17 of the most beautiful villages in England

Arlington Row in Bibury, Gloucestershire in the Cotswolds

Arlington Row in Bibury, Gloucestershire - Credit: John Mason / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

There is no denying that England has more than its fair share of pretty villages, but which is the fairest of them all?

Cast your vote on the poll or let us know in the comments section!

Bibury, Gloucestershire

Legendary textile designer William Morris of Morris & Co. once dubbed Bibury 'The most beautiful village in England', and we would tend to agree because it's everything you would imagine a Cotswolds village to be and more.

Take a pretty walk around Bibury and explore the rich history of the iconic Arlington Row, where traditional stone cottages have stood since the 14th century. Tuck into a delicious lunch or afternoon tea at The Swan or one of Bibury's other fine eateries to be found in our visitor's guide to the village.


Lavenham, Suffolk 

Explore the half-timbered medieval cottages on Water Street in Lavenham Picture: Getty Images/iStock

Explore the half-timbered medieval cottages on Water Street in Lavenham. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

With streets lined with the most wonderfully wonky timber-framed houses in various eye-catching colours, it would be hard to find a village more compelling than Lavenham in Suffolk.

Drenched in history, Lavenham has also found itself a star on the silver screen, with films like Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - Part 1 and Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon using the charming historical buildings as key filming locations. Fans of Harry Potter will not want to miss out on a ghost tour of Lavenham!


Corfe Castle, Dorset

Corfe Castle village takes its name from the ruins atop the hill

Corfe Castle village takes its name from the ruins atop the hill - Credit: Harshil Shah / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Most Read

Named after the ruins prominently looming on the hill, Corfe Castle is a must-visit destination for anyone seeing out a village packed with character and intrigue.

There's a charming model village to explore that will wind back time, and the many battles that have shaped the famous ruined castle and the surrounding countryside provide the perfect backdrop for a picnic or an exciting walk. Join award-winning folk duo Ninebarrow for a ramble around Corfe Castle.


Staithes, Yorkshire 

Pretty little coastal fishing village on East coast of Yorkshire

Staithes, a pretty little coastal fishing village on the east coast of Yorkshire - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This quaint village clinging to the rocks of the North Yorkshire coastline was once a significant centre of the fishing industry. Take in its beauty by strolling along the cosy harbour and squeezing through the narrowest of alleys, such as Dog Loup Alley, which measures 45cm wide! 

Dine on comfort food at the Cod & Lobster, which has excellent views over the harbour or grab a hot cup of coffee at the Barn Owl Cafe. Find out more about Staithes here.


Shere, Surrey

Shere in Surrey

Shere in Surrey - Credit: Solveig Smørdal Botn / Unsplash

Considered by many to be the prettiest village in Surrey, Shere is also perhaps one of the most famous in the county. It is a perfect example of a quintessential English village thanks to its chocolate box charm and a starting role in The Holiday as an idyllic escape.

With classic British pubs, a whole lot of history and beautiful views there is no reason not to visit Shere, read our guide to the village here.


Clovelly, Devon 

Clovelly (c) Martin Abegglen, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Clovelly (c) Martin Abegglen, Flickr (CC BY 2.0) - Credit: Archant

Tread the steep cobbled streets of Clovelly to navigate this magical village perched on the Devon coast. With no cars in sight along the famous main high street and maybe a donkey or two, it feels as if you have travelled back in time while here.

Intrepid hikers will want to scale the coastline to find the Blackchurch rock, which can be reached on low tide. It's a curious natural geological formation that has been morphed by the tide over thousands of years! Click here for the epic walk itinerary


Lymm, Cheshire

Cottage beside Bridgewater Canal in Lymm, Cheshire

Cottage beside Bridgewater Canal in Lymm, Cheshire - Credit: Andrew Green / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

With a name meaning 'place of running water', Lymm is very much exactly that, with the beautiful Bridgewater Canal flowing through the picturesque village giving you the opportunity for a delightful canalside walk or the chance to jump aboard a narrowboat and explore the village from a different angle. Click find out 5 things you must know about Lymm.


Chiddingstone, Kent

Apart from its undeniable charm Chiddingstone is utterly unique for the fact that the entire village belongs to the National Trust. It is an excellent if not the best example of a Tudor village in the whole country, take a stroll along the historic streets and drop into The Tulip Tree for a divine spot of afternoon tea or grab a pint at The Castle Inn. Read more about Chiddingstone in our village guide.


Port Isaac, Cornwall

Port Isaac in Cornwall is a little slice of paradise

Port Isaac in Cornwall is a little slice of paradise - Credit: Ed Webster / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Perhaps most well known to those outside Cornwall as the peaceful Portwenn in the popular ITV drama Doc Martin, Port Isaac has so much offer for anyone craving a slice of paradise.

Explore the harbour village by foot or hop aboard a boat for a session of Dolphin spotting, all before settling down to a hearty pub meal at the very cosy Golden Lion. Read more about what makes Port Isaac such a special place.


Tideswell, Derbyshire 

Centre of Tideswell village in Derbyshire

Centre of Tideswell village in Derbyshire - Credit: Peter / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Tideswell is a dreamy little village nestled in the Peak District with some fantastic examples of old architecture that include historic houses and the beautiful St John the Baptist church, an excellent Gothic-style building. Explore the area in and around Tideswell with these 6 walks.


Cley next the Sea, Norfolk

The grade II listed Cley Windmill gives the village of Cley next the Sea an old world charm

The grade II listed Cley Windmill gives the village of Cley next the Sea an old world charm - Credit: John Beniston / Palmiped / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

With scenery that looks like it should be the subject of a John Constable painting, Cley next the Sea is a delightful village close to the north Norfolk coastline and the Cley marshlands. Read all about what makes the Marshlands of Norfolk so special.

While visiting, be sure to tuck into a pub lunch at The George and Dragon, browse the shelves at the charming second-hand bookshop Crabpot Books, and if you're looking to stay a while, why not get a room in the gorgeous Cley Windmill.


Castle Combe, Wiltshire

Picturesque Cotswold village of Castle Combe, England

In 1961 Castle Combe was voted to be ‘the prettiest village in England’ - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Nestled in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wiltshire is perhaps the most quintessentially charming village in the entire country.

Castle Combe is a feast for the eyes; from the beautiful Bybrook River to the iconic Cotswold stone buildings that have become iconic around the world, there is so much to discover in this stunning Wiltshire village. Discover the unmissable places to visit with this illustrated guide to Castle Combe.


Wherwell, Hampshire

Wherwell is filled with the most exquisite thatched cottages

Wherwell is filled with the most exquisite thatched cottages - Credit: Herry Lawford / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Situated on the River Test and populated by the most gorgeous and romantic little thatched cottages, Wherwell is just as beautiful as it is cosy. There's plenty to see and do in this little slice of paradise, from dining at the local pub to a bit of wildlife spotting. Take a walk along the River Test and the River Anton.


Cartmel, Cumbria

Peaceful and pretty Cartmel is a gem on the edge of the Lake District

Peaceful and pretty Cartmel is a gem on the edge of the Lake District - Credit: Strider52 / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

This pretty village was once a part of Lancashire, but it now finds itself in Cumbria, and while it is relatively small, Cartmel is a great place to explore. Dine at delicious pubs and restaurants and marvel at the architecture of the stunning Cartmel Priory; it is certainly a place to leave you awestruck. Discover the 7 reasons why you absolutely must visit Cartmel.


Castle Hedingham, Essex

Hedingham Castle in Castle Hedingham, Essex 

Hedingham Castle in Castle Hedingham, Essex - Credit: Steve Knight / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Drenched in history, Castle Hedingham has several interesting places to check out. These include a stunning Norman castle where the village gets its name, a station along the Colne Valley Railway for the intrepid trainspotter, and several fantastic medieval era timber-framed buildings. Take a historic circular walk at Castle Hedingham.


Selworthy, Somerset

Periwinkle Cottage, Selworthy in Somerset

Periwinkle Cottage, Selworthy in Somerset - Credit: Lee Roberts / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Looking like it's straight out of a postcard, Selworthy is an idyllic slice of Somerset not too far from the coast.

While visiting, a must for any Afternoon Tea aficionado is to stop off at the gorgeous thatched Periwinkle Cottage. Its cosy vibes and tasty scones will no doubt capture your heart and delight your tastebuds.


Arundel, Sussex

River Arun and cathedral at Arundel (c) Nick Hawkes/Getty Images/iStockphoto

River Arun and cathedral at Arundel (c) Nick Hawkes/Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Be swept off your feet by the fairytale-esque beauty of Arundel. Despite being relatively small, there is so much to explore in this beautiful Sussex village, including one of the most magnificent castles in the country, a beautiful cathedral and the perfect riverside walk. Read our guide on the top 5 things to do in Arundel.


Cast your vote!


Read more of the best Great British Life content here:

22 places in England to visit in 2022

Where to see Snowdrops in the East of England

11 of the best British romance films to watch this Valentine's Day and beyond