Chocolate box villages in England

1) Lavenham

A small village surrounded by Suffolk countryside, Lavenham has more than its fair share of medieval charm. It was once a prosperous wool town and the historic evidence remains: everywhere you turn there are pretty and perfectly preserved half-timbered houses and pastel-painted cottages. More than 300 of the village’s buildings are listed. The tangle of narrow streets, which centre around Lavenham’s ancient Market Place, is an ace spot for an atmospheric wander and a pitstop in a traditional tearoom. Don’t miss the Guildhall, The Crooked House or De Vere House, a beautiful building which appears in the Harry Potter movies (and is available to rent on Airbnb.)

charming facades in Lavenham

Lavenham, Suffolk

2) Clovelly

You’ll find steep hills, cobbled streets and zero cars in Clovelly, an incredibly picturesque fishing village in Devon. Visitors must leave their cars at the entrance to the village before venturing downhill towards the harbour on foot – even locals use sledges to move deliveries and shopping around the village. Clovelly is privately owned so expect to pay an entrance fee, which goes towards maintaining and restoring the ancient village and its unique, old-world vibes.

Narrow cobbled street in Clovelly

Clovelly, Devon

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3) Downham

There are no overhead wires, satellite dishes or TV aerials in Downham, giving a surreal impression that the well-preserved village, which is dotted with listed buildings, never moved into the 21st century. Visit to admire the mix of grand and humble homes which look the same today as they did hundreds of years ago. You’ll also find a tearoom, pub and village shop, plus many walking routes out into the surrounding Forest of Bowland countryside.

Village of Downham

(c) David Dixon 

Downham, Lancashire

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