Are you a seasoned traveler looking to spice up your trip to London? Or maybe are you a young adventurer who wants to spend an English vacation in a unique way? Regardless of your age, we have a great travel idea for you! Rent a car in London under 25 and head out to explore the picturesque villages nearby.
English villages have a very special atmosphere that beckons with their pristine nature, medieval luxury, and rich cultural traditions. They are very neat and clean, even if most of the residents are engaged in farming.
Visit at least one of the following beautiful English villages and you will understand what it means to be in a fairy tale. Each is located within driving distance of London, making it easy to get to with a hire car.
Castle Combe is half an hour’s drive from the famous Roman city of Bath and ranks second on the list of “30 Most Beautiful Villages in the World”. If you are traveling there from London, it will take you about 2 hours to get there.
Fortunately, the invasion of tourists hasn’t yet had time to destroy the unique atmosphere of the village and the local way of life. Many famous films were shot on its picturesque, cozy streets, including the Oscar-nominated “War Horse” by Steven Spielberg. If you decide to stay overnight in Castle Combe, consider such options as the medieval Castle Inn or the luxurious 5-star Manor House.
Another gem of the Cotswolds is located near Lacock Abbey, founded in 1229. By the way, it’s only a 20-minute drive by car from Castle Combe and 2 hours’ drive from London. This is where Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, The Wolf Man, and The Other Boleyn Girl were filmed.
It’s interesting to know that you won’t find any power lines, satellite antennas, or road markings there: it seems that by magic you found yourself in the pre-industrial era, when “the grass was greener and the light was brighter”.
It’s hard to believe that this cozy historic town was once a smugglers’ den. If you look closely, you can still find their traces in the city and along the coast. The charming streets with buildings from the 15th-18th centuries will be the perfect backdrop for a family photo session.
If you wish, you can combine a visit to the town with a beach holiday. Just 3 kilometers from Rye you will find the wonderful Camber Sands beach.
One of the oldest British villages is located on the River Cuckmere. It will take you an hour and a half to get there by hire car from London. This place seems to be specially created for a Sunday family walk. Breathe in the scent of bygone eras and walk around the village. Then go on a tour of the Alfriston Clergy House, the first home from the well-known National Trust collection.
The village has its own zoo and Drusillas amusement park, where children can interact closely with different animals, as well as visit the first Hello Kitty attraction in Europe! If you decide to stay in the village longer, then having a picnic on the large lawn near St. Andrews or visiting one of the local pubs will be a great solution.
The proximity of the Tillingbourne River gives Shere a special charm. This village is located just 36 miles away from London, so you can quickly find it f traveling in a hire car. Its lovely Tudor houses are familiar to everyone – you will immediately recognize them by the white walls with black crossbeams.
The St. James Church, which was built in 1190, the surrounding estates, pubs, and simply lovely houses with a unique medieval atmosphere attract both travelers and film crews there. For example, Shere was the setting for such movies as Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason and the legendary 1946 Stairway to Heaven.
The village, glorified by William Morris, still delights all guests with its authentic English beauty. It’s full of castles and houses built in the 14-17th centuries. And yes, they are perfectly preserved! The village still has a special way of life. This is an iconic English village with St Mary’s Church, a mill, a beautiful bridge over the River Coln, and lush vegetation.
The population of the village is just over 600 people. By the way, the image of the Arlington Row cottages, the village’s main sight, is placed on the inside cover of all English passports. The distance from London to Bibury is about 85 miles, so you need to hire a car to get there.
This is exactly what a typical English village looked like many centuries ago. Although its inhabitants are no longer involved in the wool trade, they still live in beautifully preserved half-timbered houses from the medieval period.
The Guildhall Town Hall is one of the finest examples of such buildings in all of Britain. Now it’s home to a History Museum. The local St Peter and St Paul Church are recognized as “the best wooden church in East England.” This village is the birthplace of the English writer Isaac Taylor, whose sister Jane wrote the famous song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Although this village is not yet very popular, it’s a real travel diamond. You should come there for the sake of Hedingham Castle, where knights’ battles and historical festivals are held. The local train station is also unique. It successfully operates despite being over 150-years-old and only 1.5-miles-long.