10 of The Most Beautiful Villages In Britain
Despite the unfair stereotypes of being a persistently gray, rainy collection of isles, Britain is actually home to some of the most stunning villages in the world be they coastal hamlets or little, green enclaves.
From the coastlines of Northern Ireland to the rugged outlines of the Scottish Highlands, or the dramatic scenery of the Welsh valleys, these small spots that people call home can be amazingly beautiful and shine a light on the lives of a truly eclectic and diverse group of people.
1. Castle Combe - Wiltshire, England
Located on the banks of the Bybrook river, Castle Combe is quite often referred to as 'the prettiest village in England'. This is not only because of its picturesque setting in the Wiltshire Cotswolds but also because of its stunning construction and architecture with cottages of Cotswolds stone built during a period when milling was the main form of income.
The medieval clock at St. Andrew's church still works and the beauty and essence of rural England it captures has caught the eye of filmmakers as well with the Oscar-nominated War Horse from Steven Spielberg starting out here as well as the fantasy film Stardust.
2. Hawkshead - Cumbria, England
Another English beauty, Hawkshead has served as inspiration to the likes of poet William Wordsworth's youth at the Old Grammar School. At the heart of the aptly named Lake District, it sits between both Lake Coniston and Lake Windermere and has a rich vein of history running through it with medieval origins permeating the cobbled streets.
Filled with typical English pubs and the ruins of the 15th-century Hawkshead Hall there is plenty to see and do including the Beatrix Potter gallery which showcases the work of the world-famous author and illustrator.
3. Porthdinllaen - Gwynned, Wales
On the Llŷn peninsula, this hamlet is a natural port and so, unsurprisingly, has a history of seafaring and fishing enmeshed with its way of life. Largely untouched by modern development, the community is a throwback to simpler times where you can rock pool on the sandy beach or enjoy a pint of the local beer.
Look inland and you will see rolling hills leading onto the coast of this stunning hidden spot.
4. Plockton - Highland, Scotland
The North West of Scotland is bursting with awe-inspiring imagery and none more so than the village of Plockton. Surrounded by the lush greenery of the Highlands, the bay opens out into sea views from the once industrious fishing village. With Duncraig castle sitting on one side and a row of quaint cottages curling around the other, the scenery is quite something.
Should, for some bizarre reason, you tire of this though you can always take a boat out on seal spotting trips.
5. Polperro - Cornwall, England
As the valley descends downward and opens up into a bay, Polperro slithers down the hillside and onto the waterfront in a magnificent, if not knee aching, fashion that encompasses land and see in one fell swoop.
Its history saw it become famous for pilchard fishing and then infamous for smuggling, all of which can be explored at the local heritage museum after a delicious seafood lunch or walk around the shops selling handcrafted goods and wares.
6. Luss - Argyll and Bute, Scotland
On the Western side of the water's edge of the magnificent Loch Lomond sits the small village of Luss, a community built of 18th and 19th-century houses from sandstone and slate. Located in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs national park it is an excellent starting point to further venture out into the areas beautiful surroundings.
The pier jutting out into the water allows for glorious glimpses of the loch and the local church has a Victorian stained glass window of the highest caliber.
7. Fort Augustus - Highland, Scotland
Steeped canal locks lead away from the iconic Loch Ness to the South where Fort Augustus sits watching the boats head towards Inverness. Cruise out to look for the fabled monster or hike the hills to one of the many fantastic eateries and pubs in the area.
With the Caledonian Canal Center telling the history of the area it is ideal for those into their boating and offers up more than just a possible sighting of Nessie.
8. Beddgelert - Gwynned, Wales
On the fringes of the outrageously gorgeous Snowdonia National Park, legend suggests that the town is named after the hunting dog of the 13th century Prince Llewelyn. The dog was called Gelert whose grave resides a short distance south of Beddgelert.
Now a spot to sight nesting Ospreys or take in the stunning flower displays it is located at the crux of where the Glaslyn and Colwyn rivers meet.
9. Cushendun - County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Cushendun was actually built as a replica of a Cornish village complete with harbor side houses and stone bridges over the River Dun at which it lies at the mouth of. Owned by the National Trust, it is incredibly well kept and is less than an hours drive from the Giant's Causeway.
The Antrim coast has many spectacles to behold and this is just one of them.
10. Groomsport - County Downs, Northern Ireland
Near to both Bangor and Belfast, this village offers up sandy beaches and a charming harbor with a thatched roof museum telling the history of the area.
A three-day festival that commemorates the launching of the Eagle Wing ship with the intention of exploring America takes place every year as the village was the launch site for the ill-fated voyage.