10 Most Charming Villages in England

Have you ever scrolled through social media and found breathtaking pictures of small villages in England? Have you ever wondered where those villages are and what you can do once you get there? In this article, I will suggest the best medieval villages in England to visit. You have the 10 best villages in England in the following headings. From the oldest village in England to the small villages in England, you will find it all in this article.

But which English village to start with? Bibury is among the most beautiful villages in England you could visit, and it’s become very popular in recent years. The Hobbit-like houses have a different vibe when the sun is shining; not only is it relaxing, but it’s just stunning to look at. It is serene walking down these small English villages, popping into the best pubs, or simply enjoying the countryside.

10 Most Charming Towns in England – Best English Villages

We can explore through museums, churches, memorials, thatched cottages, and endless coastlines of crystal-clear water. There are also several castles and fortresses that take you right back to the medieval ages. Let’s see the 10 prettiest villages in England!

1. Rye, a beautiful English village in East Sussex

medieval villages in england to visit

Rye is among the best medieval villages in England to visit, located in East Sussex. I think it’s one of the most charming villages in England. What is there to do in Rye? The simplest thing you can do is walk through this stunning British village. Exploring those small cobbled stones and letting them lead you through these adorable houses.

Speaking of houses, you can visit the Rye Heritage Centre houses, where Rye’s rich history and folklore are brought to life by dramatic sound and light effects. You can also visit Rye Castle Museum, where you can experience the town’s shipbuilding past. Rye Castle Museum used to be a bottling factory; however, now you can watch plenty of exhibitions of Rye’s history.

When you visit Rye during autumn, you’ll find that it’s one of the most scenic villages in England. Did you know that close to Rye, there’s a beautiful beach to visit? It is called Camber Sands, about a three-mile hike from Rye; however, you can also take the bus there. The coast is made up of fine sand, and the sea looks endless at Camber Sands. You get the best of both worlds!

2. Shaftesbury, Village in South West England

medieval villages in england to visit

Shaftesbury is one of the prettiest villages in South West England. It is just a few hours away from Brighton. This English village is known for its charm and history, founded over 1100 years ago. It hasn’t changed much since the 18th century as it is still one of the best villages in England you could visit if you are looking for markets. From book fairs to flea markets and Farmers’ Markets, you can find it all. Shaftesbury is just one of the many medieval villages to visit in England.

A great activity for anyone visiting these beautiful English villages is walking through the parks. Looking over St James and across the Blackmore Vale, you even see the Dorset Styling on better days. If you were looking for that picturesque view you could upload on Instagram, Gold Hill is waiting for you. This is what I love about England. When the sun goes down, during golden hour, these old houses look extraordinary.

Gold Hill is known as “Hovis Hill,” named after the famous advertisement from 1973 made for Hovis Bread, “Boy on a Bike.” Shaftesbury also has its museum, Gold Hill Museum & Garden, as well as an arts center for any art lovers out there. It might be one of the small villages in England; however, it’s versatile and rich in history, markets, and even architecture. Don’t miss out on the three churches: Holy Trinity Church, St Peter’s Church, and St Jame’s Church.

3. Polperro, the Cornish Riviera

Cornwall is among the most visited places in the UK, and it’s not surprising. The Cornish Riviera is filled with the best villages in England, one of them is called Polperro. This small British village looks like it’s not in England but somewhere in the South of Europe. Polperro, like many beautiful English villages, is best to be explored on foot. The streets are so narrow that they ban cars from entering.

You can easily count Polperro as one of the thatched cottage villages in England. The small cottages are covered with flowers and attract many tourists during the summer. Polperro is known for its smuggling activities during the 18th and 19th centuries. Believe it or not, it is said that everyone in the village was hiding duty-free goods. If you want to learn more about the smuggling of the locals, you should visit the Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing.

The museum consists of exhibits and photographs of times when smuggling and fishing was just everyday activity. In my opinion, Polperro is one of the prettiest villages in South West England. With its rocky shores and rugged coastline, you can explore the culture while also enjoying the sea at low tide and going for a swim!

4. Castle Comb, Instagrammable village in England

medieval villages in england to visit

Castle Comb is known to be one of the prettiest villages in South West England, and therefore it is on our list of medieval villages in England to visit. Why would you want to visit Castle Comb? Like many of these villages, Castle Comb is a charming British village, with old houses looking spectacular on sunny days. Tourists have been visiting Castle Comb for a century for its picturesque views. The remaining of today’s castle above the village used to be a British hill fort.

Occupied by the Romans, then later by the Normans, who built the castle from a fort. The most scenic village in England was a center for the wool industry. The river provided the power to run the mills and in the cottages lived spinsters and weavers. This little village is so special that even film producers like to come and film.

Movies like ‘Doctor Doolittle,’ ‘Stardust’ and ‘War Horse’ have all been filmed in Castle Comb. There are quite a few things to do in this English village. The Dower House was Dr. Dolittle’s house in the film 1966. In real life, it was a home of a doctor. The Market Cross, believed to date from the 14th century, is a centerpiece of the village. Villagers come here to get fresh fruits and vegetables.

5. Bibury, Hobit like cottages

medieval villages in england to visit

Bibury is described as the most beautiful village in England. We have gathered the 10 best villages in England in this article. However, the list could probably go on. There is something special about the prettiest villages in South West England, one of them being Bibury. When I first looked at the English village Bibury, I thought about the ‘Hobbit’ movie. The thatched cottages villages in England have their charm, and they look picturesque.

The cottages are called Arlington Row and were built in 1380 as a monastic wool store. Like the other old English villages, Arlington Row was also used for movies such as ‘Stardust.’ When you are in Bibury, you should visit Bibury Trout Farm, which is in the heart of the Cotswold village of Bibury, and was founded in 1902! Visitors have been welcomed to the farm since 1965. They are invited to see how the fish are fed and learn about the life of a Trout. These small English villages are magical.

Can you imagine that each year about 10 million Rainbow Trout are spawned? The best villages in England always have a lovely church to visit. The Church of St. Mary has a mesmerizing stained glass window designed in 1927 by Karl Parsons. If you want a summer trip with the kids and are in the area, you can also visit the Blenheim Palace and Cotswold Water Park. The most scenic villages in England have a variety of things to offer.

6. Amesbury, the home of Stonehenge 

You might be wondering why I uploaded a picture of Stonehenge, a famous landmark in England. Amesbury is the oldest village in England and is 2 miles away from Stonehenge. Amesbury is located in Wiltshire, and it is claimed to have been first settled around 8820 BC. Stonehenge is the best example of how the village was settled since prehistoric times. You would think that Amesbury is lucky to have Stonehenge so close; however, it does not directly benefit from the monument’s earnings.

Everyone is familiar with Stonehenge, but what is there to see in Amesbury, in one of the old English villages? I would suggest visiting Amesbury Abbey, which is a Grade I-listed mansion. We can thank Thomas Hopper for designing this gorgeous mansion for Sir Edmund Antrobus in the 1830s. Although Amesbury Abbey is used as a care home today, you can still visit this beautiful Palladian-style mansion.

For anyone needing a drink and some delicious food, you are more than welcome to visit one of the four pubs: The King Arms, The George Hotel, The New Inn, and The Bell. You can enjoy a good beer during the summer and explore the beauties of this oldest village in England.

7. Ludlow, an architectural gem

medieval villages in england to visit

Ludlow, one of the 10 best villages in England, is a market town in Shropshire. The village is also one of the thriving medieval villages in England to visit. It is considered an architectural gem, and by looking at the above picture, everyone can understand why. Ludlow is busy with many festivals and events throughout the year. These small villages in England are perfect for taking long walks with your loved ones.

You can discover the restaurants and cafes on the way and even talk to the locals about what their daily lives look like. If you’re looking for fun, visit the Ludlow Food and Drink Festival in September, one of the highlights of the best English villages. We would also suggest visiting Ludlow Castle. Constructions started around 1085 and have continued for another two centuries. The architectural style features the Normal, Medieval, and Tudor periods.

I love the castles and fortresses in these small English villages or towns. Colchester has a beautiful castle too! They always made me dream of living in medieval times in the most charming villages in England. Ludlow is also known to have been the headquarters of Edward IV Council of the Marches in Wales in the late 15th century. Unfortunately, it ceased to exist in 1689, yet before, it was full of clerks, royal messengers, and lawyers. Whether you are looking for a walk or learning about the rich history, Ludlow is among the 10 prettiest villages in England.

8. Hutton-le-Hole, the village in a National Park

medieval villages in england to visit

I can’t lie, I chose this village because of its interesting name, however, also because it is one of the most scenic villages in England. Hutton-le-Hole lies in a hollow hole, hence why it got this name and the reason why it is on our list of best English villages. The fascinating thing about this is that this lovely little village lies within the North York Moors National Park. You not only get to enjoy the beauty of one of the most charming villages in England, but you can also visit the National Park.

If you want to learn something new, definitely visit Ryedale Folk Museum; this should take up about half a day. The museum holds over 20 reconstructed buildings, including the Tudor mansion, a vintage photographer’s studio, craft workshops, and farm buildings. At the same museum, you can visit annual events and workshops. I will suggest again taking a walk or even cycling in Hutton-le-Hole. The summer and autumn would help you take mesmerizing pictures for your social media accounts.

In the meantime, visit ‘Heritage Cycle Rides’, which will show you local villages, viewpoints, and places of interest. If you are into crafting, you shouldn’t miss out on Hole Craft Workshops filled with a handmade chocolate, rugs, glassware, ceramics, and so on. As with the other small villages in England, you will find St Mary’s church, where you can see a Norman crypt. Which is your favorite among the 10 best villages in England so far?

9. Bamburgh, a fortress town

Continuing our list of medieval villages in England to visit, next up is Bamburgh. The history of Bamburgh is quite rich, dating back to the prehistoric period in Northumbria. It is worth mentioning that the tools of hunter-gatherers were found in Bamburgh, one of the old English villages. Not only this, but also Neolithic period people who were farmers left some stones and tools at Bamburgh. A few hundred years later, a wooden church was built, which has the name St Aidan’s Church, and it is also a Grade I building.

Bamburgh is probably the oldest village in England, even if it wasn’t necessarily founded as early as Amesbury. The simple fact that hunters left so many tools and stones after the ice age prove how men have always been in this territory. You not only get to visit the Bamburgh Castle, which in itself is quite enormous, but you can also visit the Grace Darling museum and the church and also try out the local pubs and restaurants for an authentic feeling.

The Bamburgh Castle is truly mesmerizing and puts this village at the top of the most scenic villages in England. The castle is believed to have been occupied for over 10,000 years. The World’s first ‘lifeboat’ was also tested here! The castle today is owned by the Armstrong family, who bought it in 1894. Don’t miss out on all the interesting information when visiting Bamburgh! We’re down to the last of the best English villages.

10. Burford, a charming little British village

Last on our list of the most charming villages in England, we have Burford. Burford was founded in the middle Saxon period near a modern priory building. This building was constructed around 1580, and it is called Burford Priory. One of the best things to visit is the Church of St John the Baptist, another Grade I listed building known as a permanent memorial to Burford’s medieval wealth.

Burford is also blessed to have a High Street with the possibility to shop for souvenirs and antiques. If you are interested in the oldest things in the world, Burford has had England’s oldest pharmacy, Reavley’s, since 1734. Like many of the prettiest villages in England, Burford also has its museum. We suggest you visit the Tolsey Museum, which is in a Tudor market building. You can easily take a day trip from London to Burford.

The museum holds a wide range of Burford’s social and working culture. Inside the museum, you can enjoy exhibits about bell-founding, rope-making, brewing, farming, and so on. You will also find a famous doll’s house furnished in the style of the Jane Austen period. So as you can see, Burford is also very versatile, you can walk, learn history, and visit museums, churches, and shops. Which one was your favorite of the small England villages?

The most beautiful villages in England – Conclusion

This concluded our article on the most beautiful villages in England. We have introduced you to many thatched cottage villages in England, which you can visit anytime. We recommend visiting during the summer or autumn to get the most out of the scenery. These are just a few medieval villages in England to visit while you are on holiday or on a school trip.

My favorite of it all is Bamburgh and the Bamburgh Castle. Since I was a child, I have been interested in castles and fortresses; I always found the armory and the royal rooms intriguing. Haunted castles in England are a great way to spend your holidays! These are the 10 prettiest villages in England, and I am sure you will enjoy every second of it.

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