Market towns are great places to live and work. They offer a taste of the countryside, a historic centre, and still have lots of amenities on the doorstep. Here are 10 of the best in the UK.
1. Alnwick, Northumberland
Alnwich (rhymes with ‘panic’) is best known as being the home of the castle that was the filming location for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. But this market town has a lot more to offer. It has cobbled streets, independent shops and beautiful gardens designed by the Duchess of Northumberland.
• A detached home with five bedrooms can cost upwards of £1,000,000. You could find a two-bedroom end-of-terrace home for around £160,000.
2. Aberystwyth, Wales
Aberystwyth is one of the premiere West Wales holiday resorts. It is home to a university with around 7,000 students, nearly 50 pubs, and a sandy beach. The famous castle was once one of the most impressive in Wales, but now it is a popular ruin to walk around.
• A five-bedroom detached home could cost up to £500,000. A two-bedroom flat or terrace will cost around £140,000 to £200,000.
3. Cranbrook, Kent
This pretty medieval town is best known for the beautiful windmill that stands proudly above many of the town centre’s homes and shops. The Grade I Listed mill is fully operational, and it is the tallest surviving smock mill in Britain. There is a range of shops, six churches, hotels, pubs, restaurants, and a town museum.
• A five-bedroom detached home in a semi-rural setting could cost over £500,000. A two-bedroom terrace can cost around £200,000.
4. Keswick, Cumbria
Keswick is a market town in the Lake District National Park. It is surrounded by stunning mountain views, and Derwent Water lake is just south of the town. In the centre, the Cumberland Pencil Museum documents the history of pencils, and the Keswick Museum & Art Gallery displays local artefacts.
• Four-bedroom detached homes regularly cost over £600,000, while a two-bedroom flat is likely to cost under £300,000.
5. Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
This lesser-known market town is full of Yorkshire charm. There are beautiful views to be had from the top of the town, where trains can be spotted crossing the high bridge over the River Nidd. The climb to the medieval castle can be steep, but discovering more about the history and taking in the views make it more than worth it.
• Five or six-bedroom homes in the area can cost more than £800,000. Two-bedroom apartments start at around £140,000.
6. Lewes, East Sussex
This Medieval settlement is best known for its Guy Fawkes night celebrations, but it is a beautiful place to live year-round. It has historic streets, traditional churches, and tiny alleyways. Lewes Castle, which is nearly 1,000 years old, dominates the skyline, along with chalk cliffs.
• Expect to pay over £1,200,000 for a five-bedroom detached home in the area, or for a large terrace home in a prime location. At the other end of the market, you can find a two-bedroom terrace for around £325,000.
7. Ludlow, Shropshire
Ludlow is a thriving medieval town where the market takes centre stage. The award-winning market is held every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday throughout the year, interspersed with special events. The town has a reputation for high-quality food and drink, so people from Shropshire and beyond gather for the annual food festival every September.
• A four-bedroom townhouse in a great location can cost upwards of £550,000, while a three-bedroom semi-detached home is likely to cost £200,000.
8. Stamford, Lincolnshire
Stamford is known for beautiful stone buildings, as over 600 of the Yellowstone buildings are listed. There is an Arts Centre, built in 1768, which is one of the oldest provincial theatres in England. As well as events there, the town hosts many festivals, like the Beer and Musical Festival, Blues, Rhythm and Rock Festival, and the Georgian Festival. True to its market town name, there is a street market every Friday and a popular Farmers’ Market every fortnight.
• Properties range from £1,500,000 for a large, detached five-bedroom house, to £200,000 for a two-bedroom terrace house.
9. Tetbury, Gloucestershire
This Cotswolds town has an extensive recorded history that dates all the way back to 681. Tetbury is well known for its 25 antique shops and its close proximity to Prince Charles's residence of Highgrove. The ‘Chipping’ Steps (an old word meaning market) was the site of historic markets where people would offer themselves for work. Many of the surrounding buildings have medieval origins.
• Large, beautiful townhouses can cost upwards of £1,000,000. A two-bedroom apartment or semi-detached house will cost around £250,000.
10. Wareham, Dorset
This market town is situated on the River Frome. It is one of the few remaining Saxon walled towns, and a walk along the walls will reveal stories of Viking attacks and Civil War fights. There are lots of activities for those looking for outdoor pursuits, with options for walks in the rolling hills, forest bike rides, or water sports on the river.
• For a six-bedroom detached house in the area, expect to pay up to £900,000. Two-bedroom terrace houses cost around £250,000.
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