5 Beautiful Villages in Britain

By Lili Lengkana | 07, Feb, 2018
5 Beautiful Villages in Britain

What are your favourite attractions when you visit the UK? Football Stadium Tours, the Premier League, Shakespeare, Castles, Museums, Fish & Chips, or shopping? Well, I bet there are many things that you can do and see as a tourist in Britain. However, have you ever visited a village in Britain? In the UK, Britons love travelling to other parts of the country to visit these many old, yet beautiful villages. Captivating views, preserved traditional British stone houses, tea houses, tales of yore, local food, and many charming things attract Britons to visit old villages in Britain. Nowadays, many tourists from around the world have started to come visit these hidden gems of Britain to appreciate their magnificent presence.

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The following is my personal list of 5 Beautiful Villages in Britain for you to consider, the next time you visit:

1. Bibury Village

Bibury Village is widely regarded as the most beautiful and charming village in England; it is one of the six places in the United Kingdom featured in the Mini-Europe miniature park in Brussels, Belgium. This village is located in the district of Cotswold, at the Gloucestershire County. To get there you can take a train from any big city in the UK to Kemble, which is the nearest railway station to Bibury, and continue thereafter by taxi, which will cost about £25.

Alternatively, you can rent a car and drive to this village by using the postcode GL7 5NJ in your GPS. You can park your car opposite the Bibury Trout Farm, or alongside the River Coln, and explore the village on foot. One thing to note though: if you were planning to go there by car, it is advisable to come in the morning because the parking space opposite the Trout Farm has only about a 10-car capacity, and the nearby parking spaces alongside the river Coln are also limited. Due to the popularity of this village, these parking spaces are expected to be full before lunch time, and it would be quite difficult to find another car park near the village centre. The best time to visit this village is during spring, summer and autumn.

What will you find in Bibury Village?

Arlington Row

Picture Credit - © Lili Lengkana @moonsilvershine

The most famous attraction in Bibury is the iconic Arlington Row, which is a nationally notable architectural conservation area depicted on the inside cover of all United Kingdom passports. Being one of the most photographed scenes in Cotswold, the cottages in Arlington Row were originally built in 1380 as a monastic wool store before it was converted into a row of cottages for weavers in the seventeenth century, and they are amazingly, still in a very good condition today. These identical cottages are lined in rows and indeed look stunning with their low doors and roofs. Furthermore, the surprising part is that all these cottages are still inhabited today. Even though many tourists flock in and take pictures in front of their houses every day, the residents seem undisturbed; they have become used to all this attention as they are very much aware of the significance of their dwellings as a major tourist attraction in Britain.

Bibury Trout Farm

Picture Credit - © Lili Lengkana @moonsilvershine

Bibury Trout Farm. This Trout Farm was founded in 1902 by Arthur Severn, a famous naturalist, with supply from the river Coln which surrounds Bibury Village. This trout farm is located very close to Arlington Row and it is worth visiting too. If you come with your family, a family entry ticket would yield significant savings. Inside the farm, you can fish, and then barbecue the catch by yourself. The trout farm provides all the equipment, and the picnic sites for you to cook the fish. It would be a very exciting experience! They also have their own restaurant inside when you don't have time to do all the things above. Just choose from the fish menu, which mainly consists of trout that should be safe for Muslims, Inshaa Allaah.

Swan Hotel

Swan Hotel. This 4-star classic British country-style hotel has been featured in many TV shows, especially in local and international paranormal TV series, since it's very famous for being haunted. Nevertheless, guests are still flocking in to stay in this hotel, either for that special reason, or because of the sight's beauty and charm. (Note: this is not a promotion of the hotel; the hotel itself is one of the main attractions/landmark in Bibury Village).

 

2. Bourton-on-the Water Village

Picture Credit - © Lili Lengkana @moonsilvershine

There is a reason why this Cotswold village has such a name. This pretty village is located on a flat vale surrounded by the River Windrush, which bordered by long, wide greens, runs through the village's picturesque High Street. Since River Windrush water is shallow in the summer, many children are playing and swimming in the river, trying to catch fish or collecting pebbles. Many small shops and restaurants can be found along the river, which is crossed by several low, arched stone bridges and lined by many willow trees on the greens. It is indeed a very cosy environment which earned this village the nickname “Venice of the Cotswolds”. In winter it turns into a fairy-tale picturesque village, and a very tempting destination for landscape picture hunters.

This village also offers an attraction that you will not find in any other villages in Britain: a miniature model village. While it may sound similar to Madurodam in the Netherlands or Mini-Europe in Brussels, the unique bit is that the miniature Bourton village is solely based on their own village, i.e. this entire village is transformed into a one-ninth the scale miniature stone replica of the original. I do find this is very interesting and unique, and took tons of pictures whilst visiting there.

An ideal holiday for the family, this village also has a Birdland and Garden park that has over 500 birds in its sanctuary. Modest admission fees are charged for entry into all these attractions.

 

3. Castle Combe Village

Castle Combe is located in Wiltshire County, yet it is still part of the Cotswold District. You may notice that many of the villages on my list are located in Cotswold. This is because Cotswolds, which falls into several counties, is famous in England for pretty honey-coloured stone villages and its magnificent countryside, so it has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Castle Combe has been challenging Bibury for the title of 'prettiest village in England.' You can also find medieval style cottage architecture, akin to Arlington Row, across the bridge from Main Street alongside the Bybrook River. This is due to its history as a weaving town at the heart of the Cotswolds wool trade, hence many of these weavers’ cottages were built. Beside architecture, you can also find old water pumps in the Market Cross.

This small village is a popular filming location for many TV Series and movies, most notably in Doctor Doolitle (1967), Agatha Christie: Poirot (1989), and Steven Spielberg's Oscar-Nominated War Horse. Besides this historic heritage, if you love racing cars, you can visit Castle Combe Motor-Racing Circuit nearby.

 

4. Ambleside, Lake District, Cumbria

Picture Credit - © Lili Lengkana @moonsilvershine

Ambleside is located in Cumbria County, Northwest of England. This village has many watermills with water flowing from River Rothay, along with little shops and cafes, so it is a very nice place for walking and window shopping. A short distance from the Ambleside centre, you can find Stock Ghyll Force, behind the Salutation Hotel, a magnificent 70 foot waterfall.

Nevertheless, the major attraction of this village is the surroundings of the Lake District. Visitors can enjoy the grand view of the lake, take a cruise to Windermere, Bowness and Lakeside, and even hike and bike in the hills around the lake. Summer time is ideal to visit, but be prepared to deal with the crowd.

Picture Credit - © Lili Lengkana @moonsilvershine

Personally, I prefer to visit this place in early autumn due to fewer tourists. Don't forget to try the fish & chips here! It is very delicious, but you have to watch out for the beer-battered fish & chips since it isn't permissible for Muslims. Please make sure to ask around before ordering, since there are places which provide regular fish & chips.

 

5. Edensor Village

Picture Credit - © Lili Lengkana @moonsilvershine

Pronouced as 'Ensor', this small estate village is one of my favourites in the list. It is a hidden treasure; this village is not very well known to tourists - and that is what makes it even better in my book! It is located in Derbyshire, in one of the most beautiful locations in the country. With a total population of only 145 in the 2011 census, you can find a very peaceful and pristine village with charming houses. Every house in this village has been renovated, the doors and fences painted in the same, emerald colour. It is indeed, very cute and pretty.

Picture Credit - © Lili Lengkana @moonsilvershine

In the village, you can find residents selling home-made produce in front of their houses from bread, pastries, pies, cookies, jams and even potted plants. However, the unique part is that they display their products without manning them: they just put the price list on a piece of paper next to a money jar on the table near the products, and trust that the buyers will honestly pay for it themselves. In other words, they have complete trust that passers-by who take their produce, will pay for it. What a wonderful community!

This village is located just five minutes from one of the most famous, stately homes in the United Kingdom: Chatsworth House, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire. So, you could visit this magnificent castle after visiting Edensor but there is an admission charge for it.

Well, that concludes my personal opinion about five of the most beautiful villages in Britain.

An important thing to note is that no admission ticket is needed to visit all these villages, and you can read up online on how to get to these villages, as in my description of Bibury Village.

Another plus point for us as Muslims is in every villages or small town in the United Kingdom, you can find a traditional tea room:

Picture Credit - © Lili Lengkana @moonsilvershine

Picture Credit - © Lili Lengkana @moonsilvershine

Picture Credit - © Lili Lengkana @moonsilvershine

The tea rooms are a nice place to have a tea break in a quiet, subdued atmosphere, with delicious British pastries and cookies (ask the staff for non-alcoholic and non-meat ingredients pastries) that you can enjoy. However, please check for the tea room opening hours, which are usually listed online in the village guide, for they have specific times opening for high tea time. It will be a wonderful experience to have traditional tea in the traditional tea rooms there during tea time, and the fact that most of these establishments are alcohol-free and family friendly, means that they are suitable for us perfectly.

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A mother of two, travel aficionado and a bookworm