UK’s most picturesque villages

Coastal, Rural, Destinations

Posted by Ruth on 3rd May 2023

Plockton, Scotland

Forget about Santorini in Greece, Positano in Italy or Banff in Canada – they haven’t got anything on the UK’s most picturesque villages. 

OK, so we may be biased. But whether they’re lined with quaint chocolate-box cottages or backed by spectacular forests, UK villages can be truly stunning.

Don’t believe us? We’ve listed our top 10 favourites below. 

If you want to make the most of a trip to one of these incredible places, our holiday cottages are equally as beautiful. Click the button below to see our full collection.

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Bibury in the Cotswolds

Bibury, Cotswolds

Bibury was once described by William Morris as “the most beautiful village in England” and it’s easy to see why. The typical Cotswolds village is home to Arlington Row, one of the most photographed locations in the country, if not the world. This area was also featured on a Christmas postage stamp set by Royal Mail, a testament to its ‘picture-postcard’ appeal.

Where to stay?

Earl Grey Cottage

Earl Grey Cottage, Bibury

Sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Set in the heart of the Coln Valley with views across the rolling countryside, Earl Grey Cottage is perfect for a romantic escape to explore some of the area’s quintessential Cotswold villages.

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Discover 10 more of the best places to stay in the Cotswolds with our guide.

Polperro Harbour in Cornwall

Polperro, Cornwall

Polperro is one of the prettiest fishing villages in Cornwall, with a charming harbour and sparkling crystal water. Adorned with lovely cottages and with its prime location by the sea, it’s easy to see why Polperro is so special. Enjoy wandering through the winding traffic-free streets, explore the village’s former smuggling history or simply soak up the unbeatable views of the Cornish coastline.

Where to stay?

Four Seasons

Four Seasons, Polperro

Sleeps 4

This stylish and spacious barn conversion is situated on a tranquil farm close to Polperro. With on-site leisure facilities and a children’s playground, Four Seasons is a superb choice for families.

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Discover 10 more of the best places to stay in Cornwall with our guide.

Burnsall in Yorkshire

Burnsall, Yorkshire

Burnsall is a pretty village in Lower Wharfedale, near Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. Set beside an ancient packhorse bridge over the windy River Wharfe, and with a spectacular fellside backdrop, Burnsall is a truly picturesque village. The 84-mile Dales Way passes through the village centre, making it a destination for walkers from around the world.

Where to stay?

Prospect Farm Cottage, Appletreewick

Prospect Farm Cottage, Appletreewick

Sleeps 3 + 2 dogs

Nestled in a tranquil countryside setting, this traditional farmhouse cottage boasts lovely character features, a stone facade, and wonderful Dales views all around. Relax beside the cosy wood burner or soak up the sunshine in the conservatory during your stay at Prospect Farm Cottage.

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Discover 11 more of the best places to stay in Yorkshire with our guide.

Cartmel in the Lake District

Cartmel, Lake District

The unspoilt village of Cartmel is steeped in history, with its most famous landmark being its 12th-century priory. But most tourists head straight to the village shop which has become the spiritual home of the sticky toffee pudding. Cartmel is fast becoming a foodie destination in the Lake District, thanks also to its coffee and award-winning sheep’s cheese.

Where to stay?

Priory Close House

Priory Close House, Cartmel

Sleeps 10 + 2 dogs

Located opposite Cartmel’s imposing Norman priory, the five-star Priory Close House offers chic and spacious accommodation for ten guests.

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Discover 10 more of the best places to stay in the Lake District with our guide.

Clovelly village in North Devon

Clovelly, North Devon

With white cottages lining the cobbled streets, and the only traffic jams coming from donkeys and sledges, the timeless coastal village of Clovelly is truly unique. Take the 400ft cliff path leading down to the sparkling harbour where the fishing industry is still thriving. Surrounded by stunning countryside too, Clovelly is not only one of Devon's most beautiful villages, but one of the UK’s prettiest villages too. 

Where to stay?

House Martin At The Retreat

House Martin At The Retreat, Clovelly

Sleeps 4

One of three converted barns with far-reaching countryside and sea views, House Martin At The Retreat is just 2.5 miles from Clovelly. The private hot tub is the perfect place to relax after a long day of exploring the beautiful Devon coastline.

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Discover 10 more of the best places to stay in Devon with our guide.

Tobermory on the Isle of Mull in Scotland

Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland

Okay, so it’s technically a town, but Tobermory on the Isle of Mull in Scotland is too pretty not to include. The bustling harbour is dotted with buildings painted every colour under the sun – some of which you may recognise from the children’s programme Balamory. The town is home to eclectic shops and restaurants while the island itself is a prime destination for wildlife watching.

Where to stay?

The Seashell - Acharacle

The Seashell - Acharacle

Sleeps 2

This stylish, circular property with a tufty grass roof is architect-designed to make the most of the stunning views over glistening Loch Sunart. Its curved frontage creates a wonderful, bright living space, and its quirky features make it an unusual and endearing place to stay. Head 10.5 miles down the road to Kilchoan to hop on the ferry to Tobermory - a pleasant 35-minute trip.

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Discover 10 more of the best places to stay in Scotland with our guide.

Lynmouth in North Devon

Lynmouth, Devon

Backed by lush green trees and hills, Lynmouth – along with its twin village Lynton – is often called ‘little Switzerland’ due to its evocative hillside location. Lynmouth is nestled in a deep valley where Exmoor meets the sea and has a rich maritime heritage as well as independent shops and pubs. Its peace and tranquillity truly must be felt to be believed.  

Where to stay?

Stone Cottage Lynton

Stone Cottage Lynton, Lynton

Sleeps 5 + 1 dog

Overlooking Lynmouth Bay, Stone Cottage Lynton is just a short stroll from the centre of Lynmouth’s sister village, Lynton. Take the Victorian cliff railway down the hill to explore Lynmouth, then put your feet up beside the warming wood burner and relax when you return.

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Stromness on the Isle of Orkney in Scotland

Stromness, Orkney, Scotland

The charming old stone town of Stromness can be found on The Mainland in the Orkney archipelago. While the seaport has been unchanged for centuries, the town is refreshingly cosmopolitan. Artists and writers have long found inspiration in the narrow streets and the town’s abundance of crafts, textiles, jewellery and galleries are testament to their creativity.

Where to stay?


Neuketineuks, Orkney

Sleeps 2

Situated in the heart of Kirkwall (13.5 miles from Stromness), Neuketineuks is a wonderful choice for those looking to experience the tranquillity of the Orkney Islands. The colourful harbour is just a short stroll away where you can hop aboard an array of boat trips or dine at a waterfront restaurant.

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Discover more of Scotland’s most inspiring things to see on holiday with our guide.

Plockton in the Highlands of Scotland

Plockton, Scotland

Often called the ‘jewel of the Highlands’, Plockton has a spectacular waterfront setting overlooking the glistening Loch Carron. Within a sheltered bay lined by charming white cottages, the village has a dramatic backdrop provided by the distinctive craggy hills of the Highlands.

Where to stay?

New Lodge, Strathcarron

New Lodge, Strathcarron

Sleeps 18 + 2 dogs

The ideal location for a celebratory getaway with outdoorsy family and friends, this huge lodge comes with two all-weather tennis courts and a fabulous barn which features snooker and pool, table football and table tennis. Take in the outstanding views, and revel in the abundance of features that include wood burners, a home-cinema system and a large lawned garden. At 14.5 miles from Plockton, a day trip is definitely on the cards.

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Portmeirion in North Wales

Portmeirion, Wales

The quirky and enchanting private village of Portmeirion was created by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis in the style of an Italian village, with the aim of demonstrating how a natural site can be developed without destroying it. Safe to say, its abundance of natural beauty and sympathetically developed architecture makes Portmeirion in Wales a unique and beautiful place to visit.

Where to stay?

Bryncir House

Bryncir House, near Porthmadog

Sleeps 2 + 1 dog

This traditional Welsh terraced cottage boasts far-reaching views towards the mountains of Snowdonia/Eryri from its elevated position. Bryncir House is just 2 miles from Portmeirion and is a romantic setting for a getaway with your loved one. Sit out on the decking or head down to the sunken garden to enjoy a glass of fizz as the sun sets.

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Discover 10 more of the best places to stay in Wales with our guide.

Stay in a holiday cottage in the UK

If you're looking for even more inspiration for where to go on your next UK holiday, click the button below to browse our full collection of holiday cottages in the UK. You'll find everything from cosy retreats for couples to fun-filled homes for the whole family.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.