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Picturesque Villages to visit near London

A Pictures of England Article

Aylesford, Kent - Image by member Paul Johnson (view gallery)

This list contains some of the best picturesque villages to visit that are within an hour or two of London, and no further. There are over ten to choose from here, with links to more pictures of each village and more information.  

If you would like to add your pictures, please do, and if you can recommend any of these villages, or indeed any other picturesque village worth a visit near London, then please let us all know in the comments section below, as we want this list to be as helpful as possible for those visiting London who want to take a trip out to experience one of our quintessential English villages. Thank you.

1. Aldbury, Hertfordshire (1 Hour from London)

Aldbury, Hertfordshire. - Image by member Graham Rains (view gallery)

Lying on the edge of the Chiltern Hills this is one of the counties most attractive villages. It is quintessentially English with delightful cottages and houses, a duck pond, whipping post and ancient stocks.

Overlooking the pond is the village church, this is Early English in style with a square embattled tower. The oldest parts of the church date to the 13th century, there is a long, low nave and low chancel. The church shows delightful lancet windows and contains several ancient..[more]

2. Aylesford, Kent (1 hour from London)

Part of the High street, Aylesford, Kent - Image by member Paul D (view gallery)

Aylesford is a large village in Kent, 4 miles NW of the county town of Maidstone. It sits on the river Medway, and has many interesting and historic buildings including the 14th century Medieval bridge, and Aylesford Priory (The Friars) - founded in 1242 when the first Carmelites arrived from Mount Carmel in the Holy Land.

Aylesford's picturesque bridge is a well preserved medieval multi-span bridge across the river Medway believed to date from the 14th century.


3. Cookham village, Berkshire (1 hour from London)

The Crown Pub on the Moor. Cookham, Berkshire - Image by member Liz Kwantes (view gallery)

This beautiful old village lies in the thickly wooded Cliveden Reach of the Thames, a fine stretch of water that begins at Cookham Lock. The area is widely known for the quaint ceremony of Swan Upping. This is when the Royal Swankeeper catches the new cygnets, and claims ownership on behalf of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, this is a colourful ceremony, it attracts visitors from all over and, taking place in late July means that children can attend.

Cookham is a popular haunt..[more]

4. Shere, Surrey (1 hour from London)

Village Stocks at the White Horse Pub, Shere, Surrey - Image by member Brian Detweiler (view gallery)

This lovely tranquil village on the picturesque Tillingbourne, nestles beneath the rolling countryside of the North Downs. It is rich with pretty cottages with black and white timber-framing, many with over-hanging first storeys, with some dating from the 16th century.

The attractive Church of St.James is approached via a Lych-gate designed by Sir Edwin Luytens in 1902. The church is believed to date from 1190, it has a Norman tower, and pointed arches characteristic of Early English..[more]

5. Ashwell, Hertfordshire 1.5 hours from London)

Main Street - Image by member Paul Taylor (view gallery)

Ashwell embodies some of the finest domestic architecture in England, here in this well preserved village, at a glance you get a pleasurable insight as to what England was like in the 16th and 17th-centuries.

The Doomsday Book records Ashwell as a market town; the streets follow a well laid out plan and you can easily identify the old market place. The village is dominated by the spire of the beautiful 14th-century church dedicated to St. Mary around which there are many timber-framed..[more]

6. Castle Hedingham, Essex (1.5 hours from London)

Castle Hedingham, Essex - Image by member poe (view gallery)

Set in enchanting border countryside where the fine old counties of Suffolk and Essex meet, lies the delightful village of Castle Hedingham which has pleasant buildings and an historic castle to explore.

Hedingham Castle was built in the 12th-century by the DeVere family, who lived at the castle for many centuries, it is still owned by one of the DeVere descendents. The castle is remarkable for its towering Norman keep which is one of the best preserved in the country. It is also..[more]

7. Chilham, Kent (1.5 hours from London)

Chilham Street - Image by member David Newton (view gallery)

Here you will find an attractive collection of Tudor black and white half-timbered houses assembled around a central village square. The impressive gates to Chilham Castle stand in the square, and peeping between the houses at the northern end of the square, is the clock-face tower of the Church of St. Mary. It is the most atmospheric square, and it is therefore unsurprising to learn it was featured in the film 'The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders' in around 1965.

Another historic..[more]

8. Finchingfield, Essex (1.5 hours from London)

Finchingfield Parish Church - Image by member Gwen Edwards © (view gallery)

This award winning village can be found 54 miles from London and has often been described as the 'most photographed village in England', winning many awards for its picturesque setting, with its traditional village duck pond, village green, pub and pretty cottages. A windmill, hump-backed bridge, and beautiful medieval church complete the picture of this quintessential English village close to Constable country in beautiful rural Essex.

There are many interesting buildings in the village..[more]

9. Alfriston, East Sussex (2 hours from London)

House view - Image by member Hans Littel (view gallery)

Delightful east Sussex village mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086. It occupies a favoured position in the beautiful Cuckmere Gap and serves as a tourist village to which hoards of visitors flock to enjoy the many well preserved fine old buildings to be seen, one of the most important being the local church.

St.Andrew's Church is a 14th century cruciform church showing fragments of early glass, but the Jesse window in the south transept is from early in the 20th century. Inside..[more]

10. Brockenhurst, Hampshire (2 hours from London)

Cherry Tree cottage - Image by member Victor Naumenko (view gallery)

Gloriously set, like a jewel in a crown, between woodland and heathland, is the picturesque place called Brockenhurst. It is within the New Forest but often referred to as a gateway to the New Forest, Brockenhurst is an ideal base from which to explore the bounties nature has heaped on this wonderful region. It is alive with flora and fauna and New Forest ponies can frequently be seen at the edge of the town. There are several hotels in the area, and one has an excellent Cricket pitch that is..[more]

11. Lavenham, Suffolk (2 hours from London)

Water Street houses - Image by member Victor Naumenko (view gallery)

Wonderful clusters of fine Tudor houses, all gracious in age, offer the visitor a glimpse of just how a prosperous wool town must have looked during its' hey-day in the middle ages. The wealthy merchants of Lavenham and the wool trade have long since gone but still exists these grand old houses, churches and other beautiful buildings that have stood the test of time and bear witness to the towns enduring prosperity.

Justly proud of thier heritage are the local residents that Lavenham's..[more]

A Pictures of England article submitted by poe

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