While we’re often thrilled by glossy magazine-spreads on bustling cities that never sleep, the towns in England’s green and pleasant land can take our breath away just as easily. Besides lush forests and windswept beaches, the country’s towns are some of the prettiest you’re ever likely to visit. For postcard-perfect cottages, crumbling cathedrals and cobbled bridges over swirling streams, try one of these eight delightful English towns for a visit to remember.
Located in England’s gorgeous Cotswolds, Painswick is known for its once thriving wool trade. With lots of picture-perfect farm buildings still standing, the town is one of the most photogenic in the country. Such beautiful scenery might explain why Painswick has a thriving art scene, celebrated with an annual arts festival.
Best-known for its towering cathedral, Canterbury in England’s South-East has a rich literary history too, since it was the home of Geoffrey Chaucer. Visitors can still enjoy his colourful works at the interactive Canterbury Tales museum. The city’s shopping streets are usually bursting with crowds, as Canterbury boasts plenty of big high-street names and independent artisan stores too.
Chichester, West Sussex
Another cathedral city, beautiful Chichester is also proud home to the yearly Goodwood festival, where vintage lovers flock from all around to enjoy classic cars, dress in chic clothing and eat scrumptious, locally-produced food.
With Stonehenge just around the corner, Salisbury’s medieval roots and abundance of lovely terraced streets are a charming sight. The cathedral, market and museum are just a few of the highlights worth checking out at this dreamy location.
Not only is this world-famous university town dotted with Hollywood-worthy listed buildings, it is also home to fascinating museums and a gently lapping river perfect for punting. Most people get around on two wheels, so the bright trill of bicycle bells can be heard ringing across the cobbles at every turn.
In Ramsgate you’ll find the UK’s only royal harbour, where pretty white boats bob on the choppy waves of the city’s marina. Beneath the city are a set of tunnels used during World War II as air an raid shelter, and there’s also the glorious Pegwell Bay with its crunchy pebble beach and replica Viking longboat.
On a clear day in Penzance, the blue skies, refreshing breeze and bright-coloured wildflowers will transport you to a far-flung beach location you never dreamed could be the England seaside. The city has a thrilling history of smugglers, a collection of quaint little bakeries, gift shops and art galleries that deserve a whole afternoon to wander and browse.
Famous for its unique architecture in honey-coloured stone, Bath is of course also special since it’s home to ancient Roman baths. There’s a spellbinding gothic abbey, as well as a museum dedicated to the life and works of Jane Austen who loved and was influenced by her time in what is arguably England’s prettiest city.