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11 picture-perfect chocolate box villages in the UK

The UK has no shortage of picturesque villages full of houses with thatched roofs, chimneys and lush flowers. It’s these characteristics that coin the village as a chocolate box village. So if you’re looking for chocolate box villages in the UK to add to your ever-growing list of places to visit, we’ll help you discover a few so you can start planning your next getaway.

1. Ashford-in-the-Water

Best for: Playing a game or two of Poohsticks

Located in the Peak District, Ashford-in-the-Water is known for its large mining operation which quarried Ashford Black Marble.  As well as this, its much-photographed Sheepwash Bridge is one of the best spots to play the childhood game of Poohsticks. It’s been named by The Times as one of the prettiest villages in the UK and you’d be hard pushed to find a better chocolate box village in the Peak District. So if you’re looking for history and a little bit of fun, this village should be at the top of your list to visit.

Where to eat and drink: The Bulls Head is a 17th-century coaching inn that serves a delicious range of pub classics as well as a refreshing selection of ales, spirits, and soft drinks.

Where to stay: The Barn in Derbyshire with its stone walls and roaring log fire makes for a perfect sleepy retreat in the Peak District.

Find more places to stay in the Peak District

2. Hope Cove

Best for: Paddling in the water and soaking up some sea air

Lying on the South Devon Coast in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Hope Cove is one of the lesser-known chocolate box villages in the UK. This charming little fishing village has two sheltered beaches and calm waters that make it perfect for paddling, wild swimming, and enjoying some fresh sea air. It’s also a foodie’s heaven with a range of fantastic restaurants and cafes, all overlooking the glorious bay.

Where to eat and drink: With stunning views of the South Devon coastline and a wide range of fresh seafood, The Lobster Pod makes for a delicious place to eat and drink.

Where to stay: Enjoy the South Devon countryside and unrestricted access to the Spa at The Dartmouth Golf and Country Club when you stay at Higher Cotterrbury Cottage.

Find more places to stay in Devon

3. Mousehole

Best for: A quintessentially Cornish getaway

Chocolate box villages in the UK don’t get much better than Mousehole in Cornwall. This quaint fishing village couldn’t get more quintessentially Cornish if you tried. It boasts a tiny harbour mouth, a labyrinth of narrow streets and a wonderful display of boats bobbing in the bay. Although this village may be tiny in appearance it certainly makes up for in festivals, activities and Christmas light illuminations. So if you’re a history lover, photographer or avid traveller, be sure to add Mousehole to your list of places to visit this year.

Where to eat and drink: If you’re looking for a 1940’s inspired cafe serving delicious breakfasts and sumptuous lunches then Four Tea’s Cafe is the place to go.

Where to stay: Experience the best of Cornwall with a stay at the chic and luxurious Alaven Rise.

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4. Castle Combe

Best for: Exploring film locations

Quintessentially English, the village of Castle Combe is often called the prettiest village in England. The village sits in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the North West of Wiltshire. You may recognise it as the film location for The Wolf Man, Star Dust, and Stephen Spielburg’s War Horse. There are plenty of walks around Castle Combe and a stroll through the high street will reveal countless eateries and stunning architecture. 

Where to eat and drink: Enjoy a sumptuous pub classic accompanied by your favourite tipple at the village’s oldest Pub - The White Hart.

Where to stay: The Old Stables offer an idyllic place to relax and unwind whilst visiting the picturesque village of Castle Combe.

Find more places to stay in Wiltshire

5. Bibury

Best for: Discovering honey-coloured Cotswold cottages

The charming village of Bibury is best known for its honey-coloured cottages and the famous Arlington Row. There are plenty of attractions and eateries which make Bibury a popular tourist destination all year round. Discover listed buildings, one of the oldest farms in the country, and the River Coln as it flows through Bibury. It’s a true chocolate box village in the UK. 

Where to eat and drink: The cafe at Bibury Trout Farm serves their famous Bibury trout as well as locally sourced dishes, homemade cakes and artisan coffee daily.

Where to stay: Inglenook Cottage is the epitome of a chocolate box cottage and makes for the perfect place to rest your head on your Cotswold holiday.

Find more places to stay in the Cotswolds

6. Grasmere

Best for: Exploring the many lakes in the Lake District

Grasmere is probably best known as the home of poet William Wordsworth. He often described Grasmere as the ‘loveliest spot a man hath found’ and with its panoramic views of fells and mountains, it’s not hard to see why. Victorian villas sit comfortably next to hotels, galleries and shops, and the memories of William Wordsworth are heavily accented throughout the village. His former home - Dove Cottage - is one of the most popular attractions in Grasmere along with the museum.

Where to eat and drink: The Apple Pie Cafe in Amble side is worth queuing for as their cakes, pastries and buns.

Where to stay: With its bright red door and stunning slate wall exterior, Little Robin Cottage offers the ideal getaway close to all local attractions.

Find more places to stay in the Lake District

7. Lavenham 

Best for: Medieval cottages

Often referred to as ‘England's best preserved medieval village’, Lavenham in Suffolk is another chocolate box village in the UK you just have to visit. It offers a wealth of historical sites from Lavenham Guildhall to the church of St. Peter and its streets filled with medieval cottages. But Lavenham isn’t just a place for history lovers, it’s also a foodies paradise with a vast selection of eateries offering a range of cuisines from across the globe.

Where to eat and drink: Greyhound Lavenham is a historic yet stylish English Inn that serves a wide range of cuisine with influences from all over Europe.

Where to stay: Set within four acres of land and with close proximity to public transport, the Barn in Suffolk is perfectly located for a chocolate box getaway.

Find places to stay in Suffolk

8. Brockenhurst

Best for: Exploring the New Forest

Brockenhurst has bundles of charm and history and offers a wide range of activities to participate in all year round. This chocolate box village in the UK lies in the heart of the New Forest so expect to come face to face with a few ponies every once in a while. Brockenhurst is the perfect starting point for cycle rides, walks and hikes as well as being the home of the Beaulieu Motor Museum where you’ll find an array of old cars, motorbikes and many hands-on events throughout the year.

Where to eat and drink: Enjoy authentic Thai cuisine at the serene Thai palace-inspired Zen Garden where the decor and tranquil atmosphere make for relaxed dining.

Where to stay: Our stunning thatched roof Cottage in Hampshire sits on the banks of the Beaulieu River, surrounded by the New Forest National Park.

Find places to stay in the New Forest

9. Glenarm

Best for: Reconnecting with nature

Located on the slow road to the Causeway Coast, Glenarm is one of the lesser-known chocolate box villages in the UK. Whether you looking to discover its well-preserved architecture, delve into its rich heritage and history, or explore its breathtaking landscape, there’s something here to pique everyone’s interest. For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of a busy city centre, why not go for a walk on the wild side and reconnect with nature as you walk through the enchanting Glenarm Forest?

Where to eat and drink: After exploring Glenarm Castle take a seat in Glenarm Castle Walled Garden Tea Room and enjoy some hearty home-cooked delights.

Where to stay: Watch the bat colony that has made Ballealy Cottage their home where they will live peacefully beside you on your summer holiday.

Find more places to stay in County Antrim

10. Portmeirion

Best for: Pottery lovers

The ornate, Italianete village of Portmeirion is well known as a market leader of high-quality tableware, giftware and home fragrances. With its riviera houses and ornamental gardens, it's a little pocket of madness in the north of Wales. Its architecture is very unbefitting of a traditional Welsh town but it’s this charm that gives it the title of a chocolate box village in the UK.

Where to eat and drink: Enjoy an upmarket lunch in a historic setting at the Brasserie at Castell Deudreath.

Where to stay: Tucked away in the peaceful countryside, enjoy a romantic glamping weekend in the Briallen lodge complete with a bubbling private hot tub.

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11. Plockton

Best for: Boat trips

Known as ‘the jewel of the highlands’, Plockton sits on a sheltered bay with stunning views of Loch Carron. It’s been featured in numerous films and TV productions, the most well-known being the BBC’s series. The sea is an integral part of Plockton’s history and to this day yachts and other boats can be seen moored up in the bay. There are also plenty of opportunities for you to get out on the water, from seal tours and kayaking to paddleboarding and sailing.

Where to eat and drink: The Croft Cafe is a great place to meet friends and enjoy delicious dishes from the land and sea.

Where to stay: Enjoy stunning views overlooking Loch Duich as you sit out on the veranda with a stay at Druidaig Cottage.

Find places to stay in the Scottish Highlands