It is no coincidence that “Harry Potter,” “The Lord of the Rings” or “The Chronicles of Narnia” all come from English writers: all were inspired by the landscapes and hamlets of their childhood.
Henley-on-Thames is THE English village that you should not miss. On the banks of the Thames, surrounded by hills and forests, it is straight out of a postcard! The central square is beautiful with its town hall above and its historic church below! Stroll through the shops, between the half-timbered houses and the original windows, and have a tea and a pastry on the beautiful square to soak up the places.
At the start of summer, Henley-on-Thames hosts the royal regatta: an oar race which attracts rowing teams from all over the world. The village becomes a veritable parade of high-level athletes!
And for children, playgrounds for all ages ride not far from the river and the rowing museum, which also offers a permanent and animated exhibition on the theme of the famous British tale “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame. A café and a beautiful terrace for a coffee break will end the visit.
The village of Bibury is often cited as “the most beautiful village in England.” And I confirm! The landscapes of the green hills and the honey-colored stone thatched cottages seem to come straight out of watercolor. Stroll through the small alleys to discover the houses steeped in history – most of them date, in fact, from the 17th century – and visit the Saxon church of St Mary. Also head to Arlington Row, where you’ll take a souvenir photo of the hugely popular row of houses, homes of 14th-century wool spinners. It is one of the best-known shots in the region. Do not miss the trout farm, in operation since 1902.
If you are passionate about history – or time travel! – the superb English village of Lacock is made for you! I have never seen such a concentration of age-old buildings in one place. Walk the alleys of Lacock, and you will be transported to the 19th century in the blink of an eye! Besides, the village is often the subject of a film set. You may recognize the narrow houses and alleys used in the film “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” or even the romantic decor of the film adaptation of the famous – and no less romantic – “Pride and Prejudice” * by Jane Austen. A little advice, however, arrives early in the morning if you want to enjoy the village in peace or take your photos without being disturbed by the horde of tourists who rushes every summer to Lacock.
If you have a little time during your stay in England, another village that I found beautiful: Castleton, in the Peak District National Park. You will not be alone here either, but despite the many visitors that the village surrounded by mountains attracts, its authenticity and its charming tea rooms come just in time if you come back from the ascent of Mount “Mam Tor” (height of 517 meters). At the top of the famous mount, you will also enjoy a breathtaking view of the region and the village of Castleton. Do not miss the numerous caves in the surrounding area, as well as the Cave Dale valley, just above the village. If you are film buffs like me, you will undoubtedly recognize the decor of the scenes from the 80s film “The Princess Bride.”
Housed in the magnificent landscapes of Northumberland, the bucolic village of Bamburgh is breathtaking. So, yes, it’s a perched castle, which overlooks the sea and its splendid beach, which makes families happy, make Bamburgh a destination of choice more than a stage before Scotland! But that’s not all, not only is Bamburgh superb, the village is also a haven of serenity. Bask on the beach, visit the superb medieval castle, or indulge in a game of locusts around the fortress. I repeat, Bamburgh is ideal for recharging your batteries!