If you’re looking for a relaxing trip outside the city, these options are perfect for you. Among the highlighted towns is the picturesque Windsor, located on the banks of the River Thames and home to the majestic Windsor Castle.
Henley-on-Thames is also noteworthy, known to be a paradise for rowing enthusiasts, and the peaceful Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, with its stone facades and narrow streets. Another place to highlight is the medieval town of Rye, with its thatched-roof houses and cobbled streets. Undoubtedly, these are fantastic destinations for those seeking a picturesque getaway close to London.
However, sometimes it’s nice to escape the city and explore some of the gems just a short train ride away. We’ve compiled a list of the five most beautiful villages near London that will surely inspire you to take a day trip or even a longer stay. Let’s start with charming villages to escape to from London!
Rye is a small medieval town in East Sussex that has been called «the jewel of the Kent coast». The town is known for its well-preserved architecture and its cobbled alleys.
The area around Rye has been described as Britain’s most beautiful landscape and boasts beautiful beaches, cliffs, and fields. We must mention the delicious pub food and the beer that is served here.
Castle Combe, recognized by many as the most charming village in England, is located 162 kilometers from London. Once you venture into its cobbled alleyways, it’s hard to resist its irresistible charm.
Located in Wiltshire county, Castle Combe is a frequent stop on any itinerary of the famous British Cotswolds. With a population of only 350 people, strolling through its narrow streets feels like time has stopped just for you. It’s one of those rare places where absolute tranquility reigns.
This picturesque village has served as a setting for various films and TV series. Occasionally, slices of cake and cookies can be found in front of some of the houses for visitors to taste the local pastries. Along with these trays, there is a small box to deposit the purchase money, in a gesture that reinforces the idyllic atmosphere of the place.
To complete the experience of visiting Castle Combe, you can enjoy a drink or coffee at one of its two pubs. You can also visit its 13th-century church, where, it is said, one of the oldest clocks in the whole country operates. And if you wish to spend more time in this wonderful environment, the Manor House Hotel, a five-star accommodation established in the 14th century, is the ideal and unique option.
In this town to the west of London, you can visit the oldest miniature park in the world: Bekonscot. The place is very popular locally among families.
Remember when we mentioned Castle Combe as the most beautiful village in England? Well, our certainties may wobble upon discovering Clovelly, a small fishing enclave in Devon. It’s so charming that we couldn’t help but include it in our list of the 10 most attractive villages near London.
In Clovelly, the worry for time is nonexistent: cars are banned. Every aspect of this place is maintained with a delicacy and affection that makes anyone who visits fall in love with its essence. Take a stroll through its streets until you reach the centuries-old harbor where you can see colorful boats calmly anchored in the water.
Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a traditional tea in one of its locals and immerse yourself in the decor and atmosphere of the place. We guarantee you will not want to leave ever.
This is one of the most famous coastal cities in England, easily accessible from the capital, with its beautiful promenade typical of English resorts. The impressive Seven Sisters cliffs are just next door.
Hertford, a quiet town located about 45 kilometers from London, is a perfect place for a day trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Hertford is a place of rich history, visible in elements such as its 10th century castle. It was built by King Edward the Elder and has been the scene of numerous important events. Furthermore, the environment of Hertford is unique, with numerous canals and boats converted into homes, and walking along its river paths is a real delight.
Hertford’s privileged location, surrounded by nature, has been used in the past by royalty to enjoy country life. To delve into the history of Hertford, it is recommended to visit the local museum dedicated to its history. It is an experience you cannot miss.
Despite its size and having only 25 thousand inhabitants, Hertford, which is the capital of Hertfordshire County, has a vibrant social life. This is mainly manifested in its numerous pubs and restaurants. Don’t hesitate to enjoy a beer in one of them before returning to London, as only then can you say that you have truly visited Hertford.
Henley-on-Thames is a small town in Oxfordshire, famous for its annual regattas. The Thames River is the heart of the town and it is interesting to see it navigating the river while walking through the town. Henley-on-Thames is also known for its Georgian architecture, its vibrant cultural scene, and its local shops. If you like wine, be sure to visit the local vineyards.
Bourton on the Water
Bourton on the Water, popularly known as «the Venice of the Cotswolds», is a picturesque village located about 140 kilometers from London. This charm comes from the small Windrush river that flows through it, providing it with a landscape worthy of being captured in photography.
The limestone-built houses, some transformed into charming businesses, line the river between green areas and picturesque bridges that cross it. Just visualizing this scene, it’s easy to understand why it’s one of the most visited destinations in the Cotswolds, don’t you think?
You can enjoy a quiet stroll through its streets, stop to have something cool in one of its shops and, if you’re interested, you can visit the Costwold Motoring Museum to learn about the history of 20th century vehicles. This will be the perfect way to culminate your visit.
The famous city of Kent, southeast of London, is internationally recognized for its imposing cathedral, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, but also for its ancient medieval center. The city is quite touristy.
Winchester is a historic city in Hampshire, which was the capital of England before London. It is said to be full of history and culture, including the famous Winchester Cathedral and Jane Austen’s house, where she wrote some of her novels. The local museums are impressive and often hold events and workshops to encourage visitors to interact with the city’s history and culture.
The small town of Stratford-upon-Avon, located on the banks of the River Avon, has an undisputed cultural claim: it is the birthplace of the most famous English writer in history, William Shakespeare. Of course, we could not fail to include it in our list of charming towns to visit from London.
So, in addition to walking through its streets and immersing yourself in the charm of its Tudor-era houses, which are more than 500 years old, enjoying its cottages and lively pubs, you cannot miss visiting the house where the illustrious writer was
We delve once again into the English countryside to explore Bibury, a charming village filled with small stone houses from which, we assure you, you won’t want to leave. When you begin to discover the fascinating places it has, you will be tempted to move permanently.
Arlington Row is one of those places that make the village so attractive. This row of 14th-century weavers’ cottages, built in stone next to the Coln River at the height of the textile industry, is a must-visit in Bibury. For its part, Arlington Mill, which was originally a cloth mill and then a corn mill, now houses a museum with an extensive collection of memorabilia from William Morris, a prominent British architect, designer, textile master, poet, novelist, and activist.
Walking through the narrow streets that wind around the village, admiring the old houses and the nature that surrounds them, is a activity that you definitely must do on your visit to Bibury. We promise you will enjoy every minute!
Cambridge is a university city located in the east of England. It is known for its world-renowned universities, however, this city is also a great destination to discover British culture and history. The city is famous for its boat rides along the River Cam and the iconic architecture of its colleges. Additionally, the beers and the atmosphere of the pubs are famous throughout the city.
A few kilometers south of the city of Cambridge, this large village, which was an important airbase during World War II, is home to the Imperial War Museum, well-known and visited by lovers of the genre.
Located between the gentle hills of Wiltshire county and just two hours from the British capital, is the picturesque village of Lacock, famous for having been the setting for acclaimed films like Harry Potter and Emma.
It’s not surprising, given that the cobbled streets of Lacock and its historic houses make this place a perfect site to spend a few days and escape the routine. Many of its buildings, most of them erected in the 18th century, although it also has a 14th-century barn and a 15th-century house, are protected by the National Trust, which is responsible for conserving sites of historical and natural importance.
The creation of this charming village near London dates back to the 11th century, although it gained greater relevance in the 13th century, with the construction of Lacock Abbey by the Countess of Salisbury.
In summary, these are the most beautiful villages near London, each with its own distinctive history and natural beauty. We hope you have been inspired to embark on an adventure outside the city and exploring everything these places have to offer. You never know what you can find in a beautiful village near London!
From the picturesque Rye with its cobbled streets, to the impressive Windsor castle, these gems in the surroundings of the capital of the United Kingdom do not disappoint. The natural landscapes and the historical architecture that can be appreciated in these places are simply excellent. In addition, the ease of reaching them by public transport makes them even more attractive for visitors.
There is no doubt that these beautiful villages should be included in any tourist itinerary for those visiting London in 2023 – 2024.
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