Most travelers visiting England spend all their time in the bustling, action-packed capital. While London is definitely worth exploring, there is also so much of the country to see beyond the borders of the famous city.
The English coastline and countryside are scattered with delightful little towns that you should add to your bucket list. Often boasting medieval structures, architecture dating back to the 17th century, and unique museums, the villages offer visitors plenty to see and do.
Also, the beauty and charm of these towns are second to none. Keep reading to find out which English towns and villages you should visit next.
10 Windsor, Berkshire
A town straddling the River Thames in the southeast of England, Windsor starred on the world stage in 2018 as the setting of the wedding between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, which was held at Windsor Castle. Just west of London, the town and its castle are one of the favorite residences of the British Royal Family.
The castle itself is full of history, having been built by William the Conqueror in the 11thcentury. While in Windsor you can take tours of the castle’s State Apartments and check out the impressive royal art collection.
9 Rye, East Sussex
If you ever feel like visiting a city from the Middle Ages, you need only visit Rye in East Sussex. Named after the bank of a river, the Rye is surrounded by three rivers and has historically served as one of the most prominent harbors in the country.
While in Rye, you should visit the Ypres Tower. Once functioning as a prison, the tower is now a museum and Rye’s answer to the Tower of London. When you’re done looking through the exhibitions and artifacts, you can climb to the top of the tower for a sublime view of the harbor.
8 Burford, Oxfordshire
Anybody interested in picturesque English villages has no doubt heard of the fairytale-like rolling hills in the countryside known as the Cotswolds, which houses some of the most charming villages in the country. One such town is Burford in Oxfordshire. With streets lined with trees and limestone cottages, it really is pretty as a picture.
The church in Burford is a point of interest (once you’re done taking photos of the classic British scenery). A Roman villa once stood on its grounds, and you can still see some remains of the tile mosaics.
7 Bakewell, Derbyshire
Part of Peak District National Park, Bakewell in Derbyshire is ideal for travelers who love the outdoors. In the area, you can do everything from trekking and hiking to exploring caves and even paragliding. The town is also home to the All Saints Church, parts of which date back to the 900s.
Most Brits would be familiar with Bakewell’s claim to fame: sweets. The Bakewell pudding and the Bakewell tart are both said to have originated here, so make sure to sample the delicious traditional desserts while you’re in town.
6 Whitby, North Yorkshire
Though the fishing port of Whitby is still picturesque, its vibe is significantly spookier than that of its fairytale-like counterparts. Parts of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula are set in Whitby, including the site of Dracula’s first appearance in England. There’s also the haunting ruins of Whitby Abbey to visit, as well as the bi-annual Whitby Goth Weekend.
Condè Nast Traveler advises that another iconic thing to do in the town is to get your hands on some Whitby Jet jewelry, which was adored by both Romans and Victorians after being mined in the nearby moorlands.
5 Stamford, Lincolnshire
Can’t get enough of quintessential English beauty? Head to Stamford in Lincolnshire, which is sometimes referred to as the “finest stone town” in England. Known for its Georgian architecture, Stamford may look like it belongs in the past, but the town offers plenty to see and do. With more than 30 pubs operating in Stamford, there is plenty of variety.
The film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was filmed in Stamford, making use of the old Elizabethan mansion known as Burghley House. You can visit the opulent mansion on your next visit!
4 Lavenham, Suffolk
With its pastel-colored homes and buildings dating back to the 15thcentury, Lavenham is one of the prettiest and most charming towns in the UK. This is the perfect place to visit on a day trip from London since it’s located just two hours out of the capital city.
Known as a trade hub in medieval times, Lavenham is now famous for another reason. The town’s De Vere House, a 14thcentury cottage, appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, as the Godrick’s Hollow home of the Potters, where Harry had his famous run-in with Voldemort.
3 Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland
History lovers need to add Berwick-upon-Tweed to their bucket lists since it’s one of the most fought-over towns in the history of the United Kingdom. Between 1174 and 1482, the Northumberland town was passed continuously between Scotland and England. Now part of England, Berwick-upon-Tweed still has visible remnants of its Scottish influence, including the local dialect and its football culture.
There are endless things to see in the town, especially if you’re a history lover. Take your pick from castle ruins from the 13thcentury, the oldest army barracks in Britain, medieval town walls, and a famous 17th-century bridge.
2 Holmes Chapel, Cheshire
Fans of the band One Direction know Holmes Chapel as the hometown of singer Harry Styles, but you might want to add this one to your bucket list even if you don’t call yourself a Directioner. Check out the Jodrell Bank Observatory, the 13th-century St. Luke’s Church, and in September, the Croco Brook Farm which boasts one of the prettiest gardens in the country.
Beyond Holmes Chapel, Cheshire is home to a number of stunning estates, cozy inns, and the famous Beeston Castle and Woodland Park, known as the Castle on the Rock.
1 Upper And Lower Slaughter, Gloucester
The twin villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter in Gloucester are one of the prettiest parts of the Cotswolds. Though their name might not sound enticing, it actually originates from an archaic word meaning mud.
While visiting the villages, spend your time strolling along the River Eye, soaking up the beauty of the rural cottages, buildings dating back to the 14thcentury, and the surrounding green countryside. Upper and Lower Slaughter offer the perfect opportunity to take a break from the business of life and relax for a while.