1. Staithes, North Yorkshire, England
The lovely harbour town of Staithes is the perfect place to get away for gorgeous views of the seaside and a quaint, peaceful atmosphere. In September, the town hosts the Staithes Festival, where locals sell handmade goods, and you can always count on the Cleveland Corner Bistro to serve some absolutely delicious fresh seafood.
This positively magical village is situated on the River Coln in the Cotswolds and is easily reached from the more connected Cirencester. Spend a leisurely afternoon wandering through the picturesque streets, and be sure to stop off at the atmospheric Catherine Wheel for a pint or a meal.
Lacock dates back the 13th century and has maintained much of its old world charm, making it a favourite for visitors as well as film crews. The quaint Tudor style cottages have appeared in films and programmes including several Harry Potter films and BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. Explore the village and the Abbey where the first photograph negative was developed before popping by the Red Lion for a pint in the garden.
Alfriston is a must-see stop along the South Downs Way walk. The charming country village is the perfect place to get off the trail, take in the 14th century style that still dominates the cosy village, and maybe even stop into the award winning Drusilla’s Park or Foller’s Manor Gardens. Pop into the Ye Old Smuggler’s Inne for a pint before you go.
This magical village on the Welsh coast is ripped straight from the pages of a fairy tale. The lovely holiday town was once the filming location for ITV’s The Prisoner, and hosts the annual music fest, Festival No. 6. Explore the village’s stunning light house on the coast, hidden wishing well, and gorgeous botanical gardens before enjoying a drink while you overlook the town from the Hotel Portmeirion terrace.
Saltaire is a Victorian village resting on the River Aire in Yorkshire. The village developed around the Salts Mill during the Industrial Revolution, and though the mill has now been converted into an arts venue and shopping arcade, little else in the village has changed, offering a peek into the 19th century. Don’t leave without grabbing a drink at the converted woodshed bar, The Hop.
Blockley is lovely year round, but it’s a particularly special sight in the summer when the sun falls on the village’s golden brick houses and churches. Tucked into a valley in the Cotswalds, the former mill village is an ideal countryside escape. For a drink, the vine covered Great Western Arms is the obvious choice.
On the shores of Loch Carron rests the picturesque village of Plockton. With the Loch before it and the Cuillin mountains behind, it has plenty to offer the explorer, not to mention an array of cosy houses and B&Bs for a proper getaway. The village is particularly notable for its wildlife – a mild climate allows cabbage palms to prosper, and Highland cows can be regularly spotted in the village. Come in from the beach or the mountains to enjoy some fresh sea food at The Plockton Inn.
Dating back to the iron age, the countryside village of Abbotsbury is deeply rooted in history, and the charm of days past still hangs thick over the quaint and quiet streets. Today, the village is known for its local arts scene, featuring galleries and studios throughout the town. After a day spent admiring the history and creativity of the Dorset village, grab a pint at the Ilchester Arms.
The houses of Pittenweem bring a delightful shock of colour to accent the dark, choppy seas of Scotland’s east coast. The village developed around the Pittenweem Priory in the 13th century and grew into a thriving fishing town over the centuries. In addition to a charming atmosphere and excellent fresh fish, Pittenween is the home of a delectable chocolate company and hosts an annual Arts Festival. If it’s a drink you’re after, grab a harbour view at The Larachmhor.
Nestled within the Snowdonia National Park, this truly lovely village is the perfect place to grab a bit of civilization while you hike the gorgeous natural landscape. The village’s name originated from Welsh legend – the area is said to be the burial ground of Gelert, the loyal dog of medieval Welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great. While in town, don’t miss the change to grab a local ale from Caffi Gwynant.
Dating back to the 14th century, Painswick is a gem among the Cotswold hills. The village’s church of St Marys is famous for its 99 yew trees, and the town was recently featured on screen in the BBC adaptation of JK Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy. For a real treat, visit Painswick in the summertime, when it plays host to a six week arts festival in the summer. For a few drinks, check out the lovely Falcon Inn.
14. Hawkshead, Cumbria, England
For a leisurely weekend in the Lake District, Hawkshead is the perfect spot. Dating back to Norse times, the village is a hodgepodge of 12th-17th century architecture, and offers a stunning view of the hills. Cosy up for a pint or two in the Queen’s Head Inn before you carry on exploring.
The dark brick that dominates the jumble of cottages on the coast of Crail are a stunning and stark contrast to the blue Scottish sky, and a day on the shores of this lovely fishing village are a real treat. The harbour village has thrived since the 12th century, but maintains its small and cosy atmosphere. End a day on the seaside with a drink at the Balcomie Hotel.
This breathtaking village was once a Roman hill fort and has developed over the centuries into one of the most charming locations in the country. Just 12 miles from Bath, the peaceful town is a great place to spend the day, and you mustn’t miss out on exploring the surrounding countryside. For drinks and meals, the community favourite The White Hart is a must.
Bourton-on-the-Water rose up after the founding of a wooden church in the 8th century. In the 12th century, the village was fostered and developed by Normans and the depth of the history of the place can still be felt today. Charming to a fault, the lovely village sits along the tranquil Windrush River, and is an ideal place to spend a quiet and thoughtful day away. For a drink, pop into the Mouse Trap Inn.
Steeped in history, the picturesque Cerne Abbas is a must for your bucket list. Tucked into a valley along the River Cerne, the village developed around an abbey and boasts positively charming architecture, though it is most famous for the mysterious, 180m high naked chalk figure that dominates its countryside. Once you’ve seen the “Rude Giant,” pop in to the New Inn for a pint.