Few places compare with Britain’s country villages. They offer rural retreats, hidden hideaways and a slice of country life. Prices can vary from £375,000 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. West Somerton, Norfolk
If you are in search of a quintessential country village, try West Somerton. It is ideal for fishing, walking and boating. There is a wind farm near the village and a pretty ancient church.
Property does not come on the market often, and those that do get snapped up quickly. A three-bedroom terrace nearby can cost in the region of £250,000, while five-bedroom detached homes cost up to £700,000.
2. Lavenham, 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 and the tallest village church tower in England.
The village plays host to live events, car rallies and has been the location for TV productions and films including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
A grand five-bedroom family home can cost up to £850,000, or a two-bedroom terrace from £250,000. If you visit the next village you can find a grand nine-bedroom period home costing up to £1,450,000.
3. Tobermory, Scotland
On the Scottish Isle of Mull, this seaside town may be larger than a village, but it shares a similar atmosphere. It 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.
Tobermory was built as a fishing port in the late 18th century and is now the main town on Mull. It has 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 £55,000. Nearby, a flat on the seafront can cost around £530,000, while a nine-bedroom home in the countryside costs up to £800,000.
4. Ilmington, Cotswolds
Ilmington stands out in our top 20 for several reasons: it has two welcoming inns, The Red Lion and The Howard Arms, as well as 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, which is surrounded by green fields and classed as part of the Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty.
There are four-bedroom period homes within a few miles of the village that can cost upwards of £1,500,000. A two-bedroom terrace cottage costs around £375,000.
5. Finchingfield, Essex
This village ticks all the boxes; it is beautiful, historic and full of charm. The medieval and Georgian cottages are arranged along the winding country lanes. 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.
Cute two-bedroom semi-detached period cottages start at £315,000, while a seven-bedroom detached home with attractive gardens in the next village can cost £3,500,000.
6. Beddgelert, North Wales
In the heart of Snowdonia, Beddgelert is regarded as one of the prettiest villages in the region.
The village, in keeping with its location in the Snowdonia National Park, is picturesque and unspoiled. The small and friendly village boasts a full range of amenities including great guesthouses, arts and crafts shops and workshops, restaurants and traditional pubs. It certainly is one of the most attractive villages in Wales.
Properties in this area are popular. In nearby villages, prices range from £300,000 to £725,000 for a three-bedroom detached house, while two-bedroom terraces can cost around £130,000.
7. 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 close to £800,000 for a four-bedroom historic home to £190,000 for a two-bedroom terraced house.
8. 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 18th century.
A two-bedroom semi-detached home can cost around £365,000, while four-bedroom detached homes cost around £1,895,000.
9. Rye, East Sussex
Rye is a fortified hilltop town with cobbled streets, tea rooms and historic properties.
The medieval town is home to the enchanting cobbled Mermaid Street, the impressive Norman Church of St Mary, 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 to Norman times.
Prices range from £180,000 for a two-bedroom flat to £1,850,000 for a four-bedroom detached house on the desirable Mermaid Street.
10. Craster, Northumberland
Here is a picturesque country village perfect for nature lovers; the Northumberland Wildlife Trust owns a nature reserve that is home to rare birds. There is seaside-inspired artwork at a gallery, and chances to see fishermen working. Craster is also 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. A two-bedroom semi-detached home with views of the sea can cost £230,000. To live nearby, a four-bedroom detached home can be £585,000.
11. 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.
Wycoller was featured in the BBC's Countryfile programme and it also appears in the 1970 film "The Railway Children".
Historic three-bedroom homes can cost £450,000 in this area. For a charming five-bedroom house just outside of this village, expect to pay up to £500,000.
12. 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 expect to pay up to £415,000 for a four-bedroom semi-detached home in this village or have a four-bedroom detached house with an outdoor swimming pool for £625,000 in the next village.
13. Dale, Pembrokeshire
If you are 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 is 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.
The village is a popular location for family holidays with 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 wildflowers.
Properties rarely come on the market here, so be sure to snap up your dream home if you find it. A historic eight-bedroom home with sea views can cost up to £995,000.
14. Crail, Scotland
This hidden gem sits on the east coast of Scotland. 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.
A six-bedroom period home in the next village can cost up to £560,000, while a three-bedroom terrrce cottage in the village of Crail can cost £240,000
15. 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 are on holiday year-round.
You could own a detached four-bedroom cottage for £650,000. A three-bedroom bungalow costs £350,000.
16. Hawkshead, Cumbria
For pure escapism, Hawkshead is the answer. In the heart of the English Lake District, Hawkhead is a truly historic and wonderfully picturesque village characterised by its cluster of whitewashed houses, archways, alleyways, courtyards and squares.
A prosperous medieval wool town, its rich history includes important connections with the poet William Wordsworth and children's story author Beatrix Potter.
A four-bedroom detached house bordering the countryside can cost £495,000. You could run a semi-detached four-bedroom guest house for £450,000.
17. Blakeney, Norfolk
Nature lovers will feel at home in Blakeney, with regular boat trips to see the local seal colony. It is set on a small hill leading down to the harbour and has pretty flint cottages (many for holiday rent), shops, cafes, 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.
Properties in this charming village are snapped up quickly. A plot of land close to this village can range between £45,000 and £299,950. A detatched four-bedroom new-build home in the next village costs £585,000.
18. Hathersage, Derbyshire
This Derbyshire village is heaven for rock climbing enthusiasts. 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. Charlotte Bronte visited Hathersage in 1845 and used it as the N'Norton' of the story 'Jane Eyre' - taking the heroine's surname from the local family.
Four-bedroom detached country homes can cost up to £1,500,000. However, you can find three-bedroom terraced cottage one mile away for around £300,000.
19. Grassington, Yorkshire Dales
Get away from it all in the Yorkshire Dales. Here you will find beautiful waterfalls, undulating countryside, and friendly people. There are stunning views, beautiful stone buildings, quirky shops and friendly pubs. There are also waterfalls which are spectacular, particularly the falls at Linton.
In the surrounding villages, a four-bedroom detached home can cost up to £645,000, while two-bedroom bungalows can cost under £320,000.
20. Nunney, Somerset
If you are looking for a beautiful village with a historic castle at its heart, then Nunney is definitely worth a look.
The ruin from medieval Nunney Castle has walls largely intact. 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 an old-fashioned Street Fayre.
Four-bedroom family homes cost up to £800,000. Three-bedroom semi-detached properties start at £325,000.
Note: House prices updated in June 2021. Intended as a rough guide only.
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