Christmas is fast approaching and the festive feeling is already upon us. This is a time to snuggle up by the fire, indulge in all the festive foods, relax with a good book and spend time with your family. But where will our prettiest winter villages be this year?
We pick 10 picturesque villages around the country, in the Peak District, North Yorkshire, Dorset and the Cotswolds. All have one thing in common; they're the perfect places to visit this Christmas.
1. Castle Combe, Wiltshire
Castle Combe often appears in our regular round-ups. Will it snow this Christmas in this picturesque village? Time will tell, but this is surely a contender for 2016’s prettiest Christmas village.
“Castle Combe has been called 'The Prettiest Village in England' and with good reason; visitors have been coming to enjoy its charms for at least a century and the small street leading from the Market Cross down to the By Brook is as picturesque today as it ever was,” says the Castle Combe village website.
“The village has played host to many filming activities, the most famous of these being ‘Doctor Doolittle’, filmed in and around the village in 1966. More recently the village has had a major role in 'War Horse'.”
Property prices range from over £1,000,000 for a large period detached home, to £330,000 for a cute two-bed terrace.
2. Ceres, Scotland
There is no shortage of beautiful villages across Scotland. Here is a stunning part of the country, with attractive stone cottages, The Ceres Inn and this is one of the only villages in Scotland to have its own village green.
“Ceres is a remarkably unspoilt and attractive village. As you wander the streets you do get a sense of travelling back in time,” says Undiscovered Scotland.
A four-bedroom detached property near Ceres costs around £400,000. Three bedroom homes cost around £150,000.
3. Lacock, Wiltshire
Lacock has many claims to fame, from appearing in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Downton Abbey and the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. It would make the perfect place to live with its stone cottages full of character.
“Arrive in Lacock village and you could be forgiven for thinking you've just entered the scene of a recent wizard battle or turned up to meet Mr Darcy for a dance at the assembly rooms,” says the National Trust.
A stunning historic property near Lacock can cost up to £1,250,000. At the other end of the market, a three-bedroom terrace property starts at £200,000.
4. Slingsby, North Yorkshire
Think of the perfect country village and Slingsby ticks all the boxes. It has a bakery, local pub, and even a castle.
Slingsby lies at the foot of the gently sloping land which forms the northern edge of the Howardian Hills (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), with the Vale of Pickering spreading out to its north and east. On the western edge of the village lie the ruins of a 17th-century manor house called Slingsby ‘Castle’,” says Slingsby Village website.
A detached family home in the village can cost £550,000. There are new build properties in the area which cost around £325,000.
5. Broadway, Worcestershire
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to pretty villages in the Cotswolds. Broadway stands out for its artists and writers, including J.M. Barrie, William Morris, and John Singer Sargent.
“The beautiful and historic Cotswold village of Broadway is a memorable place to stay and a perfect base from which to tour the local area and enjoy the stunning walks. The pretty High Street is lined with horse chestnut trees and includes a mixture of period houses and picturesque honey-coloured Cotswold stone cottages,” says Broadway Cotswolds.
Premium family homes can sell for up to £2,000,000 here, while small apartments and bungalows can cost as little as £100,000.
6. Evershot, Dorset
“There were 10-15cm of snow on the ground in the village of Evershot in January 2013,” according to ITV. Will snow return to this picturesque village in Dorset this winter?
“It is an increasingly rare village, having a church with a ring of six functional bells, a post office/shop, doctors' surgery, primary school, bakery, pub, and a hotel,” says Evershot.org.
There’s a great community atmosphere, with the 200 residents coming together during the festive season for the annual Christmas party.
Grand family homes in the countryside immediately surrounding Evershot can cost over £750,000. A two or three bedroom home will cost around £300,000.
7. Beeley, Derbyshire
Chatsworth House stands out as one of Britain’s most impressive country estates. The village of Beeley nearby is equally as charming with its period properties and popular pub.
“Beeley sits snugly amongst the gently undulating wooded hills which rise on the east bank of the River Derwent about a mile and a half due south of Chatsworth House, the home of the Duke & Duchess of Devonshire,” says Peak District Online.
Properties do not come up for sale often here. To live nearby, it would cost over £1,000,000 for a premium country home with five or six bedrooms. A one-bedroom property could cost under £150,000.
8. Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire
Chalfont St Giles makes our Christmas top 10 for many reasons. The best dressed Christmas window competition invites local businesses to design festive windows. Children at the local school then announce one winner every year. It has a quintessentially English duck pond, with period properties, a great variety of restaurants and attractive churches. The village also won the Pushman Cup for the Best Kept Village in Buckinghamshire award in 2016.
Prime property is abundant in this area, with detached properties with land regularly achieving over £2,000,000. Smaller properties with two bedrooms cost upwards of £250,000.
9. Bibury, Gloucestershire
“Bibury was once described by William Morris as ‘the most beautiful village in England’. The cottages of Arlington Row are often referred to as the most photographed and beautiful cottages in the country,” says Bibury.com.
Highlights include the Rive Coln flowing through the centre of the village, beautiful stained glass windows in the church and it even appeared in the 1992 Christmas stamp set issued by the Royal Mail.
There are lots of country manors in the area, some costing over £4,000,000. A period two-bedroom cottage can cost around £400,000.
10. Belford, Northumberland
“Belford is an ancient village situated in north Northumberland. In the centre of the village, you will find Market Square and its medieval cross. It is a thriving community with a large number of community clubs, societies, a host of local businesses and many places to stay. The village is great for cycling or walking holidays and is just a short distance from the Northumberland coast,” says Belford Village website.
“Belford is an ideal base for those wishing to explore the rich history of the area, to fish, to play golf, to walk or simply to relax soaking up the beautiful landscapes ranging from sandy beaches through wild moorland to the splendour of the Cheviots hills.”
Properties are more affordable here, with five-bedroom detached homes costing under £500,000. Properties start at £85,000.
These Christmas villages are all great places to visit in the winter or live year-round. Start your property search on Fine & Country's homepage, or click here to request a valuation on your property.
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