Source:wikimedia

English Villages: 5 Iconic Spots to Explore Next to London

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and a country by its capital. London is an amazing industrial city full of enthusiasm and iconic landmarks, but the real England is hiding in cozy little villages around the British capital.

Yes, in the UK you see a great contrast between the metropolis and the countryside. Tiny cities are so cozy that you don’t want to leave them.

Do you dream of feeling the spirit of real England? Hire a car and hit the road. You can pick up the 7 seater car hire at Heathrow Airport using rental24.co.uk and explore iconic villages with the whole family. A hire car will turn your trip into an unforgettable adventure and will allow you to see many interesting places along the way.

So, which villages around London are worth visiting? Find them in the following list…

Bibury

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If there’s anything more classic in the United Kingdom than fish and chips, it’s the Bibury village. Small houses entwined with wild grapes, green hills, neat streets, and lush bushes look like in a fairy tale. What’s more, guidebooks call Bibury the most beautiful village in England. It is located in the Cotswold – a conservation area that has retained its original appearance. You need about two hours to reach it by car.

The history of Bibury goes back to the 18th century. During excavations in these places, scientists have found evidence of the presence of the Romans. Most of the buildings here are made of oolite from local quarries. It was thanks to the oolite that the buildings acquired a single yellow tint.

The main attraction of the village is Arlington Row. The town has two traditional pubs serving trout from a nearby fish farm. For a complete immersion in English classics, you can stay at the local Bibury Court Hotel. True, the status of the most beautiful village in England played a role. During the high season, this place is full of travellers.

Portmeirion

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You will find Portmeirion not far from the Irish Sea. A typical rocky cliff looks unusual, as it’s full of incredible buildings. They look like they are from another planet, and this is what delights visitors to the city.

The village appeared between 1925 and 1975. Architect Clough Williams-Ellis bought the land and decided to create a postmodern city on the site. As a result, many buildings look like folly, that is, they are decorative but not residential.

The city is full of arches that frame surreal landscapes. And there’s nothing left but to get a camera and take a picture for Instagram. The well-kept territory of Portmeirion, lined with exotic plants, is home to cafes, shops, souvenir shops, and even small hotels. So, you can stay there for a few days if you want.

Bath

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In the West of England, there’s a place where 2,000 years ago the Romans discovered hot mineral springs and built the famous Roman Baths. This is the city of Bath, today better known as a first-class balneological resort. Here you can enjoy a hot mineral bath in the Thermae Bath Spa and take in the magnificent city views from the rooftop pool.

However, Bath is famous not only for its balneological procedures. Several centuries ago, the rest at the resort could be afforded mainly by high-ranking officials. For example, Charles Dickens, Lawrence Stern, and Daniel Defoe loved to visit it. The main attraction of the city is the Pulteney Bridge. It features not only a spectacular appearance but beautiful surrounding landscapes as well.

Polperro

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Polperro is a great place to slow the pace of time, order one of the best fish-n-ships in England and enjoy the view of the English Channel. This is a must-do for every visitor to the fishing village of Polperro in the South West of England.

Despite being mentioned in guidebooks, this place is not yet very popular with tourists. The village seems to be closed from the tide and time in the rocks of the gorge. As a fishing settlement, Polperro appeared in 1303, but there’s evidence that smuggled foreign goods were brought here in the XII century.

Until the 1960s, fishing was the main activity of the local population, but then the catch declined and the city had to change. However, today about 12 fishing vessels still leave the local port to fish every day. Scallops, crabs, monkfish, pollock, cod, and the locals’ favorite sea bass – all this you can taste in the numerous restaurants of Polperro.

What do you do if you’ve tasted all kinds of fish and all kinds of ale? First, go to explore the streets and houses of Polperro, and then walk along the beaten paths near the sea.

Dover

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Dover is not a popular tourist destination as few travellers know about it. It’s rather a staging post for people waiting for a ferry to France.

The city is famous, first of all, for its huge white cliffs, the height of which sometimes reaches 107 meters. Chalk cliffs are not uncommon in England but the ones in Dover are the most popular. At the top of one of these cliffs, you will see an old fortification. This is Dover Castle, which appeared there about 2,000 years ago. Its main purpose was to ward off numerous invasions from continental Europe. As a result, Dover Castle became the most powerful structure among all European fortresses.

It takes less than an hour to go from London to Dover by car. This makes it an outstanding day trip from the British capital.


Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com