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When thinking about the UK, world-famous monuments, buildings, and cities like London and Manchester come to mind. And while the buzz and popularity of these cities is well deserved, it is often the small towns in UK where you will find the true heart and soul of this wonderful country. The United Kingdom is home to some of the world’s most charming and quaint towns that brim with character and elegance. So if you want to feel like a local and uniquely experience this amazing country, here is a list of 12 small towns in UK you must add to your bucket list.

12 Small Towns In UK

From the narrow lanes of Castle Combe to the quirky shops of Burford, these small towns in United Kingdom offer something for everyone. For your next trip to the UK, here is a list of the 12 best small towns in UK that you must visit.

1. Castle Combe, Wiltshire

Surrounded by a beautiful landscape, this small town in United Kingdom is perfect for a relaxing time

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Surrounded by the beautiful Cotswolds National Landscape, Castle Combe is often regarded as the prettiest town in England. This small town brims with irresistible charm that is perfectly complemented by its rich history. Within Castle Combe, you will also find Market Cross and St Andrew’s Church which dates as far back as the 13th century. The church also houses the faceless working medieval Castle Combe Clock, which is considered to be one of the oldest working clocks in the country. It is also advised to simply stroll through the village to enjoy the views and maybe even purchase some homemade cakes and sweets from outside the locals’ houses.

Things To Do:

  • Visit the Castle Combe Circuit
  • Explore the Village
  • Visit St. Andrews Church
  • Check out the Castle Combe Market
  • Enjoy an Afternoon Tea at one of the Village’s Cafes

Places To Stay: The Castle Inn, Fosse Farm Cottage, Fosse Farmhouse, B&B Castle House

Must Read: Castles in Liverpool

2. Painswick, Gloucestershire

Often referred to as the “Queen of the Cotswolds”, the beautiful village of Painswick is something straight out of a fairy tale

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Quietly nestled in the famous Cotswold hills and surrounded by some of Gloucestershire’s most stunning countryside, is the town of Painswick. Often referred to as the “Queen of the Cotswolds”, Painswick is undoubtedly one of the best small towns in United Kingdom and a perfect tourist destination. Whether you are looking for a warm log fire or a delicious cup of tea in the summer, Painswick is a town straight out of a fairy tale. One of the town’s popular attractions, the church of St. Mary is famous for its 99 yew trees and unusual tabletop tombs. Upon closer inspection of the church tower, you can even see traces of Painswick’s role in the Civil War.

Things To Do:

  • Explore the Rococo Garden
  • Admire the Impressive Architecture of St. Mary’s Church
  • Hike up to the Painswick Beacon
  • Explore the Local Art and Crafts Gallery
  • Take a Stroll Through the Village

Places To Stay: St. Micheals Bistro, Troy House, The Falcon Inn, St. Annes Bed and Breakfast, Egypt Mill Hotel and Restaurant

3. Rye, East Sussex

Home to several pubs, restaurants, and boutique hotels, this historical town has a sense of charm with a hint of strange

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A medieval citadel huddled against the sea, Rye is a peaceful town that reveals its rich history gently. Today, Rye is home to a myriad of cosy pubs, art, modern boutique hotels, and restaurants to keep tourists in a state of awe. However, you can still see the remnants of Rye’s past throughout the 18th and 19th centuries through secret tunnels, passageways, and hidden caves. Rye has managed to retain most of its charm and heritage but also a sense of the strange. If you take a walk along Mermaid Street, you will come across houses with names like “The House Opposite”, or the “House with Two Front Doors”.

Things To Do:

  • Explore Rye’s Rich History
  • Visit Rye Castle Museum
  • Climb St. Mary’s Church Tower
  • Walk Along the Rye Harbour
  • Indulge in Traditional English Cuisines

Places To Stay: The River Haven Hotel, Flackley Ash Country House Hotel, The George in Rye, Mermaid Inn, The Lookout Rye

Suggested Read: Churches in London

4. St. Ives, Cornwall

With a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean, the picturesque seaside town of St. Ives is one of the best small towns in UK.

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The dazzling jewel in Cornwall’s crown, St. Ives is a picturesque fishing harbour situated on the western end of St. Ives Bay of the Atlantic Ocean. This historic town is popular for its award-winning beaches such as Porthmeor and Porthminster, ideal for activities such as surfing, swimming, and sunbathing. Not interested in swimming? Head out for a walk along the stunning coastal path past Tregenna and Treloyan and feast your eyes with a stunning view of the St. Ives peninsula. You could also visit the Tate St. Ives, a popular art gallery with a jaw-dropping view of the Atlantic. No matter what you like though, St. Ives has everything you need for a perfect holiday in Cornwall.

Things To Do:

  • Explore the St. Ives Harbour
  • Visit Tate St. Ives
  • Relax on the Beaches
  • Walk the South West Coastal Path
  • Explore the Local Art and Crafts

Places To Stay: Tregenna Castle Resort, The St. Ives Bay Hotel, Harbour Hotel and Spa St. Ives, Carbis Bay and Spa Hotel, The Gannet Inn

5. Woodstock, Oxfordshire

Just 8 miles from Oxford, this small yet amazing town best known for being the residence of Duke of Marlborough

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Located just 8 miles north of Oxford, Woodstock is a small attractive town that has been home to the seat of Duke of Marlborough for over 300 years. The town is best known for the wide-reaching and leafy estate of Blenheim Palace which dominates the landscape around Woodstock. However, this does not mean the town itself is not worth exploring. One of the most fascinating spots in the town, the Oxfordshire Museum, is home to an ancient dinosaur footprint and even a hoard of coins considered to be a millennia-old! For all the art and literature enthusiasts, Woodstock is also home to Park Lane – the former house of Thomas Chaucer, son of the world-renowned author Geoffrey Chaucer.

Things To Do:

  • Visit Blenheim Palace
  • Stroll through the Town Centre
  • Discover the Oxfordshire Museum
  • Explore the Oxfordshire Cotswolds
  • Visit the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum

Places To Stay: The Kings Arms, Macdonald Bear Hotel, The Crown, Marlborough Arms, The Feathers Hotel

Suggested Read: Villas in the United Kingdom

6. Keswick, Cumbria

Located in the breathtakingly beautiful region of Lake District, Keswick is undoubtedly one of the best small towns in UK

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Keswick is a small town situated between the huge bulk of Skiddaw and the gentle beauty of Derwentwater and has become a major centre for tourism in the northern Lake District. One of Keswick’s popular tourist spots, the Derwent Pencil Museum, is the only one of its kind in the world. And while the history of writing apparatus may not sound the most exciting, it is advised to give the museum a try. The museum exhibits a variety of military and spy connections, a world-record-breaking pencil, and some interesting royal memorabilia. Additionally, you can also explore the Keswick Market which was granted to the town by Edward I in 1276 and continues to this day.

Things To Do:

  • Explore the Stunning Landscapes of the Lake District
  • Go on a Boat Trip to Derwentwater
  • Visit Castlerigg Stone Circle
  • Explore the Keswick Town Centre
  • Visit Keswick Museum and Art Gallery

Places To Stay: The Derwentwater Hotel, Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa, The Castle Inn Hotel, Ravenstone Manor, Keswick Park Hotel, Borrowdale Gates Hotel

7. Clovelly, Devon

The small fishing village of Clovelly is often regarded as one of the most peaceful small towns in UK.

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The picturesque and ancient fishing village of Clovelly is one of the most peaceful small towns in UK. The town is so peaceful in fact, that it doesn’t even have any traffic. The only mode of travel in the town is through donkeys and sledges. Despite being small, Clovelly has plenty to offer to its guests. Upon arrival, visitors can watch a film regarding the history of the village and visit the extensive souvenir shop in the Visitor Centre. Additionally, they can also explore the town’s only two museums: Kingsley Museum and Fisherman’s Cottage.

Things To Do:

  • Take a Stroll through Clovelly’s Narrow Streets
  • Visit the Clovelly Harbour
  • Discover the Clovelly Court Gardens
  • Learn About Clovelly’s History
  • Try out some of the Local Cuisines

Places To Stay: The New Inn Clovelly, Southdown B&B, Red Lion Hotel, The Old Smithy Bed & Breakfast, 9 Sea Valley

Suggested Read: Places To Visit in United Kingdom

8. Warwick, Warwickshire

Warwick is a beautiful small town in UK and the almost perfect for history buffs and enthusiasts of medieval architecture.

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Filled to the brim with a rich history, Warwick is one of the most beautiful small towns in UK. Warwick is most famous for its magnificent castle, superb shops and a fantastic range of places to eat and drink. So whether you are a history buff with an enthusiasm for medieval architecture, or a foodie obsessed with increasing their palate, Warwick is the perfect place for you. Some of the most popular tourist destinations in the town include the imposing Warwick Castle, St. Nicholas Park, Lord Leycester Hospital, and Warwick Antiques Centre. Another popular attraction in the town is the Warwick Castle’s glamping (or glamourous camping). With special access to the castle and a “knight school”, you will sleep in a cosy bed and feast in the Castle’s medieval banquet hall.

Things To Do:

  • Explore the Warwick Castle
  • Walk Along the River Avon
  • Visit St. Mary’s Church
  • Explore Warwick’s Old Town
  • Visit the Lord Leycester Hospital

Places To Stay: Holiday Inn Express Warwick, The Warwick Arms Hotel, The Warwickshire Hotel and Country Club, Days Inn Warwick, The Globe

9. Lyndhurst, Hampshire

Established as a royal hunting ground by King William in 1079, Lyndhurst is a beautiful town with a with unending charm

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Nestled in the heart of England’s New Forest, Lyndhurst is truly one of the best small towns in United Kingdom. The town was originally established as a royal hunting ground by King William the Conqueror in 1079. Today, Lyndhurst remains the administrative heart of the New Forest and is ideal for visitors who would like to spend a few nights in the New Forest. Lyndhurst has a wide variety of activities that include biking, hiking trails, and wildlife photography. Visitors are also advised to explore St. Micheal and All Angels Church. The stained-glass windows of the church are a treat to look at. However, if you search the graveyard, you may even find the grave of Alice Hargreaves – the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland!

Things To Do:

  • Explore the New Forest
  • Visit Bolton’s Bench
  • Go on a Horse Riding
  • Visit St. Micheal and All Angels Church
  • Shop and Dine in Lyndhurst

Places To Stay: Penny Farthing Hotel and Cottage, The Crown Manor House Hotel, The Stag Hotel, Ormonde House Hotel, The Bell Inn Hotel

Suggested Read: Places To Visit In Falmouth

10. Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire

Often referred to as the “Venice of Cotswolds”, Bourton-on-the-Water is the perfect getaway for a family-friendly vacation

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Also known as “The Venice of the Cotswolds”, Bourton-on-the-Water is a very popular village located in Gloucestershire. With its elegant 18th-century stone bridges, Bourton-on-the-Water is the perfect location if you are looking for a romantic getaway or a family-friendly vacation. The village also offers a wide range of amazing beds and breakfasts, where you can wake up to the soothing sound of the river flowing past your window. The village is also famous for the Cotswold Motoring Museum which attracts car lovers and motoring enthusiasts from all over the world.

Things To Do:

  • Visit the Model Village
  • Take a Walk Along the River Windrush
  • Visit the Cotswold Motoring Museum
  • Explore Birdland Park and Gardens
  • Take a Boat Trip on the River Windrush

Places To Stay: Chester House Hotel, The Dial House, The Old New Inn, Old Bank Rooms, The Lansdowne Guest House

11. Alfriston, East Sussex

Boasting a wealth of history and medieval churches, Alfriston is one of the oldest and most beautiful small towns in UK.

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On the banks of the Cuckmere River, Alfriston is one of the most popular villages in East Sussex that you must visit. Boasting a wealth of historic buildings and medieval churches, Alfriston is also one of the oldest villages in the UK. The Cathedral of the South Downs is also a popular tourist spot. Built-in 1360, this cathedral sits on the edge of the village green right by the river Cuckmere. If you want to immerse yourself in the culture of Alfriston even more, there is also a festival which takes place every year during the August Bank Holiday Weekend. During this period, several events take place around the village including a festival supper, a barn dance, and an evening of entertainment and more!

Things To Do:

  • Visit St. Andrew’s Church
  • Take a Walk on South Downs Way
  • Explore the Clergy House
  • Relax by the Rivver Cuckmere
  • Visit the Alfriston Smugglers Inn

Places To Stay: Flint Barns, Ye Olde Smugglers Inne, Wingrove House, Alfriston Lodge, The Crown Hotel

Suggested Read: Things To Do In United Kingdom

12. Burford, Oxfordshire

Located just 18 miles from Oxford, Burford is one of the most charming and beautiful small towns in United Kingdom

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Another gem in the beautiful landscape of Cotswold is the village of Burford. Located about 18 miles from Oxford, this adorable little village is one of the best small towns in UK. The village’s unique architecture with a mix of old stone houses, and attractive Tudor and Georgian frontages, gives it a picturesque appearance. The town’s main street also boasts quirky shops, tearooms, inns, and restaurants. The village slopes towards the River Windrush and offers visitors a lovely view. One of the town’s most popular attractions is also the St. John the Baptist Church. Over 100,000 visitors take the time to admire this beautiful venue which was built between 1175 and 1500.

Things To Do:

  • Explore the High Street
  • Visit St. John the Baptist Church
  • Discover Tolsey Museum
  • Walk Along the River Windrush

Places To Stay: The Bay Tree Hotel, Burford Lodge Hotel, BULL Burford, Inn for All Seasons, The Fox at Barrington

Further Read: Amusement Parks in England

From the breathtakingly beautiful village of Castle Combe, to the picturesque town of Burford, the UK is brimming with beautiful small towns with their charm and personality. While the big cities may be more popular, these small towns in UK hold the true soul and beauty of this amazing country. On your next trip to UK, make sure to add these small towns to your list and go beyond the beaten path to explore the true United Kingdom.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Small Towns in UK

What is the prettiest small town in England?

The small village of Castle Combe is often called the prettiest village in England. The village is located in the majestic Cotswold Hills of Wiltshire and offers a perfect blend of traditional architecture and stunning countryside views.

What is the best time to visit the UK?

Generally, spring (late March to early June) and Autumn (September to November) are considered ideal for a trip to the UK. During this period, you will be able to see beautiful spring flowers and avoid the much busier summer period.

What is the number one tourist destination in England?

With over 5.8 million visitors, the British Museum in London is UK's most popular attractions. Compared to previous years, the museum saw a staggering 42% increase in its footfall.

Which part of the UK is most beautiful?

Some of the most beautiful places in the United Kingdom include:

  • Kynance Cove, Cornwall
  • Castle Combe, Wiltshire
  • Rotal Pavilion, Brighton
  • Portmeirion, Wales
  • Isle of Wight

Which is the most visited place in UK?

Steeped in history and home to some of the most famous museums, cricket stadiums, and palaces, the capital city of London is the most visited in the United Kingdom.

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Category: Places To Visit, United Kingdom

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