Ahhh the English countryside – nothing can beat those views of chocolate box cottages, quaint pubs, cricket greens and bowls clubs. And all surrounded by beautiful rolling hills. From the world famous Cotswolds to The Yorkshire Dales, here are 10 idyllic English villages to discover with your children.
1. Bibury, The Cotswolds
Home to Arlington Row, one of the most photographed streets in the country, Bibury is everything you imagine The Cotswolds to be. Honey-hued cottages, a meandering river and a quaint stone church. No wonder it was described by William Morris as “the most beautiful village in England”. Grab some local produce at Bibury Trout Farm Shop, then head for a picnic in the surrounding Gloucestershire countryside.
2. Cartmel, The Lake District
The star attraction in Cartmel is the village shop, which is world famous for its sticky toffee pudding. But there’s more to this place than just toffee – Cartmel is fast becoming a favourite of food loving families, as its local produce continues to win award after award. In particular for its sheep’s cheese and coffee. So if your family love fine food, why not book a break at this beautiful cottage which is perfect for four.
3. Rye, East Sussex
A medieval market town a stone’s throw from Camber Sands, Rye is a very popular daytrip for families in the southeast. Mermaid Street’s timbered houses are the most instagrammable, but you’ll have to get there early to avoid the crowds in summer. You can bribe the kids to follow you round the antique shops and art galleries, by rewarding them with the afternoon spent at the beach.
4. Lacock, Wiltshire
Cared for by the National Trust, Lacock is one of the best preserved English villages – a place where time stands still. Looking almost identical to 200 years ago (even the shop window displays haven’t changed), you can really get a feel for 19th century village life. Explore the traditional stone cottages, the old workhouse and the medieval tithe barn, before heading to the spectacular Lacock Abbey and Photography Museum. You can walk around the village for free, but you must pay for entry to the Abbey and photography museum.
Stay in nearby Bath or Chippenham, or Book a Daytrip From London.
5. Castle Combe, The Cotswolds
Another of The Cotswolds beauties (there are so many to choose from!), Castle Combe is one of those English Villages you would see in a film. In fact, you almost certainly have seen it on screen, as it’s been used in numerous blockbusters including Spielberg’s War Horse. Stroll over the bridge to one of the village pubs or teashops, or head to the famous Castle Combe Circuit to tackle their rally course. Bath is just a few miles away, too, where there are plenty more activities for families.
If you want to stay in this beautiful part of the country, have a look at our selection of family friendly hotels and cottages in The Cotswolds.
6. Beaulieu, The New Forest
One of the most famous villages in The New Forest National Park, Beaulieu attracts worldwide visitors with its riverside charm. Take a hike or bike ride through the surrounding countryside, before refuelling at a pretty local pub. And don’t miss Beaulieu’s National Motor Museum which has one of the finest collections of cars, motorcycles and motoring memorabilia in the world. For more New Forest Family Attractions, click here.
7. Mousehole, Cornwall
One of those English villages which you could return to year after year, Mousehole is certainly on our list of prettiest places in Cornwall. Its maze of narrow, winding lanes are framed by historic stone houses, fish restaurants and pretty boutiques. In summer you can explore local beaches and feast on oysters, whilst December brings its own mid-winter charm, when the harbour is illuminated with Christmas lights.
8. Sandsend, North Yorkshire
This gorgeous little village stretches along a sweep of North Yorks beach, with views of historic Whitby Abbey. Sandsend is perfect for families – it boasts great food, art galleries, boutiques and a good range of accommodation including a luxury hotel and spa. In addition, the village backs onto the Mulgrave Estate where you’ll find lots of great walks.
Take a stroll along the sandy beach to Whitby and its famous Gothic Abbey – the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The views from the top of its 199 steps are incredible. Then to end the day, treat your family to fish and chips from the popular Magpie Cafe.
9. Combe Martin, Devon
Nestled in North Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Combe Martin is perfect for a relaxed family holiday. This area is famed for its beautiful beaches with excellent surf and miles of moorland. Which makes it great for active families.
Combe Martin is something of a hidden gem, often overlooked in favour of Woolacaombe, Croyde and Ilfracome. So with any luck the little village beach will be empty enough for your kids to enjoy rockpooling, kayaking and paddling without too many crowds. And lastly, don’t forget to visit Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park, which dino-mad kids are sure to love.
10. Corfe Castle, Dorset
Famous for its thousand year old castle ruins, this village in Dorset is a wonderful place to discover with your kids. Surrounded by beautiful views over the Isle of Purbeck, you can discover quaint tea rooms, independent shops, cosy pubs and a steam railway. The kids will love the castle, of course, where they can practise shooting their arrows through ancient lookout points, play hide and seek in shadowy corners and stand proudly on the walls of a fallen fortress.
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