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Beautiful UK – Planning to Visit Britain’s Prettiest Villages

As I mentioned last week, my husband and I are hoping to visit the United Kingdom next year. I’ve been researching and asking friends for recommendations and I’ve gotten several suggestions I would never have thought of on my own.

I’m told no getaway to the UK would be complete without a visit to one (or many) of its quintessential villages. I’m thinking cobbled streets, thatched-roof cottages, traditional pubs, and rolling hills. There’s so many to choose from that I don’t know where to begin, but I’m told these are some of the best.

Castle Combe, Wiltshire in England

Castle Combe is known as the prettiest village in England and remains a tourist favorite due to its historic charm. Old stone cottages line the narrow streets and the Bybrook River meanders through the village. It’s even got the attention of Hollywood with movies, Stardust and War Horse (I loved that movie) filmed in Castle Combe. The Town Bridge looks like a great spot for a holiday photo and I’d love to visit St Andrew’s Church. This is home to one of the country’s oldest clocks- which kind of fits with my roadside attraction addiction.

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Crail, Fife in Scotland

The Kingdom of Fife in Scotland is said to have some of the most scenic attractions in the region and is famed for its world class golf. With winding streets and a small harbor, Crail looks like the perfect place for a lazy afternoon stroll. St Mary’s Church is on my list of places to visit — a 13th century masterpiece and said to be one of the prettiest of its kind in Scotland. This fishing village also has a museum, art gallery and ceramics shop. The Crail Festival, which takes place in July, looks interesting with a celebration of heritage, featuring live music and Scottish Opera Workshops

Portmeirion, Gwynedd in Wales

Originally, Wales wasn’t on my radar but after speaking to a friend, I’ve decided I can’t visit the UK and NOT plan a stop at Wales. With a clifftop location, visitors enjoy vistas over the sands of Cardigan Bay. This Welsh village has been designed with an Italianate style, complete with colorful Rivera inspired houses, sculptures and impressive arches. It’s an architectural feast for the eyes, one I think my husband and I would especially enjoy, given our love for admiring architecture and fancy homes. Portmeirion is also a hiker’s paradise with long distance trails and coastal paths so maybe we’ll get some walking in.

Polperro, Cornwall in England

The fishing village of Polperro on the scenic peninsula of Cornwall, offers a traditional seaside experience. With traffic free roads and a selection of shops selling locally made goods and sweet treats, we can taste our way through the beautiful cafés overlooking the harbor serving up fresh seafood. A heritage museum offers a fascinating history into the village’s past that was once a smuggler’s hangout from which illegal goods were shipped to neighboring islands.

Hawkshead, Cumbria in England

Hawkshead is in the heart of the Lake District. I’d love to explore the ruins of the 15thcentury Hawkshead Hall and Hawkshead Parish Church. Are you beginning to see a theme here?

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Blanchland, Northumberland in England

Blanchland, is located in the beautiful North Penines and set among the woods of the Derwent Valley, a World Heritage Site.  The village is full of historic buildings and is also home to Hexham Abbey, one of the oldest surviving Christian churches in England.  The White Monk Tea Rooms serves an authentic English lunch and afternoon tea. How could I go to the UK and NOT have afternoon tea?

Planning a trip to the UK is proving very difficult. With so many towns, villages and cities to explore, narrowing down our options is a huge undertaking. I’ve asked my husband if he’d like to extend our trip and broaden our horizons even further, but he’s hesistant and with good reason. If we begin to plan further, where would our trip end and how on earth would we finance it?  Luckily, you can head abroad and save money on package holidays to discover life on the other side of the pond. Hopefully I’ll have some tips on how to save money on an UK vacation down the road.

Have you visited the UK? What attractions do you think I should add to my bucket list?

Images by Karen Roe and s.carley, used under Creative Commons license

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