11 must-see villages in the English countryside
With lockdown restrictions lifting one after the other, how about embarking on a road-trip through the English countryside?
On the English Channel, in the heart of Cornwall, discover the old fishing village of Polperro, also known for its art galleries and shops where you can buy ceramics and jewellery. In the summer, the cottages are covered in brightly coloured flowers as they wind their way through the narrow, car-free streets. On the coast, you may be lucky enough to discover real open-air pools at high tide.
The town in the county of Somerset, in the south-west of England, is home to one of the world's largest music and entertainment festivals.
Since 1970, David Bowie, the Cure, Oasis, Radiohead, Coldplay, Beyonce and the Rolling Stones have graced the stage of the festival.
The town is also famous for its hill called 'tor'. Surrounded by seven terraces that form a sort of labyrinth, the hill offers a breathtaking view of Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire.
The rowing capital is best known for the Royal Henley Regatta, which takes place in July on the River Thames, but river trips can be enjoyed all year round.
If you're more comfortable on land, the old town is well worth a visit, with its vintage pubs and stilt houses. An hour's drive from London, it's the perfect place to get away from it all!
Not far from the North Sea stands one of the most beautiful English castles in the country: Bamburgh Castle, the seat of the kings of the ancient kingdom of Northumbria. The huge stone building stands in the middle of the dunes, facing the sea, and overlooks numerous beaches where you can take a breath of fresh air.
To the north-west of the British capital, in the Peak District National Park, lies one of the most beautiful villages in the English countryside: Castleton, dominated by Peverin Castle, the former residence of William the Conqueror's son.
Many visitors also come to see the caves in the vicinity, including Peak Cavern, which is probably the most coveted natural cave along with Speedwell.
This coastal village in Norfolk County is an ideal base for fans of the great outdoors, where seals and migratory birds also make their home.
Blakeney and the surrounding towns are particularly well known for their seafood restaurants. These sit alongside the cottages that were once home to fishermen when the village was a trading port in the Middle Ages.
Bibury is a picturesque village in the Cotswolds, in the county of Gloucestershire. The River Coln runs through it, making it the perfect place to stroll along the water's edge, between stone houses and green lawns. The writer William Morris was right when he called it 'the most beautiful village in England' in one of his writings...
Within the Dartmoor National Park, come and see the typical small thatched houses of Lustleigh. Its 13th century church and the village orchard are well worth a visit. At the heart of the orchard is a curiosity: a large stone for the crowning of the May Queen, which takes place every year on May Day.
Bourton-on-the-Water, northwest of London, is known as the 'Little Venice of the Costwolds' and is famous for the many small bridges over the River Windrush. There are many places to visit, including Birdland Park and Gardens and The Model Village.
Along with Stonehenge, Avebury is one of the best known groups of megaliths in the world. In Wiltshire, the menhir alignments at Avebury, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are the largest in the world. This unique landscape provides an insight into the burial and ceremonial practices of the Neolithic and Bronze Age. In addition to the cromlechs and menhirs, you can also visit Avebury Manor and its gardens.
Built on a hilltop overlooking the River Rother, Rye is a walled village in East Sussex. Be sure to walk down Mermaid Street, with its wooden and brick houses. Take a look at Lamb House, an early 18th century building that was home to both King George I and writer Henry James. The village church, Saint Mary's Church, with its churchyard in the middle of the village, is also worth a visit.