18 Prettiest Villages in England

Updated April 28, 2023
About the Author: Denise Cruz has lived in 4 countries and visited 35+ others. After her second sabbatical, she began sharing travel advice at Wander Her Way.

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What are the most beautiful villages in England?

London may be a popular destination for tourists visiting the UK. But beyond the big city, there are countless quaint villages that embody all the charm and beauty of the English countryside.

England is full of gorgeous villages, historic sites, and beautiful national parks. And some of the prettiest villages in England are a short distance away from the capital. You can visit many of these villages on a day trip from London so it would be a shame for you to miss them!

Taking a trip to a region like the Cotswolds, Lake District, or Dorset is a great way to see more of what England has to offer, especially by way of charming villages and towns along the way.

I took a road trip through England during the summer and fell in love with all the small villages that I visited throughout the countryside! That inspired me to compile a list of the prettiest villages in England, which I’ll share with you.

18 Prettiest Villages in England

Here are 18 of the prettiest villages in England to add to your travel bucket list:

1. Painswick, Gloucestershire, England

Prettiest Villages in England

The Cotswolds region is known for being filled with some of the prettiest villages in England, but Painswick stands out as being one of the best. This charming, picturesque hillside village is home to narrow winding lanes and beautiful stone houses.

2. Upper Swell, Gloucestershire, England

Prettiest Villages in England

Another Cotswold village, Upper Swell, is incredibly picturesque, with many walking and cycling paths nearby. Making this village even more quaint is the small babbling river running through it.

3. Stanton, Gloucestershire, England

Prettiest Villages in England

Stanton is a small 16th-century village in the Cotswolds that is filled to the brim with charm. Most of the houses in Stanton are made from the same local yellow limestone, giving it a pretty and uniform look as you wander down the winding streets.

4. Snowshill, Gloucestershire, England

Prettiest Villages in England

Snowshill is most famous for its nearby lavender fields, which come into bloom during mid-June and July every year. The village itself is quiet and quaint, set in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds.

You may recognize Snowshill from the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary, where it played the role of the fictional village where Bridget Jones grew up.

5. Rye, East Sussex, England

Prettiest Villages in England

Rye, with its mixture of classic Tudor and medieval homes, is an enchanting English village that will make you feel like you’ve gone back in time as you wander down its cobblestone streets.

American-British author Henry James lived in Rye for nearly two decades. He wrote some of his most regarded books there, including The Ambassadors and The Wings of the Dove.

6. Polperro, Cornwall, England

Prettiest Villages in England

Heading down to the English coast of Cornwall, you will find the charming seaside village of Polperro. This former fishing village is now a popular holiday spot with its pretty whitewashed houses and peaceful harbor. Perfect for a calming coastal getaway.

Polperro has been home to many artists, but most notably British painter Walter Langley.

7. Ombersley, Worcestershire, England

Prettiest Villages in England

Ombersley is a pretty little village located in Worcestershire. Its main highlights are its beautiful preserved black and white half-timbered buildings dating back to the Elizabethan era.

8. Minster Lovell, Oxfordshire, England

Prettiest Villages in England

Minster Lovell is a tiny and beautiful village in the Cotswolds with a timeless, peaceful feeling to it. Interestingly, it is also reported to be the most haunted village in the Cotswolds…

9. Kingham, Oxfordshire, England

This charming Cotswold village was named “England’s Favorite Village,” and it isn’t hard to see why. With pretty stone and thatch houses and a large open green, Kingham is one of the prettiest villages in England and the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.

10. Kettlewell, North Yorkshire, England

Kettlewell, located in North Yorkshire, is a great base for exploring the nearby Yorkshire Dales National Park. The village itself is also a lovely place filled with quaint stone houses.

11. Hope Cove, Devon, England

Located in the southwestern region of Devon, Hope Cove is a beautiful coastal village you will love. With clear blue waters, sandy beaches, and a pretty town, this is the perfect summer destination.

12. Hawkshead, Cumbria, England

Hawkhead is a must-see village if you are in England’s famous Lake District. This quaint town dates back to the 12th century and is home to the Beatrix Potter Museum.

13. Castle Combe, Wiltshire, England

Castle Combe in Wiltshire has long been considered “the prettiest village in England.” For it, it is certainly one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds. With its charming old stone buildings situated along a meandering river, it’s not hard to see why this scenic little village is so popular with tourists visiting the region.

14. Broadway, Worcestershire, England

Another beautiful Cotswolds village, Broadway makes a name for itself with its popular art scene and numerous local art galleries. The old yellow limestone buildings give this village a lovely appeal.

15. Broad Campden, Gloucestershire, England

Broad Campden is a teeny-tiny village in the Cotswolds and the perfect place to stop to get away from the crowds in the more popular villages. Although the town is made up of little more than a church and a pub, there are many beautiful walking trails nearby.

16. Bibury, Gloucestershire, England

Another contender for one of the prettiest villages in England is Bibury. This bucolic village is nestled in the rolling hills of the beautiful Cotswolds region and is most famous for its often-photographed ancient weavers’ cottages dating back to the 14th century.

Arlington Row, pictured above, is one of the most photographed streets in the Cotswolds. You may also recognize it from the movie Stardust with Sir Ian McKellen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sienna Miller, and Claire Danes.

📌 Book a full-day trip to the Cotswolds from London and visit Bibury along with other pretty villages in England.

17. Muker, North Yorkshire, England

Prettiest Villages in England

Located in the Yorkshire Dales, Muker is a small hillside village filled with pretty slate-roofed stone buildings. It’s a popular stop for walkers, with multiple walking paths passing through the village.

18. Beesands, Devon, England

Prettiest Villages in England

Little more than a tiny fishing village, Beesands is located on the seaside in Devon, England. This village is home to a beautiful shingle beach and plenty of fresh seafood, mainly lobster and crab.

Final Thoughts: Prettiest English Villages in england

There are countless charming villages throughout England, and picking the best ones is really a matter of personal taste. So how did I go about choosing these?

Well, here are the criteria I used to create this list of the prettiest villages in England:

  • Natural beauty: Some of these small towns are surrounded by stunning mountains, hills, rivers, lakes, and just overall postcard-like scenery.
  • Architectural charm: I just can’t get enough of the picturesqueness (yes, that’s a word, I looked it up) of such well-preserved cottages and houses that you see in these English villages.
  • Cultural significance: while these charming villages may not have been at the center of English history, some were the birthplaces and homes of famous artists or writers, which I find particularly intriguing.
  • Vibes: Festivals, events, and a lively town center full of friendly people was my inspiration for this scoring category.

As you can see, I used a highly subjective approach to come up with my pick for the most beautiful villages in England, but I hope you enjoyed reading this blog.

Where to Next?

Which of these prettiest villages in England would you like to visit?

🇬🇧 Check out the visitor’s guides I wrote for two of my favorite stops along my English countryside road trip: Castle Combe and Bibury.

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England Countryside Towns

Denise, travel blogger at Wander Her Way

About Denise Cruz

Denise is a marketing executive who escaped corporate to travel the world… twice. A Brazilian native living in the U.S., she’s lived in 4 countries and visited 35+ others. After side-hustling her way to financial independence, she curates solo destination guides, slow travel tips, and travel blogging advice on Wander Her Way. When she’s not on the road, you can find her in Miami with her dog Finnegan.