Where are Britain's best villages? We have searched the country to uncover the prettiest retreats with attractive properties and even more attractive prices. Our top 12 villages offer beauty, value and variety, from Essex to East Sussex and Snowdonia to Scotland.
1. Finchingfield, Essex
This village is beautiful, historic, and full of charm.
“Described as picture-postcard pretty, Finchingfield is an idyllic Essex village complete with a village pond, redbrick cottages and a white 18th century windmill,” 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.”
Period cottages can cost £325,000, while the neighbouring stately mansions can cost up to £8,000,000.
2. Beddgelert, Gwynedd, North Wales
Beddgelert is situated in the heart of Snowdonia and is one of the prettiest villages in the area.
The Beddgelert Tourism Association said: “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.”
Prices range from £140,000 for a one-bedroom cottage to half a million to run your own guest house.
3. Broadway, Worcestershire
This picture-postcard village lies in the heart of the Cotswolds. It’s popular with tourists from all over the world, and can act as the perfect base from which to explore the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“Broadway is a beautiful and historic village ideal for those who love picturesque landscapes, excellent cuisine, and rich cultural heritage,” said Visit Broadway.
“The image of Broadway today remains as it has done for centuries; a charismatic spectacle of rolling wolds, overlooking a gathering of ancient honey coloured limestone period buildings with orderly horse chestnut trees lining the grass-fringed verges of the historic 'broad way' High Street.”
4. Rye, East Sussex
Rye is a fortified hilltop town with cobbled streets, tea rooms, and Listed buildings.
“One of the best preserved medieval towns in England, Rye is home to the cobbled Mermaid Street, the impressive Norman church, 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 £150,000 for a one-bedroom flat, and up to £750,000 for an impressive townhouse with four bedrooms.
5. Dale, Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire is a beautiful place to live and enjoy family life. The village of Dale still hosts traditional activities of agriculture and fishing, while tourism is becoming an increasingly important industry.
“The village is a popular location for family holidays thanks to the safe beaches and lots of water-based activities such as sailing, swimming, surfing, kayaking and windsurfing,” explain Dale Village. “The area has an abundance of wildlife including birds, seals, dolphins and porpoise. The cliffs and coastal path also provide stunning views with the chance to see a wide variety of beautiful wild flowers.”
A three-bedroom detached family home in Dale costs around £300,000.
6. Castle Combe, Wiltshire
Castle Combe has an interesting history as a British hill fort which became occupied by the Romans. The Normans came later and built the fort into a Castle.
“Visitors have been coming to enjoy the village’s charms for at least a century and it is as picturesque today as it ever was,” says the Castle Combe Village Website.
“Stroll along the village to the bridge and you’ll not only enjoy the views but may be able to purchase homemade cakes, sweets or bunches of flowers from outside the locals’ houses,” suggests Visit Bath.
House prices range from £375,000 for a terrace to £650,000 for a detached village home.
7. Crovie, Scotland
This lesser-known village invites visitors to get off the beaten track. In fact, all cars must be left at the top of the hill as they won’t fit through the narrow streets of this former fishing village.
“Crovie is built on a remarkably narrow ledge between the base of the cliffs forming the east side of Gamrie Bay and the sea,” says Undiscovered Scotland. “The shelf on which the village is perched is so narrow it only has room for a row of cottages and the footpath in front of them. Only a few feet from the cottages is the drop to the rocky foreshore and the sea.”
Property is very affordable here. Three bedroom cottages cost around £170,000, while terrace homes can cost as little as £110,000.
8. Staithes, North Yorkshire
Once the largest fishing port in the North West, Staithes is a photographic fishing village thought to be the prettiest on the east coast. It has a small sandy beach sitting within the shelter of the harbour.
“Staithes is where the North York Moors National Park meets the sea and the towering, rugged cliffs are in keeping with this landscape. This stretch of coast is sometimes referred to as the Dinosaur Coast and is a popular spot for fossil hunters,” said The Beach Guide.
Three-bedroom homes can cost as little as £125,000, while a six-bed home can be bought for over £315,000.
9. Rottingdean, East Sussex
This village is only a short drive along the coast from Brighton, but it retains a village feel. The windmill is one of the local attractions, and was constructed on the hill in 1802. There are many beautiful properties around Rottingdean, including cosy cottages and impressive townhouses.
Many of the traditional inns and pubs were frequented by smugglers, so there is an interesting history to be found in the village.
Two-bedroom flats start at £240,000. Detached properties with over five bedrooms cost upwards of £1,100,000.
10. Portmeirion, Snowdonia, Wales
Portmeirion has winding backstreets, pretty buildings and Italianate architecture. Architect Clough Williams-Ellis bought the land near the Dwyryd estuary in 1925, and it took over fifty years to design and build the village, which is based on the fishing port of Portofino on the Italian Riviera.
You can live nearby in Borth-y-Guest, where a terraced home with three bedrooms can cost around £250,000. A detached home with sea views will cost upwards of £650,000.
11. Polperro, Cornwall
Polperro is one of the prettiest fishing villages in the West Country. You can walk along the beach, look at the artist galleries, and dine in local seafood restaurants. Properties cover the hillside, stretching back from the harbour. You can find cosy hillside cottages and small holiday homes that are perfect as a summer retreat.
Property prices range from one-bedroom cottages for £220,000, to £450,000 for a family home.
12. Grasmere, Lake District
This National Park village has rolling hills, waterfalls and stunning views.
“Nestling at the foot of some spectacular fells and with its own lake, this village has many shops, pubs and cafes. You can also visit Wordsworth's grave in the churchyard and buy the famous Grasmere Gingerbread. Popular walks include following Red Bank Road and then the footpath along the west shore of the lake towards Rydal Water. In the summer, you can hire rowing boats on the lake,” said the Lake District National Park.
Property prices in this popular village range from one-bedroom apartments for £200,000, to £1,750,000 for a manor house.