming cobbled streets tumble down to the miniature harbour, which is sheltered by cliffs and surrounded by historic fishing cottages. Crail is a historic fishing village on the East Neuk of Fife coast and is well worth a visit.”
A one bedroom bungalow is only around £100,000. If you’d like a chance to run your own business, there are hotels for sale, starting at £600,000.
12. Hawkshead, Cumbria
For pure escapism, Hawkshead is the answer.
“In the heart of the English Lake District, Hawkshead is a truly historic and wonderfully picturesque village characterised by its cluster of whitewashed houses, archways and alleways, courtyards and squares,” say Hawkshead Tourist Information.
“A prosperous mediaeval wool town, its rich history includes important connections with the poet William Wordsworth and children's story author Beatrix Potter.”
A lakeside home can cost upwards of £3,000,000. A two-bedroom terrace in the area can cost £170,000.
13. Grassington, Yorkshire Dales
Get away from it all in the Yorkshire Dales. Here you will find beautiful waterfalls, undulating countryside, and friendly people.
“There's nothing quite like a Yorkshire Dales village,” say Grassington Tourism. “In Grassington we have everything that comes to mind when you imagine a typical village: stunning views, beautiful stone buildings, quirky shops and friendly pubs; however there is so much more to Grassington than meets the eye.”
“Rain does not stop play in Grassington. It is good for the waterfalls which are spectacular particularly the falls at Linton. With lots to see and do, Grassington is always open for fun.”
A six-bedroom home can cost under £500,000, while one-bedroom apartments start at £120,000.
14. Finchingfield, Essex
This village ticks all the boxes. It is beautiful, historic, and full of charm.
“The Mediaeval and Georgian cottages are arranged along the winding country lanes,” say About Britain.
“The village centre has a sizeable duck pond and a village green. There are three charming pubs, a post office, general store, a health centre and a primary school. Visitors can even buy a copy of the newsy parish magazine, the Villager, from the local post office.”
Cute period cottages start at £325,000, while the neighbouring stately mansions can cost £3,000,000.
15. Blakeney, Norfolk
Nature lovers will feel at home in Blakeney, with regular boat trips to see the local seal colony.
“Blakeney started life as a busy medieval commercial port until the estuary began to silt up preventing all but pleasure craft from gaining access,” say Tour Norfolk.
“Blakeney village is set on a small hill leading down to the harbour and has pretty flint cottages (many for holiday rent), shops, cafe's, restaurants, hotels, pubs and inns. In a side street off the quay is the 14th century Guildhall which has an early example of a brick built vaulted ceiling. The beautifully restored, village church is large and spacious.”
A three bedroom terrace cottage costs around £315,000, while a larger detached property with five bedrooms can cost over £1,200,000.
16. Wycoller, Lancashire
If you’re looking for a writer’s retreat, head to Wycoller in Lancashire. The Brontes spent much of their life in the area, and the nearby Wycoller Hall is thought to be inspiration for Ferndean Manor in the novel Jane Eyre written by Charlotte Bronte, according to Beautiful Britain.
Wycoller was featured in the BBC's Countryfile programme and it also appears in the 1970 film "The Railway Children".
Two bedroom cottages start at £110,000. For a historic three-bedroom house, expect to pay £500,000.
17. Nunney, Somerset
If you’re looking for a beautiful village with a historic castle at its heart, then Nunney is definitely worth a look.
“The ruin of medieval Nunney Castle, inspired by French castles seen by Sir John de la Mare on campaign has walls largely intact and it is in perfect scale with its surroundings,” explains Visit Somerset.
“A village trail, available from Frome Tourist Information, is the best way to explore the points of interest including the parish church and the George, an old character coaching inn. Once a year on the first Saturday in August the village streets are turned over to stalls of all kinds for a good old fashioned Street Fayre.”
Five-bedroom family homes cost up to £600,000. Two-bedroom properties start at £180,000.
18. Hathersage, Derbyshire
This Derbyshire village is heaven for rock climbing enthusiasts.
“Hathersage is a popular centre for walkers and rock-climbers, for on its east side the village is overlooked by moorland and a line of gritstone edges of which Stanage Edge is the largest. There are also spectacular tors, such as Higgar Tor, and the enigmatic hillfort at Carl Wark, which has so far defied archaeologists' attempts to date it,” say Peak District Information.
“Charlotte Bronte visited Hathersage in 1845 and used it as the 'Norton' of the story 'Jane Eyre' - taking the heroine's surname from the local family.”
Historic country homes can cost up to £3,000,000. Semi-detached homes start at around £250,000.
19. Dale, Pembrokeshire
If you’re looking to relocate with the whole family, the Pembrokeshire coast could be the perfect location. With lots of things to do and beautiful beaches to enjoy, there’s fun for all the family.
“The traditional activities of agriculture and fishing still take place and have been joined by tourism as a major aspect of the area,” explain Dale Village.
“The village is a popular location for family holidays – safe beaches and lots of water-based activities such as sailing, swimming, surfing, kayaking and windsurfing. The area has an abundance of wildlife including birds, seals, dolphins and porpoise. The cliffs and coastal path also provide stunning views and the chance to see a wide variety of beautiful wild flowers.”Properties rarely come on the market here, so be sure to snap up your dream home if you find it. A five-bedroom home can cost over £800,000.
20. St Agnes, Cornwall
Sitting in both an area of outstanding natural beauty and a world heritage site, St Agnes is being preserved for the future. And there’s an obvious reason why. With an incredible sandy beach, picturesque cliffs, and a great community spirit, this could make you feel like you’re on holiday year-round.
“Our compact little village has a thriving and creative local community which supports lots of independent shops and businesses,” boasts St Agnes.
“Add beautiful, dog-friendly beaches, world-class pubs and restaurants, and access to some of the county's most stunning coast path and walks, it's not hard to see why we're so proud of where we live.”
A large property with a sea view will regularly cost over £1,000,000. In land, a two-bedroom cottage can cost £250,000.
To discover beautiful properties in these locations, search on our homepage at www.fineandcountry.com/uk.
To discover beautiful properties in these locations, search on our homepage at www.fineandcountry.com/uk.
Note: House prices updated July 2017. Intended as a rough guide only.
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