With its pristine, unspoiled beauty, the English countryside continues to inspire authors, artists, and travel enthusiasts all over the world. Even if you’ve never been to England, you’ve probably found yourself swept away by lush descriptions of stone cottages, quaint pubs, and flocks of sheep dotting the meadows. So if you’re looking for a British getaway far from the busy streets of London, here are 5 charming villages you should visit in rural England!
Described as “the prettiest village in England,” a vacay to the British countryside wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Castle Combe. This picture-postcard community has been the shooting location for many Hollywood films, including Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse and the original Dr. Dolittle film. Once the hub of the Cotswolds wool trade, this village is lined with rows of authentic Cotswold stone cottages and wooded hills. If you’re a history buff, make sure to check out St. Andrew’s Church, which houses the oldest English medieval clock still in use.
Do you find yourself swept away by Victorian novels like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights? If so, consider placing Snowshill high on your list of places to visit. There’s no shortage of 19th century elements here, ranging from picturesque lavender hills to an authentic Victorian-era church. Aside from its natural beauty, the village is home to Snowshill Manor, a 16th century mansion that was owned by the eccentric architect and craftsman, Charles Paget Wade. To give you an idea of his eccentricity, Wade never lived in the mansion. Instead, he used it to showcase his huge collection of toys, instruments, and crafts, which you can still see today.
Grasmere is best known as the home of English romantic poet, William Wordsworth. With its scenic Lake District and rows of 17th century cottages, it’s not hard to see why the poet chose to live here during the last years of his life. Grasmere is a popular hiking spot, thanks to its scenic trails along the River Rothay. If you’re hungry after your hike, make sure to stop by the famous Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread shop for local delicacies like Cumberland sausage and Grasmere gingerbread.
In spite of its name, Mousehole is no hole in the wall. In fact, the village is pronounced “Mowzel,” and is considered one of the prettiest villages and fishing ports in all of Cornwall. Situated on the shore of Mount’s Bay, the community is famous for its abundance of fresh seafood and oysters. A great time to visit Mousehole is during December, when the entire harbor is illuminated with a spectacular Christmas lights display.
This former Anglo-Saxon settlement is an architectural marvel, with its Georgian-style limestone cottages and slanting half-timbered houses. Its residents are proud of its “frozen in time” reputation, which you can see in their meticulous preservation of buildings that go back as far as the 12th century. Since there’s a lot to explore, the village offers downloadable maps for self-guided walking tours. The Burford Town Guide, for example, takes you through High Street, known for its pubs, antique stores, and country inns.
Ready to travel back to a simpler time and place? Then keep these villages in mind the next time you’re planning a UK getaway!