Fancy getting out of London for the day, maybe for a weekend or perhaps you’re even contemplating taking a month or so to work remotely from somewhere peaceful, but within commuting distance? There are some gorgeous, picturesque villages just an hour or so out of central London, just waiting to be explored! From historical villages in Wiltshire, to a peaceful retreat on the Kent coastline, there’s something for everyone on our list of closest (and most picturesque) village getaways to London.
1. Shere, Guildford, Surrey
Head to Shere, just around an hour and 15 minutes from London, for a peaceful village getaway. An easy drive south-west from Central London, taking the A3 and then A25, Shere is close enough even for a day trip, but believe us, when you get there, you’ll want to make a weekend of it!
Take a trip back through time, to this gorgeous village just outside of Guildford, boasting picture-perfect cottages, a great taste of village life, and a 12th Century church! Head to Shere Museum to learn all about the area’s history, or head out of Shere to the nearby Holmbury Hill for stunning views of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty! Visit the gorgeous 18th Century, Leith Hill Tower, just a 20 minutes drive from Shere, for more great views, or check out Tillingbourne Waterfall, also nearby!
2. Chilham, Canterbury, Kent
Take an hour and 45 minutes drive south-east out of Central London, for a fabulous village getaway to Chilham, in the heart of Kent. A popular TV and film location, due to the gorgeous Medieval buildings, and it’s gorgeous Market Square. Chilham boasts a lot for visitors to do, take a wander around the village streets and marvel at the gorgeous timber-framed Medieval architecture, go hiking in the surrounding Kent Downs Area of Natural Beauty.
Head just a 20 minute drive north-east to the gorgeous city of Canterbury - check out our recommendations of what to do on a day trip to Canterbury - definitely worth a visit for lovers of history and great cafés! Chilham is incredibly well-located for little afternoon trips out, take a short drive north-west to the gorgeous Georgian Belmont House for a wander around their manicured gardens in the (hopefully) sunshine!
3. Bibury, Gloucestershire
Drive 2 hours north-west of London for a great village getaway to Bibury in Gloucestershire. Located in the heart of the gorgeous Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, check out our recommendations of what to do on a day trip to the Cotswolds, Bibury is a postcard village worth visiting. When there, make sure to wander down Arlington Row and take in the beauty of the riverside 14th century stone cottages, that really typify the Cotswolds area.
Walk over the beautiful brick footbridges over the River Coln, visit the Bibury Trout Farm, for the chance to try out some fishing, or play crazy golf, or, have a memorable dinner at one of the area’s most popular and historic restaurants, The Swan. Head out of Bibury to the nearby (just a 10 minute drive) Lodge Park and Sherborne Park Estate, for a great afternoon out in nature.
4. Lavenham, Sudbury, Suffolk
Head in the opposite direction, a 2 hours and 25 minutes drive north-east, to the village of Lavenham in Suffolk to see timber-framed cottages galore. In the heart of Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Lavenham is perfectly located for afternoon trips out in nature, and for stunning countryside views. This gorgeous village is home to more than 300 listed buildings, so take a trip back in time and wander past the quirky, colourful buildings.
Get fully immersed in local history and visit the Little Hall Museum, housed in a cute orange Medieval building or have afternoon tea at the quaint local Lavenham Blue Vintage Tea Rooms. Head to the beautiful nearby Tudor manor house, Kentwell Hall, for quiet walks around walled gardens or fun, family-friendly events.
5. Lacock, Wiltshire
Last, but definitely not least, why not have a getaway from London to the gorgeous Wiltshire village of Lacock? Around a 2 hours and 15 minutes drive west from Central London, an easy drive across the M4 and then the A350, this village makes for a great countryside getaway from the Big Smoke.
Fans of Harry Potter rejoice, Lacock is home to numerous settings featured in the films - from Lacock Abbey, the cloisters, which were used in the films as parts of Hogwarts School. Harry Potter’s parents’ house from the films can also be found in the village, as well as Horace Slughorn’s house, featured in the sixth film. After your Harry Potter tour of the village, make sure to check out the historic 14th century pub, the George Inn and Coco Chemistry artisan chocolate shop across the road, for some souvenirs from your getaway!
After more getaway ideas? How about a visit to Whitstable? the gorgeous Kent seaside town, just an hour and 45 minute drive from London.
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