Planning your next UK-based mini break? Then look no further than our pick of the prettiest villages in the country. Whether you’re after a romantic weekend for two or want to bring together all your closest friends under one roof, we are a big fan of the staycation.No stressful international travel involved, no airport queues or packing woes, instead you get to sit back, relax, and soak in the beauty of your surroundings in just a few hours.
Castle Combe is a quintessentially English village often named as the ‘prettiest village in England.’ The village sits in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north west Wiltshire.Castle Combe has featured regularly as a film location, most recently in The Wolf Man, Stardust and Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse. It was also used in the original Dr Doolittle film. The village has a rich history and the houses are made up of the honey coloured Cotswold stone, typical for a village of this area.Within Castle Combe you’ll find a Market Cross and St Andrew’s Church which dates from the 13th century. The church houses a faceless clock which is reputed to be one of the oldest working clocks in the country. You’ll also find a couple of pubs and a luxury hotel with a golf course within the village.Stroll along the village to the bridge and you’ll not only enjoy the views but may be able to purchase homemade cakes, sweets or bunches of flowers from outside the locals’ houses. Stop at the bottom of the village by the bridge and enjoy a great photographic moment too!On the edge of the village is the Castle Combe Circuit where drivers have the opportunity to test out different vehicles, drive your own car or motorbike around the circuit or tackle the Rally course. There are also a host of events throughout the year at the circuit including race days for both cars and motorbikes.
Beddgelert is a village and community in the Snowdonia area of Gwynedd, Wales. The population of the community taken at the 2011 census was 455.It is reputed to be named after the legendary hound Gelert. The picturesque stone-built village is the ideal base for exploring all the classic sights and beauty spots – Aberglaslyn Pass to the south, Nant Gwynant to the east, Snowdon to the north. Historic cottage of Tŷ Isaf is now a National Trust shop selling local crafts and produce. Nearby Rhyd Ddu, connected by a walking/cycling path, is a great starting point for a walk to the summit of Snowdon. Or go underground at the Sygun Copper Mine, also close by. It’s a popular family attraction with above-ground facilities too, including a children’s adventure playground and new bouncy castle. National Trust’s Craflwyn Estate (an activity, special interest and conference centre) is opposite Sygun on the road to Nant Gwynant. Both Craflwyn and the local tourist information centre have exhibitions on the Princes of Gwynedd. The village is one of the stop-off points on the Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon to Porthmadog.
Plockton is a village in the Highlands of Scotland in the county of Ross and Cromarty with a population of 378. Plockton is a settlement on the shores of Loch Carron. It faces east, away from the prevailing winds, which together with the North Atlantic Drift gives it a mild climate allowing the Cordyline australis palm or cabbage tree to prosper. Most of the houses date from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It was a planned community based on fishing in an attempt to stem the tide of emigration from the Highlands. The Church of Scotland in the village was designed by Thomas Telford. The village is a tourist resort. The television series Hamish Macbeth, starring Robert Carlyle, was filmed there, substituting for the fictional Lochdubh. Plockton was also used for various scenes in the film The Wicker Man and the Inspector Alleyn Mysteries television series.The picturesque village of Plockton boasts an incomparable location on a sheltered bay of Loch Carron surrounded by a ring of hills.Plockton has a charming seaside setting and the road follows the bay with a chocolate-box row of neatly painted cottages arranged around the curve of a tiny harbour. The village is backed by a craggy landscape of heather and pine.In high season it is popular with tourists, with yachts bobbing about in the sheltered waters of the bay, and artists and photographers making use of Plockton’s brilliant light. During the summer, the waterfront, with its row of shaggy palm trees, Highland cattle, flower gardens and pleasure boats, is invariably dotted with painters dabbing at their easels.
Cushendun is a small coastal village in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It sits off the A2 coast road between Cushendall and Ballycastle.Cushendun is a beautiful seaside village on the North Coast alive with small shops and pubs. A series of scenic paths wind through the village, beach front, harbour, and Glendun river. The sheltered harbour and beautiful beach are surrounded by hill farms, hedgerows, traditional dry stone walls and spots for the perfect picnic.Enjoy breathtaking scenery along several walking trails; venture through Cregagh Wood or take a turn round the Red Caves (a favourite filming destination of the Game of Thrones television series.) Historic buildings and Cornish-style architecture (by Clough Williams-Ellis) make Cushendun village an anomaly along the Causeway Coast and Glens. The Corner House tea-room is operated by the National Trust and open during the summer season. Mary McBride’s pub offers food and drinks all year round.
Polperro is a village and fishing harbour on the south-east Cornwall coast in the south west of England, within the civil parish of Lansallos.In Polperro it is easy to step back in time in what is a largely an unspoilt fishing village on the South East coast of Cornwall. Its beautiful cottages cling to steep hillsides around a small harbour with spectacular views of land and sea making it an artist’s paradise. There are shops selling paintings, pottery, jewellery and lots more souvenirs for the visitor. There are also newsagents, bakeries and other shops selling everyday requirements. In addition, there are galleries and arts and crafts exhibitions. Polperro holds an Arts Festival in June each year. Other community events include the Water Carnival and the Furry Dance. You may see Morris men or Clog dancers in the village too. Polperro Fishermen’s Choir is famous throughout Cornwall. It gives open air performances on the quayside in the season.
Porthdinllaen is a gorgeous little harbour village with golden sands, rock pools and fantastic scenic views. The village curves around the cove, and the beach has gentle, shelving sands that are perfect for beach games and well sheltered by the rocky headland. The harbour is great for rock pooling, paddling, shrimping and crabbing. Porthdinllaen has an interesting and rich history of shipbuilding, fishing and smuggling, but now it is in the care of the National Trust, and both professional fishing and pleasure boats shelter in the natural harbour. Some attractions include the Porthdinllaen lifeboat which lies in a cove just north of the village, and just further down the coast is the Nefyn Golf Club- which is internationally renowned for it’s breathtaking scenery and the tranquility of its secluded location. Our luxury cottages near to Porthdinllaen are in an ideal location for exploring this wonderfully pictureseque part of the Lleyn Peninsula.Porthdinllaen on the Llŷn Peninsula has an incredibly rich history. From the iron age fort on the headland to the grand idea of turning the harbour into the main port en route from London to Dublin at the turn of the 18th century, to the prolific shipbuilding and fishing industries which flourished during the 19th century. Many signs of this interesting past can still be discovered today.Wildlife abounds here too. The soft cliffs are home to nesting sand martins and cormorants. Oystercatchers and other coastal birds can often be seen. The headland is also a popular spot with the local grey seals and one of the largest seagrass meadows in North Wales hides beneath the water providing a habitat for many different types of fish.
Luss is a village in Argyll & Bute, Scotland, on the west bank of Loch Lomond. The village is within the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.Luss will be familiar to anyone who has seen the TV Soap “Take the High Road”. Many of the cottages that distinguish Luss were originally erected to house workers in the cotton mill and slate quarries of the 18th and 19th centuries. The homes have been fully restored and Luss has been designated a “Conservation Village”.On early records the village was known as Clachan Dubh, (the dark village) because of its mountain setting, giving two hours less sunlight in the evenings, particularly in the winter time.The name Luss is considered by some to be derived from the Gaelic “Lus”, a plant, although others have suggested that it comes from the French “Luce”, a lily. Several stories exist about the derivation of the present name. One related to that of the Baroness MacAuslin, who died in France, whilst her husband was fighting at the siege of Tournay. Her body was brought back to Luss covered with flowers, especially the fleur-de luce. Some of the flowers grew to the surface of the grave ” and became miraculously efficacious in staying a pestilence then raging through the countryside”.
Groomsport is a village and townland two miles north east of Bangor in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is on the south shore of Belfast Lough and on the north coast of the Ards Peninsula. Few coastal towns and villages in Northern Ireland can compare with Groomsport for scenic charm, tranquil beauty and historical heritage.The beautiful village of Groomsport, just ten minutes from Bangor, is best known for it’s picturesque harbour that was once a major fishing port and it’s two fishermans cottages known as Cockle Row.It’s been high on the list of places to visit in Co Down for centuries. The harbour is reputed to be of Viking origin and the beginnings of the small settlement can be traced to the 9th or 10th century. Groomsport remained a fishing village through the Victorian and Edwardian periods until the 1920s. The Village narrowly missed out on New World fame when the ship Eagle Wing set out from the port, with 140 men, women and children, to attempt an early trip to North America in 1636 only to be defeated by bad weather after eight weeks at sea. The Eagle Wing is celebrated in an annual festival.
Hawkshead is a village and civil parish in Cumbria, England, which attracts tourists to the South Lakeland area. The parish includes the hamlets of Hawkshead Hill, 1.2 miles to the north west, and Outgate, a similar distance north.Hawkshead is an ancient township that has flourished since Norse times, belonging to Furness Abbey until the 12th Century. The monks owned Hawkshead Hall, just outside the village, of which the National Trust owned Hawkshead Courthouse is all that remains. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537, Hawkshead grew as a market town, with many buildings dating from the 17th Century.Hawkshead is still the same tiny village of higgledy-piggledy houses, archways, and squares beloved by William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. Cars are banned from the village, there being a large car park on the outskirts of the village. Tourism is now the main industry of Hawkshead, with many pleasant inns, guest houses, teashops and gift shops.Whilst at school in Hawkshead, William lodged with Ann Tyson and her husband, who were in their sixties, first in the village, then at Colthouse where they moved in 1783. Anne Tyson’s cottage is now used as a holiday cottage.
Fort Augustus is a settlement in the parish of Boleskine and Abertarff, at the south west end of Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands. The village has a population of around 646; its economy is heavily reliant on tourism.Fort Augustus, although small, has a lot going on! This is perhaps due to its geography, situated on the shore at the extreme southwestern end of Loch Ness. With a population between six and seven hundred, the village is compact, picturesque and sometimes bustling with activity – especially so with tourists during the high summer period, though it’s never congested. Boats travel north and south along the Caledonian Canal which cuts through the centre of the village as does the road from Fort William to Inverness via a swing bridge. A lovely tourist (and local) pastime is to sit outside a Fort Augustus bar or restaurant with a drink or meal spending a lazy hour or two watching the boats of all shapes and sizes passing through the series of locks on the canal. Fort Augustus village takes its name from a fort built after the defeat of the 1715 Jacobite uprising. Today, almost nothing remains of the original structure – although some parts were incorporated into the Benedictine Abbey, which dates back to 1876. Today Fort Augustus abbey is no longer an abbey but converted into luxury apartments which are exclusively situated on the shore of Loch Ness.