Britain’s Prettiest Towns as Named by the Telegraph
Attractions | Events | Historic | Pub | Pub Accommodation | Uk Pubs | Posted 2023.11.24
Britain is home to some of the prettiest towns and villages and The Telegraph has carefully made a list ranking some of these beautiful places. As we delve into what the Telegraph has discovered, we have listed out some of our favourite pubs to stay in to explore these charming places.
Every single one of these destinations stand as an enchanting destination in its own unique way — steeped in rich history, adorned by breathtaking natural landscapes, or characterised by quaint town architecture. Each place possesses its own unique charm, making every visit a captivating and worthwhile experience.
Browse the Prettiest Towns in the UK
Located near the south coast of England, Rye in Sussex holds a rich history dating back hundreds of years. Initially, a popular fishing hub, Rye faced challenges due to its waterfront location, making it an easy target for attacks and raids from European intruders. With the French and Spanish regularly attacking and raiding, Rye underwent fortification to protect England. The construction of the town wall and four gates—Landgate, Strandgate, Baddings Gate, and Postern Gate—marked the beginning of this defensive transformation. As time went on updates were made to the defence, nonetheless one of the gates remain today; the Landgate. Another defensive structure that remains today in Rye is the Ypres tower, which looks out on the sea and marshes.
Now you can walk through Rye and see the town’s history through the cobbled streets, charming historical houses and secret passageways. The town’s commitment to preserving these historical landmarks has made it a popular destination for those seeking a glimpse into the past. As well as, with the beautiful south coast nearby, Rye is the ideal location for exploring some of the best British beaches.
Nestled on Rye’s most photographed street, Mermaid Street, The Mermaid Inn has a captivating presence. Along this cobbled street are beautiful medieval buildings adorned with climbing vines. This 600-year-old inn truly encapsulates the essence and charm of Rye. Inside thie pub are sloped ceilings, creaking floorboards and a hidden stairway leading to 31 charming and cosy bedrooms. Additionally, this Inn has a 2 AA Rosette restaurant. The Mermaid Inn is the ideal base for those looking to explore the pretty town of Rye.
Holt, a charming Georgian town situated in the idyllic rural landscape of north Norfolk, has a compelling history of resilience and renewal. In May 1708, a devastating fire swept through Holt, consuming market stalls, timber-framed houses, and the iconic Thatched Church of Holt. Despite this setback, the town underwent a remarkable reconstruction over the next century, led by local craftsmen who replaced the losses with beautiful Georgian houses and buildings that continue to grace the town today. The Victorian era further left its mark on Holt with the creation of back lanes and yards in the 1800s.
In the pretty town of Holt there are many galleries, independent shops and delightful places to eat, that either stand proudly along the high street or are tucked away in secret passageways.
Beyond the town, the surrounding area offers a range of attractions such as exploring the picturesque beaches perfect for seal watching, arcade fun, or simply relaxing. Additionally, parks, golf courses, and the renowned Blickling Estate all contribute to the allure of this delightful corner of North Norfolk.
Situated in the middle of Holt’s high street, The Feathers stands proudly as a popular inn. This dog-friendly pub offers a variety of charming bedrooms both at the Inn and situated down the road. In winter you’ll find cosy fireplaces for you to cosy up to and in summer you can relax with a drink in hand in the pub’s outdoor terrace.
Woodbridge, a riverside town in Suffolk, is a British gem. Woodbridge lies along the River Deben, once a vital river for trade and shipbuilding, has transformed into a popular destination for sailing enthusiasts and those seeking scenic riverside walks.
Woodbridge is associated with the most important Anglo-Saxon site in the UK; Sutton Hoo. The Netflix film ‘The Dig’ explores the story of archaeologists unearthing the Great Ship Burial in 1939 at Sutton Hoo.
In addition to its maritime allure, Woodbridge boasts charming cafes, a fully operational tide mill, and an array of independent shops. Also, with the Suffolk Coast and Heaths, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in close proximity, Woodbridge emerges as one of the best destinations to stay in Britain.
Transformed from a historic hotel into a lavish retreat, The Crown at Woodbridge offers a luxurious escape. Within this establishment, you’ll find 10 modern and beautiful bedrooms, each equipped with great amenities. From plush goose-down pillows to crisp cotton bed linen and underfloor heating, these features are designed to enhance your relaxation after a day of exploring Woodbridge and its nearby attractions.
Nestled in the heart of Herefordshire, Ledbury stands as a vibrant market town exuding historical charm. Its picturesque streets are adorned with independent shops, eateries, and local businesses, featuring timber-framed buildings that together create a captivating atmosphere. At the town centre stands the Grade I listed Market Hall.
One of Ledbury popular attractions is the Eastnor Castle, a 19th-century mock castle originally built for John Cooks, 1st Earl Sommers. Designed by the renowned architect Robert Smirke, famed for his work designing the British Museum. The castle is surrounded by a beautiful deer park, arboretum and lake.
Surrounding this pretty town are woodlands, orchards and the Malvern Hills. The Malvern Hills are home to a range of species and habitats, making Ledbury the ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
The Talbot, a dog-friendly pub, offers a warm and inviting setting to enjoy the charming village, of Ledbury. This pub dates backs as far as 1596 and still stands proudly with its original black and white timber frames. The pub offers 11 comfortable bedrooms. During the winter the talbot really transforms into a cosy winter retreat with a roaring fire.
Situated in North Yorkshire you can find the charming cathedral city of Ripon, steeped in history and home to some magical buildings.
Ripon, the fourth smallest city in the country, is renowned for its oldest tradition known as “setting the watch.” This 1128-year-old daily ceremony unfolds each evening, where the town’s hornblower echoes a horn at the four corners of the market square. Dating back to 886, this ceremonial tradition traces its origins to the visit of King Alfred the Great, who was welcomed with this ritual in commemoration of his victory over the Vikings.
There are many beautiful places to visit in Ripon including the famous Ripon Cathedral and Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.
Ripon Cathedral is a beautiful church with a history spanning back to the 7th century. Inside this cathedral are magnificent high ceilings, beautiful stained-glass windows and irreplicable atmosphere.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England. Open all year-round it is a must visit, in autumn the surrounding woodlands changes colour and in winter the frost-kissed ponds are something you don’t want to miss. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is a great place to visit whilst discovering Ripon’s history.
Situated in the heart of Ripon, The Royal Oak is a tastefully renovated 18th-century coaching inn that exudes style and charm. The interior boasts a selection of inviting bedrooms, with one adorned with a chandelier crafted from wine glasses. As a proud member of Timothy Taylor’s pub estate, part of one of the UK’s oldest family-owned breweries with a brewing heritage spanning over 160 years, The Royal Oak is steeped in a tradition of crafting award-winning ales.
Nestled in the scenic Usk Valley, south of the Black Mountains and in the east of The Brecon Beacons National Park, Crickhowell emerges as a picturesque town offering a plethora of enchanting experiences. The pretty town of Crickhowell is believed to have inspired the village of Crickhollow in JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
Some of the most popular attractions and activities in Crickhowell include: visiting the Crickhowell Castle, exploring the caves and waterfalls of Clydach Gorge and watching the magical stars in the Breacon Beacons National Park.
Crickhowell castle, which overlooks the scenic Usk Valley, was initially constructed by the Turberville family in the 12th century as a motte and bailey with timber buildings. In 1272, Sir Grimbald Pauncefote undertook a stone rebuild, adding a stone shell keep around the motte. While only traces remain, the castle provides a fascinating glimpse into its medieval history.
From Crickhowell you can explore Clydach Gorge, a hidden gem. It is a spectacular wooded gorge, formed by the River Clydach. During the industrial revolution this fast-moving river helped to power the ironworks and blast furnaces, quarries and mines dotted across the landscape. Various walks around the gorge allow you to discover some of the most captivating waterfalls and hidden caves in the United Kingdom.
Come nightfall, Crickhowell’s clear skies offer unparalleled stargazing opportunities. The Brecon Beacons, on a clear night, reveal the Milky Way, major constellations, bright nebulas, and even meteor showers.
The Bear Hotel, is an award-winning family run inn, offering you the chance to embrace the charm of Crickhowell. Established in 1432, this historic pub has maintained its tradition of providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Whether you’re dropping in for a pint, indulging in delectable food, or planning to spend the night in one of their cosy rooms, the Bear hotel will offer you a lovely experience in this pretty town.
Nestled in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Southern Cornwall, this charming harbour town graces the west side of a picturesque estuary, where the Fowey River gracefully meets the sea. At Fowey you can wander through narrow streets where medieval and Georgian structures coexist, whilst bringing to life a vibrant maritime history. Among these historic lanes are small independent shops, inviting cafes and pubs.
Nestled amidst serene waters, the town emanates tranquillity, making it a perfect haven for those in search of a peaceful coastal getaway. Exploring Fowey is incomplete without embarking on a boat journey, where you can explore more of the beautiful Cornwall and what else the county has to offer.
The Havener’s is situated in the heart of the town and boasts spectacular views across the water, you don’t want to miss the opportunity of staying in this pub. This pub offers high quality food and drink, made from the best local produce, including fresh fish. Beyond the pub’s terrific food, Havener’s offer delightful bedrooms, where you can drift away to the sounds of the flowing tide.
Nestled near the Welsh border, Ludlow is a thriving medieval market town, boasting architectural charm and a vibrant community spirit. Markets every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday pay homage to its historical roots.
Ludlow Castle, part of Powis Estates, stands as a partially ruined uninhabited medieval fortress, overlooking the river Teme. In the Middle Ages the castle was a crucial strategic stronghold for control of the Welsh borders. This castle provides a glimpse into the lifestyle of medieval and Tudor society.
The Ludlow Food and Drink Festival takes place within the historic Ludlow Castle. For over two decades, this event has showcased the best of Ludlow and the Welsh Marches food and drink. Featuring 180 local food and drink producers. Immerse yourself in tastings, enjoy live music, and explore independent shops. It is a vibrant celebration of small-scale, high-quality independent producers and is a must-attend for those seeking an authentic taste of Ludlow’s gastronomic excellence.
Perched on the iconic Ludford Bridge, The Charlton Arms presents exceptional food and a warm welcome. Boasting twelve en-suite rooms, several with stunning vistas of Ludlow’s medieval town and the river, the inn provides a picturesque stay. Wake up to an exquisite breakfast featuring locally sourced sausages, bacon, salmon, and eggs, setting the perfect tone for your day.
Chagford is a delightful town sat on the northern edge of the Dartmoor National Park in Devon. The pretty town has a rich history dating back to the medieval period. Chagford was a centre for the wool trade industry, with several mills and factories producing cloth and textiles. This prosperity attracted some wealthy merchants, who built many of the historic buildings that still stand today. Including one of the most notable landmarks; the octagonal market house, which dates back to the early 17th century. Now, Chagford thrives as a lively hub with a vibrant high street adorned by independent shops, cafes, and restaurants.
The town is home to several ancient landmarks. The nearby Scorhill stone circle is one of the most impressive and well-preserved prehistoric monuments in the region, with 23 standing stones arranged in a circle.
Beyond its historical treasures, Chagford is embraced by Dartmoor National Park’s wild beauty—expansive moorlands, winding river valleys, and a tapestry of rare wildlife. Visitors to the park can enjoy a range of activities, including hiking, cycling, and horse riding, as well as exploring the many historical and cultural sites scattered throughout the area.
Nestled in Chagford, The Three Crowns is a picturesque and dog-friendly inn. In the winter, The Three Crowns has a cosy open fire and in the summer the courtyard is the perfect place to enjoy the pubs delicious food. The Three Crowns is an excellent option for those keen on exploring the myriad attractions the pretty town has to offer throughout the seasons.
Situated in the scenic Wharfe Valley at the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, the charming town of Ilkley unfolds its picturesque beauty. This traditional spa town boasts fine tearooms, Victorian architecture, and the renowned Cow and Calf Rocks adorning the Yorkshire moors.
Illkley Moor has a stunning landscape, panoramic views and hosts a variety of wildlife. Ilkley Moor is recognised as a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its ground-nesting birds.
Ilkley Manor House stands in the heart of Ilkley, a unique building dating from the 14th century and built on the footprint of a Roman fort. It is a museum, arts and heritage centre run by the Ilkley Manor House Trust. The manor house is surrounded by beautiful countryside and inside are fascinating exhibits.
The Black Hat is a delightful pub situated in the heart of the town. Boasting seven cosy bedrooms and an excellent restaurant renowned for its beloved Sunday roast, The Black Hat stands as the ideal retreat in the pretty town of Ilkley.
St Andrews is a charming Scottish town on the coast of Fife. The town is known for its golf, historical university and stunning coastline.
St Andrews University, the 3rd oldest university in the world, is worth a visit. The University is ranked as one of the best in the UK behind Cambridge and Oxford. St. Andrews University architecture, predominantly Gothic in style, showcases centuries-old structures with ornate detailing and towering spires.
Golf has been played at St Andrews Links for 600 years. St Andrews Link has 7 golf courses, each course unique and providing a superb opportunity for golf lovers.
The Saint is a beautifully refurbished pub, where they serve delicious food have comfortable and stylish bedrooms and a some of the best drinks. Every aspect of the pub is thoughtfully crafted to mirror the beauty found in every corner of St. Andrews.
St David’s St. David’s, a cathedral city nestled in Pembrokeshire along the River Alun, holds the distinction of being Britain’s smallest city. Despite its small size, St. David’s stands as one of Wales’ most iconic regions, with a rich history rooted in the legacy of St. David.
St David, Dewi Sant, was the founder of a strict monastic order and was the most influential clergyman in all Wales during the “Age of Saints.” One of the most famous stories about David’s preaching is that when speaking at the Synod of Brefi (now Llanddewi Brefi in Ceredigion) the earth beneath his feet rose up to create a hill so his words could be heard, and he could be seen.
The pretty town invites exploration along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. This vantage point offers panoramic views of the Welsh beaches. One of the best beaches in the country is in Pembrokeshire, the Whitesands Bay—a mile-long, west-facing sandy beach perfect for surfers.
St David’s Cathedral a historic shrine of Christendom, holds a unique place in British history, reaching back fourteen centuries and surviving the challenges of the ‘Dark Ages’. Situated in a picturesque grassy hollow, the purple-stoned cathedral houses the shrine of St. David, who chose this wild and beautiful region for his monastery in the 6th century. The Cathedral is the place from which St Patrick is said to have set sail when he went to convert Ireland to Christianity.
The Grove, a 19th century coaching inn, provides an ideal haven for your exploration of the breathtaking St. David’s and the enchanting wonders of Pembrokeshire. This dog-friendly pub boasts 11 snug bedrooms and a superb restaurant serving classic pub dishes.
Nestled on the outskirts of Edinburgh, the charming former Royal Burgh of Queensferry graces the shore, offering a rich tapestry of history and activities both on land and water.
The Forth Bridges are 3 separate bridges that connect the historic settlements of North and South Queensferry, with the ultimate goal of connecting Edinburgh and Fife. The first bridge built in 1890 is now designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site of unique global significance and interest. The second bridge was built in 1964 and the third was built in 2017. All 3 bridges are set in an area that has history, beauty, wildlife and community spirit in abundance.
Dalmeny House & Estate ,in Queensferry, is the ancestral residence of the Earls of Rosebery since 1662. The Estate unfolds a diverse and picturesque landscape from coastal West Lothian to the upland moors of Leithenwater in the Scottish Borders. Completed in 1817, Dalmeny House offers breathtaking views of the Firth of Forth and houses an exceptional collection of antique furniture and artwork.
The Hawes Inn, part of Innkeeper’s collection, is a charming pub situated in the heart of Queensferry. From this historic pub you can see the iconic Forth Bridges. The pub has beautifully styled bedrooms, providing the perfect base when exploring this part of Scotland.
Lewes in rural East Sussex is a small town with a big heart. Etymologically tied to the Old English word ‘hlaews’ (meaning ‘hills’ or ‘mounds’), the town is intricately built into the slopes either side of the Ouse Valley.
Lewes has a fascinating history going all the way back to the Saxon times. The Saxons invaded East Sussex in the 5th century and over the next year they founded Lewes. By the 10th century, Lewes had evolved into a thriving hub with weekly markets and nearly 2,000 inhabitants.
Within Lewes, notable landmarks include Lewes Castle, Anne of Cleves House, and a variety of independent shops and eateries. Perched above the medieval streets stands Lewes Castle, built around 1066 by William de Warenne, as his stronghold in Sussex. This castle offers spectacular views of Lewes and its nearby surroundings. Next door is the Barbican House Museum which tells the history of Sussex life from the Stone Age and contains a model village of Lewes in the 1880s.
The Jolly Sportsman extends a warm welcome as a dog-friendly pub, providing an ideal getaway in the pretty town of Lewes. Within its confines, you’ll discover four beautifully appointed bedrooms, crafted for your utmost comfort. Featuring a tasteful dining area, a charming outdoor seating space, and an inviting log fire.
Written by Issy Matthews
Social Media Intern