Villages, and village life, are part of Britain’s charm, but often they are this nation’s unsung heroes.
Whether you’re planning day trips or a holiday this summer, or are simply curious to find out more about the UK’s more rural communities, there’s so much to discover.
With this in mind, here’s a list of some of our favourites…
1. Manorbier, Pembrokeshire
A fairytale castle, perfectly secluded little bay, historical, stony streets and welcoming tea room and pub, all cuddled by rich, leafy landscapes - what more could you ask for? What Manorbier lacks in size is makes up for with oodles of charm.
2. Cushendun, County Antrim
Dubbed one of the ‘jewels of the Glens of Antrim’, village life at Cushendun centres around the picture-postcard harbour. If you think the place has a pretty Cornish feel to it, that’s because it was meant to: Clough William Ellis designed it in 1912 to please his Penzance-born wife, Maud. The village’s main houses today operate as craft shops and tea rooms.
3. Bibury, Gloucestershire
The Cotswolds is world famous for its picturesque scenery, and Bibury, with its centuries-old weavers’ cottages on the model-village-esque Arlington Row, stone bridge and trickling river is utterly dreamy. No wonder it’s said to be one of the most photographed sites in Britain.
4. Kilchoan, Argyll
As one of Britain’s most westerly villages, Kilchoan is one of a handful of villages and hamlets dotted along and around the Ardnamurchan peninsula. The rugged, unspoilt coastal walks are full of hidden gems and painterly scenes, including the aquamarine waters and golden sands of Sanna Bay.
5. Turville, Buckinghamshire
Vicar of Dibley fan? Then you’ll already be familiar with the picturesque village of Turville, where the popular series was filmed. It’s featured in a number of films too, including 101 Dalmations and Goodnight Mr Tom. You might not spot Dawn French and co meandering around any more, but you could stretch your legs on an amble up the hill to Cobstone Windmill for fabulous views of the village.
6. Porthdinllaen, Gwynedd
More a cluster of homes than a village, Porthdinllaen sits on its own little sandy bay tucked between Nefyn Gold Club and Morfa Nefyn beach. The bold, red-painted Ty-Coch (which means Red House in Welsh) pub takes pride of place in the middle, serving up superb views of Snowdonia and Yr Eifl mountains, along with pints and Scampi Fries.
7. Lydford, Devon
This grey-stone village on the edge of Dartmoor boasts two castles and is said to be haunted. Whether or not you believe in ghost stories, you’ll be stunned by its gorgeous country walks and nearby Lydford Gorge. This National Trust site, which spans from Devil’s Cauldron whirlpool to the White Lady waterfall, is so deep it even has its own microclimate.
Which villages do you love? Tell us about your favourite rural spots in the Comments section below.