It’s no secret that if you’re looking to live inside a fairytale for a week or two, a getaway to the UK is exactly what you have been looking for. After all, we have rolling landscapes, stunning medieval architecture, and of course - castles. With so many beautiful destinations to choose from, it can be a little bit challenging to decide where to go first.
If what you are looking for is a quaint getaway full of small-town charm, and quaint beauty, there are definitely some villages that stand out amongst the rest.
Here, we have put together the 10 prettiest villages in the UK that you need to visit if you’re looking to add a little romance to your next trip.
1. Staithes, Yorkshire
Staithes is a sleepy, coastal village nestled between two cliffs- talk about a stellar landscape! It’s aesthetic has remained true to its heritage and many visitors recall feeling as though they had stepped back in history during their visit. This harbour town has become a favourite destination for seafood lovers and those who love living like the locals- the most popular way to visit is to rent a home and stay for longer durations. It is also a great place to travel with children. Its coastal landscape makes it the perfect location for beach combing and rock pooling, but above all else, it is also the starting point of the dinosaur coast. This stretch of coastline is super popular for its fossil contributions to dinosaur exhibits around the world and fossil-hunters come from all over the globe to search for a little piece of prehistoric history to bring home.
2. Melrose, Scotland
Perhaps the best thing about Melrose is how accessible it is to the out-of-town traveller. Located not far from Edinburgh, you can easily reach Melrose in a quick couple of hours, meaning you can make this your full-week destination, or merely somewhere to visit on a sunny afternoon. Melrose is a lush, country village sprawled out amongst acres of gardens and orchards. Besides historical significance, the quiet ambiance is what attracts guests time and time again. The village is best known for the Melrose Abbey, which is the best-preserved Abbey in all of Scotland- and you’ll be thankful it is as you take in the stunning architecture.
3. Linlithgow, Scotland
If you have heard of Linlithgow before, chances are its because it is the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, but history is certainly not all it has to offer. This castle village is located alongside a canal in the country and clings to its community feeling. With historical buildings set against beautiful rolling hills, the visual appeal is obvious. If you’re looking for an escape into nature with small-town charm, then Linlithgow is for you. You will have no shortage of historical monuments to visit and nature parks for afternoon strolls.
4. Mousehole, Cornwall
This little fishing village on the Mediterranean coast gives off major european holiday appeal. It’s turquoise waters filled with little fishing boats and long staircases down cliffside to the beaches remind us of the Amalfi and Dalmatian coasts. The streets are lined with traditional Cornish homes, built from slate roofs and granite and eclectic shops owned by local artisans, making it a huge draw for the bohemian travel community as well. If you are looking for a quiet but quirky escape to the seaside, this is the village for you. Pretty well everywhere you go, you have a view of the water and you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone that wouldn’t be impressed.
5. Clovelly, Devon
Amongst a myriad of small coastal towns is Clovelly- a seaside village with a lovely, greekisland appeal to it. Steep, cobblestone roads lead the way from the seaport through the village, and you may be shocked to find that the streets are pedestrian only. Well, pedestrians and donkeys, that is, who will help to make your journey a little easier. The town is very pretty with several white fishing cottages and stunning harbour views all around. You can get a fishing permit if you want to fish like a local or you can simply spend your time soaking up the ocean view and visiting the local sights.
6. Castle Combe, Wiltshire
Castle Combe has easily earned its reputation as the prettiest village in the UK, as a classic fairytale village nestled between the lush hills and a rolling river. It is well known for its beautiful historical stonework, quaint townhouses and of course, stunning churches. Travellers are absolutely enchanted by its quiet, romantic atmosphere and its proximity to naturepastures and forests are sitting just across the street. Guests looking for a really historically rich experience all recommend a stay at the Manor House, which was build to replace a 14th century castle and has housed many Lords thought the past. Its preservation has made it both a valuable historical site and a beacon of luxury for travellers in the area. Even if you don’t stay there, it’s certainly worth a visit for a walk through the gardens.
7. Lacock, Wiltshire
Similarly to Castle Combe, Lacock is a quintessential example of an historic UK village. So much so, in fact, that is has been frequently used as a cinema filming location, most popularly in Harry Potter and Downton Abbey. A plethora of medieval, stone architecture, twisted cobblestone pathways and mossy exteriors stun guests at any time throughout the year. The Lacock Abbey is the most popular attraction town, and if you happen to visit in spring, the gardens are a spectacular place for a picnic. Some visitors plan their entire itinerary around filming locations of their favourite series, while others take a less structured approach to taking in the sights. Whatever you choose, you will not be disappointed by this little town.
8. Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire
Robin Hood’s Bay is the stunning England village that perfectly marries the traditional architecture of the UK’s classic countryside towns and the rugged terrain of the coastline. Robbin Hood’s Bay actually got it’s name due to it’s use for smuggling contraband from Europe in the past- how neat is that? Stone houses adorned with terracotta shingles and colourful front doors line the winding roads, which are known to be a sloping maze down to the water. Several local restaurants have terraces overlooking the sea and you can always plan a trip to one of the local beaches. That being said, a quick hike in the other direction will take you across moorland and through farm pastures.
9. Portmerion, Wales
This spunky little town is one of the top village destinations, not just in Wales, but in all of the UK, for good reason. Even the rainiest of days feel bright and cheerful in Portmerion, which is chalked full of colourful buildings and beautiful flower gardens. Many have stated that this seaside town feels inspired by Disney, or Alice in Wonderland, and looking at its vibrant mix or quirky and extravagant architecture, we can’t say we would disagree. The village, however is considered a major tourist attraction and there is a toll at the town entrance gate-so be sure to plan accordingly if you are going to visit.
10. Armoy, Northern Ireland
Best known for its “Dark Hedges” which were featured in the prominent HBO series Game of Thrones, as “The King’s Road”. It’s certainly no mystery why HBO chose the filming locationthe hedges are a road lined and cover by massive beech trees, planted in the eighteenth century. Travellers describe the scenery as “magical”, and the hedges remain one of the most photographed natural areas in Northern Ireland. Armoy is largely residential with classic, oldenglish style homes, and a stone parish. However, the recent influx of tourism thanks to the show has caused many of these traditional homes to be converted into quaint bed and breakfasts. The village itself is pretty, though rather ordinary, but the landscapes surrounding it will absolutely take your breath away.
No matter where you choose for you next getaway, you can’t go wrong. The UK is full of stunning villages, each with their own unique architecture, landscape and beauty- you’re sure to feel like you’re caught up in a fairy tale everywhere you go