We know our ‘end of England’ is a very special region of idyllic coast and country villages, so it’s no surprise to us that Countryfile magazine has made it official… we just wonder how they managed to narrow it down to just four! The South West is riding high in Countryfile’s top ten prettiest villages in Britain, with four West Country fishing villages earning pole position.
From Norfolk to Northumberland, Countryfile assessed a host of assets beyond the chocolate-box charm and scenic views, including local history, restaurants, museums and harbours. Take a look at the four villages which came out tops, two in Devon and two in Cornwall, and get packing for a memorable break at one of these cottages in lovely settings.
This east Devon village is described as an ‘ideal place’ to soak up the magic of the Jurassic Coast, and with fishing boats bringing their haul into the pebbly beach in the cove harbour, it is a wonderfully timeless scene. You can take tours of the magnificent cathedral-like caves in the chalk cliffs to either side and walk the Coast Path to neighbouring genteel harbour towns.
Clovelly is a gem of the North Devon cliffs, famous for its donkeys hauling sledges on the steep cobbled streets of 16th century cottages winding down to the little harbour looking over Bideford Bay. Countryfile recommends a tipple at the bar in the Red Lion and browsing the interesting galleries and shops.
The Roseland Peninsula is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled areas of Cornwall and this fishing village is the jewel in the crown. The cove beach sheltering between high cliffs once provided the perfect refuge for brandy smugglers, now little has changed except it’s mostly lobsters and crab being landed on the shingle.
Stay at Little Barn Cottage (sleeps 6) in nearby Treviskey hamlet and stroll down to The Ship Inn for some good Cornish ale.
With a horseshoe of little granite cottages clustered around the harbour, Mousehole is probably the prettiest Cornish fishing village of all, lovely all year round and especially when the famous Christmas lights reflect over the sea. Dylan Thomas described it as the loveliest village in England… and with every reason.
And a few of our special favourites…
This Devon village on the banks of the River Teign is not as famous as nearby Lustleigh, but is a still a delightful place of old cottages and wonderful walks in silent woods full of daffodils, as far as the pub at Fingle Bridge if you’re feeling lively.
Stay at Lewishill Cottage (sleeps 4) which looks over the church and wooded valley sides.
On Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, this large village, where Jane Austen stayed, is elegant and full of interest. Its long beach is perfect for fossil hunting and was nominated as one of Countryfile magazine’s top five UK beaches for 2017.
Once a thriving hub of the wool industry, much of Dunster is little changed since medieval times. The castle stands feudally on the hill above the village with its octagonal Yarn Market and sweet little tea rooms. Tempting opportunities for a spot of retail therapy give a satisfying modern twist.