Bucket List Worthy
Cruising around London in a double-decker bus is probably on your itinerary. Catching a glimpse of Big Ben, touring Stonehenge and having tea at the Ritz; these probably made the list too.
When travelers plan a trip to the U.K, it’s London and Edinburgh that usually lure them in. However, the small towns of the United Kingdom pack in a whole lot of charm that’s really worth seeing.
Instead of coming back with the same photos — from the London Eye and in front of Loch Ness — as every other tourist, try adding a stint in one of these small towns. You’ll get to see the beauty of the countryside while digging into the authentic culture of the UK.
Want to explore the small and charming towns of the U.K.?
Banchory is located in the Aberdeenshire region of Scotland.
Banchory features an ideal climate coupled with a photogenic countryside and stunning coastline. Visitors enjoy the best of the U.K.’s natural scenery with a charming town at the center of it all.
Take a ride on the Royal Deeside Railway to see the scenery while relaxing on the steam train. If you like the outdoors, spend time exploring by hiking, walking, horse riding, kayaking or golfing in the area. And don’t forget to check out the fairytale-like castles that are dotted throughout the region, including Abergeldie Castle, Balmoral Castle, Balfluig Castle and Birse Castle. The Crathes Castle, Drum Castle, Craigievar Castle and Castle Fraser are also located nearby and can be visited in most times of year.
• The Salmon Leap: Head to Feugh Falls to stand on the stone bridge and watch the salmon leap. The best times to see it are from September to November and February to March.
• Pipe Band Championship: Bands from all over Scotland will meet in the park in May for a bagpipe competition. The event is full of food and drink vendors too, so you’ll want to make a day of it.
• River Festival: Taking place in June, this weekend festival brings people together for food, shopping, education and sport. There will be charity and craft vendors, bands, fishing competitions and workshops. The whole event is family friendly.
• Agricultural Show: Visit in the end of July to catch the agricultural show. There are races, sport competitions, animal showings, dancers, food and activities centered around farming.
This small town in England has historic roots in the Roman times, and visitors can discover those roots in a number of exciting ways.
Bradford on Avon is known for its historic architecture, ease of walking transportation (often on foot), and the beauty of the buildings and surrounding natural setting.
• The Town Bridge: Originally built in the 13th century, then widened in the 17th century, this historic bridge is a must-see that offers pretty views.
• The Bradford on Avon Museum: This museum is located above the library and displays the historical and natural heritage of the town. You can also see a preserved, 20th-century pharmacy here.
• Saxon Church of St. Lawrence: The Saxon Church of St. Lawrence was built in the early 11th century and then used as a school house.
• The Shambles: A historic area that is pedestrian only and is home to shops, restaurants, and cafes.
• The Tithe Barn: A 14th century barn that is located on Barton Farm and holds craft workshops and tea rooms.
For those who are planning to enjoy a vacation in the UK there are, of course, the obvious wonderful cities to enjoy, but there is so much more to see and enjoy in England. Nestled in the south west of England is West Dorset, an area of particular beauty and steeped in history.
In West Dorset you’ll discover some wonderful historic market towns and beautiful picture postcard villages with thatched roofs, glorious countryside with outstanding views and easy access to 95 miles of the Jurassic Coast – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – 185 million years in the making
• Jurassic Coast: Walk this historic coastline to discover fossils or simply enjoy the beauty of the sand and sea.
• Weymouth: Situated right on the Jurassic Coast itself is the holiday seaside town of Weymouth. The town offers much for the visitor with a fabulous long golden sandy beach, and equally long Georgian era esplanade. Wandering around the picturesque and historic harbour with its beautiful yachts and boats is a joy, and at certain times of the day the spectacle of the road bridge opening to let the yachts with their huge masts through, delights the tourists.
• Chesil Beach: If you are hiring a car then taking a pleasant drive along the B2157 coastal road is a must with outstanding views of the coastline and the rare and famous Chesil Beach.
• Dinosaur Museum: Located in nearby Dorchester, the county town of Dorset, this is the only mainland Britain museum dedicated entirely to dinosaurs.
Visit Dorchester: The historic Roman town of Dorchester is approximately 128 miles from London and with good rail links – London to Dorchester by train takes just over 2 hours and 30 minutes. Car hire is easily accessible in the UK and there is a good bus service operating in West Dorset too.
Lyme Regis: The historic and picturesque seaside town of Lyme Regis is also situated right on the Jurassic Coast and has a wonderful golden sandy beach and a picturesque harbour. Lyme Regis is a great place to visit whether for a day, weekends or longer breaks as a holiday destination.
Bridport & Its Harbour
Bridport is approximately 15 miles from Dorchester and another delightful Dorset market town surrounded by breathtaking countryside and beautiful villages. Strolling around the town you’ll soon discover that it just feels like it’s an artistic town and different – and it certainly is. The town also holds a quirky and popular hat festival once a year.
Traveling Back in Time: As previously mentioned, the towns, villages, countryside and coastline of West Dorset are steeped in ancient history going back centuries and long before the Romans arrived in the 4th Century AD, which means there are millions of years history to explore in West Dorset.
Burford is a medieval town in the Cotswold hills. It’s the smallest town in the U.K., that still has a mayor.
Burford’s lineup of more than 200 historically listed buildings is why many travelers visit, but the town’s natural beauty is as impressive as its history.
The Burford Festival: It takes place for much of June and is full of activities for the community. There is music, talks and tours, literature, gardens, theater and film.
Broughton is a charming and naturally beautiful small town in the Stockbridge area of England.
Broughton’s local charm is what attracts visitors from far and wide.
Located in Milton Keynes, this small market town is full of Georgian architecture and history.
The Town’s Best Features
The food and beverage scene is a huge draw for foodies, and the historic architecture makes this town truly unique.
The Traditional Pubs: The town is full of traditional style pubs with a charming atmosphere. Try a pub crawl or mingle with the locals in a warm and cozy bar.
Sherborne is a civil parish and market town located in Dorset.
Sherborne’s top features are its castles, fabulous independent shops, and frequent farmers’ markets.
Sherborne Old Castle: This 12th century castle is located on beautiful grounds that allow visitors to wander around the ruins. Keep an eye out for wildlife too!
Wells is the smallest city in England, but its one packed with medieval history.
Travelers often visit Wells for its ecclesiastical quarter, and the quaint atmosphere that surrounds the city.
Bishops Palace: This medieval palace and gardens have been home to bishops for over 800 years. Visitors can cross the moat over the drawbridge and start exploring the 14 acres of beauty. Check out the wells pools, ‘The Dragon’s Lair,’ hidden in the arboretum , and the historical galleries and buildings. Guests can take private tours, see historical reenactments, and attend talks and workshops.
Wells Cathedral: It’s a significant historical landmark that exudes beauty. It is ranked as the top thing to do in Wells and is architecturally different from most other cathedrals. Visit to see the scissor arches, stained glass, the famous Wells Clock, the octagonal Charter House and the choir. Right next to the cathedral is Vicars Close, the only complete medieval street left in England. Guests can take tours of the cathedral and enjoy the café and gift shop.
Ryedale is a district in North Yorkshire that is known for picturesque villages, markets and rolling hills.
Travelers and locals alike love Ryedale’s markets, farms and natural scenery.
The Market Towns: The five market towns of, Pickering, Malton, Norton, Helmsley, and Kirkbymoorside are full of tradition. Take a tour through them all for unique shopping, cafes, restaurants and galleries.
Rutland is the smallest and one of the pretties counties in England. It is home to a rural landscape that is filled with quaint villages and the two towns of Oakham and Uppingham.
Rutland is known for its charming natural scenery, both its towns offer English tradition in abundance, with independent shops, markets, and pubs that are scattered throughout.
Rutland Water: situated between the two towns, offers a picturesque landscape from anywhere around its 26 mile shoreline.
Oakham: This quaint country town has to be visited when in Rutland. It’s a market town full of galleries, boutique shopping, jewelry, and farmer’s markets. Follow the Oakham Heritage Trail, visit the Rutland County Museum, the Oakham Castle and the Grainstore Brewery.
There are also plenty of annual events like the Hue & Cry Living History at the Oakham Castle which takes place on May 29th of 2017. This event is full of medieval games and reenactments. Guests can also visit for the Oakham Festival which runs from the 28th of June until the 2nd of July, featuring art, dance, theater and comedy.
Clovelly is a picturesque, historic, fishing village, steeped in maritime atmosphere and history. From Elizabethan days until today, it has been in private ownership and was once owned by the Queen of England. It is a calm reflection of the days when speed, noise and stress were not what they are today. The atmosphere is embodied in a traffic-free, cobbled street with flower-strewn cottages tumbling down a cleft in the 400-foot cliff to the tiny working port and ancient quay, bringing glorious views along the way.
Visitors love Clovelly for its fascinating history, lack of traffic, quaint cottages, colourful flowers and breathtaking views
– Two welcoming inns, one in the heart of the village and the other astride the C14th quay.
– Shops from the Visitor Centre car park down along the village street.
Shetland is a chain of islands off the coast of Britain, and only a few of them are inhabited.
Shetland’s natural beauty and fishing villages draw visitors from across the globe.
The Festivals: There are multiple festivals that go on throughout the year. Make sure to visit for: The Shetland Nature Festival in July, Shetland Wool Week in the end of September, and the Shetland Folk Festival in the end of April.
Kirkby Lonsdale is one of the smallest towns in the U.K., but it offers some of the best views.
Kirkby Lonsdale boasts that 98% of its many shops and stores are independently owned. Only one supermarket, a pharmacy and a clothing store prevent it from being 100%. The town remains relatively unspoiled by so-called progress. Its narrow streets and alleyways are much as they’ve always been, with cobbles, Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and street names with echoes of the past
The Events: The town is also proud to always have something interesting going on. Check their calendar for wine and beer festivals, concerts, music festivals and the Christmas Fair.
Be sure to share this list with your friends who may want to visit these charming destinations too!
Arundel is a quirky and fun yet cosmopolitan town that combines one thousand years of history with happening places to shop, dine, drink and explore. Creative arts thrive in this community, creating ample opportunities to catch a theatre performance, see a live concert or buy souvenirs from local artisans. In addition to the charming downtown area, the green hills, coastline and romantic landscape are ideal for venturing off the beaten path.
Arundel is a town with many shining features, including the creative arts, surrounding natural beauty, locally-owned shops and countless must-try eateries.
Arundel Festival: The Arundel Festival is an ode to the arts held every August. Attendees can roam the Gallery Trail, watching theatre performances, seeing daily live music, admiring street art or seeing one of numerous other creative performances. The 10-day festival is one that shouldn’t be missed.