The prettiest villages in the UK are just begging to be explored!
Our wanderlust-ridden minds are free to explore again – and with an urge to head out on our next adventure as soon as possible, we couldn’t resist sniffing out the cutest destinations around. Whilst we’ve previously told you about the most beautiful villages close to London, we’re now casting our eyes a little further afield to gaze adoringly at the prettiest villages in the UK. From quaint little fishing spots that rival the towns you’d find hugging the Mediterranean ocean, to chocolate box villages nestling in the heart of the Cotswolds, we’ve put together a guide to the pretty villages and towns in the UK that you should plan a visit to this summer.
1. St. Ives, Cornwall
We know, it genuinely looks like there’s no way this is in England – but it is. Blessed with turquoise blue waters, white sand and clear skies, St. Ives is one of the most beautiful spots Cornwall has to offer, boasting gorgeous white beach houses, stunning hotels with sweeping views of the coastal landscape, and a picturesque fishing harbour. There’s plenty of arts and culture to absorb during your visit (including a Tate gallery), and tons of quaint little independent shops to check out, stocking locally made goods that make for the perfect gifts and keepsakes. On summer evenings, steal a table outside the Saint Ives Liquor Co’s Searoom bar for a G&T overlooking the harbour.
2. Keswick, Lake District
🚗 How far is it? A five and a half hour drive, or slightly under five hours by train and bus.
From mountains and valleys to glistening lakes and rolling hills – the Lake District has it all. And Keswick, in particular, is incredibly pretty. Surrounded by mountains with a whole lot of history, guests can escape from reality and immerse themselves in nature, or check out the lovely market town where you’ll find the gorgeous marina, lovely little shops, and places to eat. For budding ramblers, check out the many walking routes which will provide you with panoramic views of the Lake District – a breathtaking experience that’ll take your Instagram from 0-100 real fast.
3. Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire
🚗 How far is it? Five hours driving, or just under four hours by train and bus.
When you think of a postcard-perfect fishing village, Robin Hood’s Bay is the epitome of it. The famous red roofs hugging the bay make for one of the most photographed sights in Yorkshire, and being situated on the coastline and within the North York Moors makes for a double-whammy of beauty. Potter around the idyllic bay with a chippy, or head out into the moors and nearby Whitby to make the most of your trip.
4. Castleton, Peak District
🚗 How far is it? Just under four hours driving, or three and a half hours by train and bus.
Nestled within the heart of the Peak District, Castleton may be small, but its scenery is mighty. Stroll through the pretty little village with its traditional houses, or check out the many sights nearby. See gorgeous views of Mam Tor, visit Peak Cavern, check out Winnats Pass, or stop by historical spots such as Peveril Castle and Blue John Cavern. Castleton remains to this day the only place you can find the semi-precious Blue John stone – so you can guarantee lots to do during your visit.
5. Clovelly, Devon
🚗 How far is it? About a four hour drive.
Up the coastline from gorgeous St. Ives, Clovelly sits beside the sea in north Devon. A super traditional place, guests can expect fantastic views out to sea, a beautiful harbour, and quaint little homes and buildings that’ll make you feel like you’re abroad. Eat locally sourced seafood with the most incredible views over the harbour, or wander around the village where you’ll find local craft shops, the village donkeys trotting around, and a number of activities to take part in such as boat trips, fishing and more.
6. Portree, Isle of Skye
🚗 How far is it? Eleven and a half hours of driving (worth it though!)
Portree is the capital of the Isle of Skye, and boy is it stunning. Its pastel-coloured houses by the water are incredibly photogenic, and the views past the dock to the nearby countryside are unbeatable. Watch a sunset by the water, explore the nearby hills such as Ben Tianavaig, or check out the lovely little cafes and shops within the village. Visitors can also enjoy day trips to other Scottish destinations, such as Inverness, Glasgow and the rest of the Isle of Skye.
7. Castle Combe, Cotswolds
🚗 How far is it? Two hours drive, and about the same by train and bus.
As far as the prettiest villages in the UK go, Castle Combe makes a strong claim to top the list. Set in the idyllic Cotswolds, the pretty village is a true British gem which resembles the kind of well-kept village you’d expect to see in a Disney film – so it’s unsurprising that it’s been used as the set for Hollywood movies such as Stardust and War Horse. Sharpen up your photography skills as you wander around the beautiful old-world village, grab a pint at a cosy pub, and check out the medieval St Andrew’s Church.
8. Broadway, Cotswolds
🚗 How far is it? Just over two hours drive, and a little over three by train.
Another Cotswolds gem, Broadway has been dubbed ‘the most beautiful Cotswold village’ – and it’s pretty easy to see why. Find period houses and cottages built with honey-coloured stone, all matching to make for beautiful and homely streets. Take in the village’s traditional pubs by kicking back with a refreshing drink, head for a stroll around the incredibly peaceful little place, or dine in the village’s charming little tearooms which ooze British culture. The village is dotted with independent shops stocking antiques, art, fashion and local produce, and there’s a number of activities to take part in, too – such as clay pigeon shooting, a trip to Broadway Tower, horse riding and a gin distillery tour.
9. Portmeirion, Wales
🚗 How far is it? Just under a five hour drive, or roughly six by train and bus.
This beautiful little place sits right on the edge of stunning Snowdonia, and if you were thinking it looks like it belongs in the Mediterranean, you’d be spot on, since it was designed that way. Designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975, Portmeirion was intended to resemble Italy – with multicoloured ornate houses, fountains, colourful blooms and layered hills. The small village is home to only two hotels and a small number of cottages to rent, however, guests are welcome to visit for day trips too, with lots of heritage to discover, cafes, restaurants, and even an Italian-style gelato spot.
🚗 How far is it? About four hours by car or train.
Found on the English Riviera (sounds fancy, we know), Brixham is a small fishing town in Devon where you’ll find local fisherman out to work catching fresh fish, breathtaking views out to sea, and a Blue Flag beach which holds a pristine reputation. It’s a relaxing spot which makes for the perfect staycation, with kayaking excursions, stunning sunbathing spots, and a coast full of wonderful cocktail bars and restaurants to try out.