The countryside is filled with pretty little villages in the UK, often nestled in some of our loveliest landscapes.
Their quiet streets, with stone cottages, nostalgic shops and charming pubs provide the perfect place for a relaxing short break.
Luckily for us, as we already live here, they also provide an easy and more eco-friendly escape, with the option to travel by rail or road instead of flying.
Here’s our pick of the prettiest villages in the UK and some wonderful ways to visit them on holiday.
Portree, Isle of Skye
Scotland's colourful main village is one of the most breathtaking you'll find in the country. Portree is surrounded by the hills of Ben Tianavaig and Fingal’s Seat, which provide the perfect backdrop for its pastel-hued houses. The harbour is still used by fishing boats and its name comes from the Gaelic term for 'port on the slope'.
There are banks, churches, cafes and restaurants, as well as a swimming pool and gift shops. The pretty village is also a superb base for exploring the rest of the Isle of Skye.
Try this: Discover picturesque Portree as you sail Scotland's stunning islands and make your way to the Faroe Islands. Prima's exclusive trip includes visits to villages and towns in Scotland, including Portree, Kirkwall and Lerwick.
Dominated by its wide main street, this Cotswold beauty spot is an excellent place to check out restaurants, antique shops and independent boutiques. The Lygon Arms is Broadway's most famous hotel and has hosted royalty, including King Charles I.
The picture-postcard village that lies at the heart of the Cotswolds is as quaint and peaceful as you'd expect. It's surrounded by the rolling wolds and has the honey-coloured period buildings the Cotswolds are known for.
Try this: Spend five days exploring the Cotswolds on Prima's exclusive tour, which includes the chance to meet TV farmer Adam Henson on his rare breeds farm. You'll visit towns and villages and even stop for afternoon tea at the iconic Lygon Arms.
With the romantic green hills of the Welsh countryside rolling in the distance, this colourful village in the UK nestled inside a thick forest is straight from a fairytale book. Portmeirion's unique design is based on an Italian fishing village and its charming cottages and turrets have turned it into one of Wales’ most popular tourist attractions.
Portmeirion has also had plenty of celeb fans over the years, from Jools Holland to Paul McCartney – and fellow member of the Fab Four, George Harrison, celebrated his 50th birthday there in the '90s.
Try this: Check into a holiday cottage nearby, where you make the most of the superb coast and countryside for a few days. You could have a dog-friendly escape, stay in a cottage with a hot tub or make it a big family break.
This tiny village in Kent is most famous for its magnificent National Trust property, Sissinghurst Castle. The castle's garden is one of the most beautiful in Britain and was designed by poet Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson from 1930.
There's a bright Cottage Garden, the amazing White Garden and the delightful South Cottage Garden to explore, with colourful displays laid out in a unique way. Around the village of Sissinghurst, there's a church, school, pub and pretty white clapboard cottages. It's a splendid spot to while away a few hours and perhaps stop for afternoon tea.
Try this: Prima's exclusive gardens of Kent and Sussex tour with Sarah Raven includes an evening at Sissinhurst Castle Gardens where you'll enjoy dinner and drinks after hours.
This classic village in the UK has everything you’d expect from rural Norfolk: half-timbered old pubs, pretty thatched cottages and the River Bure flowing gently through it. In the sunshine, the popular sailing village is the ideal place to soak up the rays and relax as little boats glide by, with Norfolk’s iconic windmills on the horizon.
Try this: Visit Horning on a steam tour of Norfolk, from where you’ll take a Mississippi Paddle Cruiser down the river. You’ll also tour the Queen’s country retreat at Sandringham and hear all about the royal family from former BBC presenter Jennie Bond.
Luss, Loch Lomond
A village that will really take your breath away is conservation spot Luss, which sits on the western shore of Loch Lomond. It dates back to medieval times but what you see today was created in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The neat row of cottages show off bright floral displays on all sides in the spring and summer, and there's a narrow, pebbly strand to check out too. One of Luss' best sites is the 19th century parish church for its peaceful ambience and ceiling made from Scots pine rafters.
Try this: Take in the magic of Loch Lomond during Prima's four-day tour of Scotland's beautiful mountains and villages. You'll stay at a historic coaching in right by Loch Lomond.
Itchenor, West Sussex
Sweeping coastal views and beach walks on your doorstep make Itchenor a gorgeous visit, on the edge of the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The nature reserve is a protected home for wild birds and a seal colony lives there too. Its tiny population makes it an absolute haven of peace and quiet, and the charming old Ship Inn serves up delicious seafood a short stroll from the seafront.
Try this: On a scenic tour of Sussex’s grand stately homes and gardens you’ll take a boat trip from Itchenor for a relaxed cruise around the beautiful harbour area. You’ll also ride on the Bluebell Railway, recently voted England’s best steam train.
With its eccentric antiques traders and delicious foodie shops, including Prince Charles’ own Highgrove deli, there’s a lot to love about Tetbury in Gloucestershire. As well as being a nice place for a relaxing afternoon mooching around and enjoying an afternoon tea, the UK village is a garden-lovers hotspot and has won a string of Gold awards in England in Bloom competitions.
In fact, as well as his deli in Tetbury, Prince Charles is probably the area’s most famous resident and gardener.
Try this: You can visit his country home Highgrove on Prima's tour of the Cotswolds’ most idyllic English gardens, when The One Show’s resident green-fingered expert will give an exclusive talk and Q&A.
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then this picture-perfect harbour in Scotland’s romantic Highlands is the place to do it. A traditional fishing village in the UK, its unspoiled scenery has barely changed for decades, and you’re promised the absolute freshest catch at the local chippy.
It’s also the final stop for the real-life Hogwarts Express, the Jacobite steam train, which passes by peaceful lochs, breathtaking mountain landscapes, and over the famous 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct on its way to the Atlantic.
Try this: Take this magical journey with Prima on a four-day Scottish Highlands tour.
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