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The UK

The UK's prettiest towns & villages

Laura 30 June 2021

The UK is packed full of beautiful towns and villages to rival worldwide beauties such as Oia in Greece or Positano in Italy. 

We’ve carefully combed through the data of over 160 places to find the prettiest towns and villages that are right here in Great Britain.

Tenby

From quaint chocolate-box cottages to colourful seaside towns, we’ve ranked the prettiest towns and villages in the UK below. 

Each town and village was scored on several ranking factors, including the number of awards, the number of Instagram hashtags for the location, the number of times it featured in articles featuring ‘UK's prettiest places’ and ‘UK's prettiest towns and villages’, how many National Trust sites are nearby and how many Google images it has. 

Awards include: 

  • SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest)
  • National Nature Reserve (NNR)
  • Recent Britain in Bloom finalist
  • Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
  • Blue Flag beach 
  • Biospheres
  • Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
  • Dark sky status
  • National parks 
  • Green Flag Award 
  • National scenic area
  • Heritage coast
  • Recent Village of the Year contender
  • Green Coast Award

The UK’s prettiest towns

Having reviewed over 160 places across the UK, we can reveal that Keswick in the Lake District tops the list as the prettiest town, with Tenby coming in at a close second and Salcombe in Devon coming third.

,Keswick

1. Keswick, Lake District, Cumbria

Keswick, a market town based in the beautiful Lake District, topped the list with almost 400,000 Instagram hashtags, 20 National Trust sites, 3+ million Google images and numerous designations such as being part of the Lake District National Park, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. 

Tenby

2. Tenby, Pembrokeshire

We are thrilled that colourful seaside Tenby with its 13th-century town walls and sandy beaches came in a close second, making it the prettiest town in Wales. It topped the charts with the most overall awards, including being set within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, claiming three Blue Flag Tenby beaches, being a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Area of Conservation and being near a Green Flag park.

Salcombe

3. Salcombe, Devon

Beautiful Salcombe is a popular coastal resort that sits on the banks of the Kingsbridge Estuary within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Experience outstanding coastal views, rolling countryside, numerous National Trust sites and sailing in this pretty coastal town. 

Top 10 prettiest towns in the UK:

  1. Keswick, Lake District, Cumbria
  2. Tenby, Pembrokeshire
  3. Salcombe, Devon
  4. Cirencester, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire
  5. Bamburgh, Northumberland
  6. Whitby, North Yorkshire
  7. Rye, East Sussex
  8. Bakewell, Peak District, Derbyshire
  9. Aberaeron, Ceredigion
  10. Burford, Cotswolds, Oxfordshire

The UK’s prettiest villages

Having analysed and ranked over a hundred places across the UK, we can reveal that Castle Combe in the Cotswolds tops the list as the prettiest village, with Portmeirion in Wales coming in at a close second and Beaulieu in the New Forest coming third.

Castle Combe

1. Castle Combe, Cotswolds, Wiltshire

We are thrilled to reveal that the oh-so-cute village of Castle Combe in the Cotswolds is the prettiest, topping the charts with a combination of the most Instagram hashtags, features, awards, National Trust sites and Google images. This picture-perfect village with its honey-coloured houses is set perfectly within the Cotswolds Area of Natural Beauty in Wiltshire, England.

Portmeirion

2. Portmeirion, Gwynedd

This idyllic North Wales village certainly catches the eye! With its pretty buildings and spectacular views, it’s easy to see how Portmerion made the list of the top prettiest villages in the UK. With the highest overall count of article features about the UK’s prettiest places and the second-highest number of awards after Tenby, this popular village certainly deserves the title of being amongst one of the prettiest villages in the UK!

Beaulieu

3. Beaulieu, Hampshire

Beautiful Beaulieu lies at the head of the tidal Beaulieu River in Hampshire’s vast New Forest National Park. With its quaint high street and awards including a National Nature Reserve, Special Area of Conservation, Site of Special Scientific Interest and over 100,000 Instagram hashtags, it’s easy to see how this charming village made the list. 

Top 10 prettiest villages in the UK:

  1. Castle Combe, Cotswolds, Wiltshire
  2. Portmeirion, Gwynedd
  3. Beaulieu, Hampshire
  4. Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire
  5. Bibury, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire
  6. Polperro, Cornwall
  7. St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
  8. Llanberis, Gwynedd
  9. Beddgelert, Snowdonia
  10. Hathersage, Peak District, Derbyshire

The UK’s prettiest places

Having carefully reviewed the data of over 160 towns and villages across the UK, the data was then ranked to reveal the overall top 10 prettiest places in the UK, with Castle Combe in Wiltshire claiming the top spot!

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

Top 10 prettiest towns and villages in the UK overall:

  1. Castle Combe, Cotswolds, Wiltshire
  2. Portmeirion, Gwynedd
  3. Beaulieu, Hampshire
  4. Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire
  5. Keswick, Lake District, Cumbria
  6. Bibury, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire
  7. Polperro, Cornwall
  8. St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
  9. Tenby, Pembrokeshire
  10. Llanberis, Gwynedd

Bibury, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

The best of the rest:

  • Painswick, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire
  • Lacock, Wiltshire
  • Staithes, North Yorkshire
  • Beer, Devon
  • Cartmel, Cumbria
  • Hawkshead, Lake District, Cumbria
  • Castleton, Peak District, Derbyshire
  • Mousehole, Cornwall
  • Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District, Cumbria
  • Shaftesbury, Dorset
  • Isles of Scilly
  • Upper and Lower Slaughter, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire
  • Grasmere, Lake District, Cumbria
  • Malton, Yorkshire
  • Lavenham, Suffolk
  • Groomsport, County Down
  • Crail, Fife
  • Portree, Isle Of Skye
  • Cushendun, County Antrim
  • Tobermory, Isle of Mull
  • Plockton, Highlands

Tobermory


We’re delighted to reveal that two West Wales locations made the top 10 towns, with Tenby at number 2 and Aberaeron at number 9. 

Whilst the Cotswolds, Peak District, Lake District, Scotland and various other locations across the UK certainly offer beautiful places to visit, those on offer in West Wales have certainly proved themselves to be up among the very best!

Are you feeling inspired to take your next seaside holiday in West Wales? Why not take a look at one of our holiday cottages in Tenby to find the perfect seaside retreat? Plus, we’ve got more in-depth guides to Pembrokeshire’s top beaches packed full of useful information to get you ready for your next sea view break in Pembrokeshire.

*Data collected by FBM Holidays during June 2021.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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