If you’re considering moving to a more rural setting you might be interested to learn about the best places to live in the countryside.
Village greens, tranquillity, a local pub just a short walk away and lots of fresh air and space.
Whatever you want from the countryside, whether a rural location or a village with a small but lively community, we can help you find your dream property.
From remote places live on the edge of national parks to those rural spots that also offer the ability to commute to London; the United Kingdom has many places to live in the countryside.
The below are just some of the locations Garrington’s property experts recommend to their clients.
Shere, near Guildford, Surrey
Shere is a quintessential English village that combines country living with ready access to the capital and neighbouring towns and cities.
The village boasts ducks on the tranquil River Tillingbourne, two pubs, a post office, bakery, and greengrocer, and even a fine dining restaurant.
With nearby Guildford and Dorking acting as popular hubs for the so-called stockbroker belt of Surrey, Shere is very much a commuter town—with the benefit of attractive countryside surroundings.
Shere has been described as one of the best commuter villages within an hour’s distance of London.
Grassington, North Yorkshire
The North Yorkshire Dales have featured as the setting for countless television series in the UK—the countryside is some of the best in Britain. In fact, Grassington was transformed into Darrowby for the remake of the iconic series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’.
Set amidst stunning scenery in Upper Wharfdale in the heart of the Dales, Grassington also boasts a strong village community, pubs, shops, and centuries of rural history.
Although you’ll be in the heart of wonderful countryside, you won’t be living completely off the grid—Skipton is about a 20-minute drive away and Harrogate around 40-minutes.
Beaminster has a population of around 3,000 people. It is known for its beautiful countryside, proximity to the coast, and good schools.
Beaminster has been called laidback and pretty and is like a cross between the charm of a small French village with the more chic quarters of a big city.
In short, it is a town in its own right, both quaintly charming and authentic.
East Meon, Meon Valley, Hampshire
Nestled at the head of the Meon Valley in the South Downs National Park, East Meon offers country living at Hampshire’s best.
Here you’ll find stunning rural scenery, and a quiet pace of life, yet the bright lights of urban centres (and even the capital) are not too far away.
Goring-on-Thames (or Goring), Oxfordshire
Nestled into the Goring Gap between the Chilterns and the North Wessex Downs, with its riverside frontage, Goring-on-Thames has been on the tourist trail since Victorian times.
The twin villages of Goring and Streatley span the River Thames but present a single harmonious and friendly community to visitors.
Surrounded by green hills and escarpments, the villages have pubs and local independent shops aplenty.
Ashburton, South Devon
Ashburton offers the wild and rugged open spaces of Dartmoor, yet also sits alongside the so-called Devon Expressway—the A38 between Exeter and Plymouth—giving you the immediate choice between remote countryside or bustling provincial cities.
A little-known fact about the town is its fame once upon a time for “Ashburton Pop”, a beverage said to taste something like champagne, but the recipe for which was lost between 1785 and 1835.
A village hall, award-winning pub, chocolate box thatched cottages, a cricket pitch and tennis court—what more could you ask of an English country village? Cheriton has it all.
The village is surrounded by the lush, fertile farmlands of Hampshire yet is only a stone’s throw from the county capital—historic Winchester—and the whole of Britain beyond.
With a short drive to Winchester station and a train ride of less than an hour, Cheriton also passes muster as a highly desirable commuter town.
Ufford, Near Stamford, Cambridgeshire
Ufford is a small village in the northwest corner of Cambridgeshire, close to the borders with Lincolnshire and Rutland. This puts the place in the heart of England and an almost exclusively agricultural history.
Today, farms have been amalgamated and the former patchwork of tenant farmers has all but disappeared. In their place, most residents of the village now travel to work in Stamford or Peterborough—and increasing numbers take advantage of the fast train services from Peterborough to commute daily to London.
For many, it has become the perfect spot in which to put down family roots in the countryside.
Woodstock, Cotswolds, Oxfordshire
Not only does Woodstock have everything you might want of a rural market town in the Cotswolds—stunningly quaint architecture and independent shops and markets—but it also has its own famous and much-visited palace at Blenheim.
Blenheim Palace is a World Heritage site and was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. It is currently the home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough.
A place in the Cotswolds, a palace on your doorstep, and ready transport links by road and rail to the rest of the UK—Woodstock clamours for attention as one of the best countryside locations for a home.
Clitheroe, Ribble Valley, Lancashire
With the Forest of Bowland on one side and Pendle Hill on the other, Clitheroe sites comfortably at the head of the delightful Ribble Valley and it’s little wonder that it attracts scores of local tourists in a nostalgic search for a slice of rural England.
It’s not all country living, Manchester is readily accessible, as are the genteel cities of Harrogate and York just across the Pennines.
The Royal Burgh of Peebles, Scottish Borders
Life in Peebles offers country living at its best: the charm of the countryside, yet the benefits of living in a small, friendly, and community-oriented market town.
Surrounded by peaceful and attractive countryside and with a town that has been voted one of the best independent retail shopping towns in Scotland, it is little wonder that Peebles has also proved something of a magnet for those looking to live a comfortable retirement.
This is country living under big skies – over the wide expanse of Romney Marsh.
In the other direction is the single high street of Appledore itself, with its post office, three pubs, antique shops, bustling village store, and a 14th-century church.
Clavering, Saffron Walden, Essex
If it’s the countryside you are after, Clavering – its name means “place where clover grows” – is in probably the most rural part of Essex.
As one of the major counties bordering the capital, however, neither are you far from the hustle and bustle of London, which remains about an hour away, whether by road or by rail.
That easy access to the capital makes Clavering an ideal home for commuters – who have the added benefit of returning at the end of each day to a community with its own village green, cricket pitch, two pubs, and post office cum general stores.
Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales
The ancient market town of Monmouth sits in the beautiful Wye Valley as it winds between Ross-on-Wye to Chepstow, where the Wye meets the estuary of the River Severn. As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Wye Valley attracts its share of visitors.
Nevertheless, the town of Monmouth retains an almost sleepy, rural air, despite the excellence of its connections via the motorway network to Cardiff, Bristol, and the Midlands.
St Tudy, Cornwall
St Tudy and the immediately surrounding area was designated a Conservation Area by North Cornwall District Council in 1997. This recognises the central role played by St Tudy in the local community and the survival in the village of historic buildings from several different periods in its history.
That community spirit has not only made St Tudy a popular place to live – largely away from it all – but also instils in its residents a sense of pride.
Lavenham prospered from the wool trade in medieval England and the evidence remains today in its collection of half-timbered cottages and circular walks around the small town. Indeed, Lavenham is said to have been one of the twenty wealthiest settlements in England in medieval times.
No longer medieval in its tastes, Lavenham today boasts a luxury hotel and spa, a pub (of course), tea shops, sculpted gardens, a 15th-century church, and a historic Guildhall.
Ditchling, East Sussex
It’s a country village at the foot of the glorious South Downs yet only a short drive from Brighton. Little wonder that many commentators describe the settlement as “a bit special” and one of the best places to live in the UK.
Despite the essentially rural location, London remains less than an hour away from the nearby station of Hassocks—making Ditchling a favourite among commuters.
From the town of Holt to the North Sea the land is all part of the North Norfolk Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The streets of the market town are lined with Georgian houses and a tree-lined avenue makes its stately way to a 13th-century church. Holt Country Park offers 100 acres of oak, pine, and birch woodland.
The wild North Norfolk coast is always close by and offers mile upon mile of walks along the beach.
Holt has been voted one of the best places to live in the UK.
As if the country life in the pretty Somerset Levels was not already comfortable enough, a further feature of the high-brow life was brought to the small town by the formation a few years ago of the Wedmore Operatic company.
Along with several boutiques and “our little Harrods” in the shape of the village stores, Wedmore also boasts three pubs, butcher, greengrocer, delicatessen, florist, and post office.
This so-called Isle of Wedmore has been voted one of the best places to live in the UK.
Pulborough, West Sussex
Pulborough is a quintessentially English village situated in the idyllic West Sussex countryside.
The village offers an eclectic mix of cottages and manor houses, as well as more modern properties for those looking to move to the country.
South Downs National Park is on its northern edge, making it ideal for those who love nature and hiking.
The village offers a range of local shops and services, as well as country pubs offering mouth-watering home cooked classic pub food and traditional ales.
From angling, bird watching, crafts and cricket to dance, drama, horse riding and yoga, you definitely won’t be bored living here.
For commuters, London is accessible within around an hour and a half on the Southern railway.
Alnwick is an historic Northeast England town and a charming one at that.
As well as being one of Northumberland’s top tourist attractions, it’s also a sought-after place to live for its sturdy stone Georgian houses.
The town offers a picture-postcard coast just a bike ride away, a fairy-tale castle which starred as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films and a popular summer food festival showcasing local producers.
Good schools, activities, and shopping amenities also make Alnwick a popular choice for house buyers.
Northumberland National Park, a half hour drive to the west, is home to plentiful walking routes (ranging from easy to strenuous) for those keen for a lungful of fresh air.
Just 32 miles of the Scottish border, the A1 gives easy access to Edinburgh in under two hours and Newcastle in under one hour.
If you’re looking for a village with a quick commute to London, then you might want to consider Iver in Buckinghamshire. Iver offers a fine balance of being well connected and with good amenities whilst homes are surrounded by green spaces.
The neighbouring areas and hamlets of Iver Heath and Richings Park and the hamlets of Shreding Green and Thorney offer similar green outlook.
Iver is perhaps best known for being the home of Pinewood Studios, where the James Bond franchise was filmed, along with many other shows and movies.
Iver has a conservation area which protects many 15th, 16th and 17th century houses which are still used as residential homes.
In terms of amenities, Iver’s high street has everything you need in the way of shops, restaurants and pubs.
There’s a primary school for children aged 7 to 11 and an infant nursery school for younger children aged 3 to 7.
From Iver Station you can be at Paddington Station in around half an hour, thanks to the Elizabeth Line.
The traditional market town of Frodsham is positioned just south of Liverpool and Manchester by the River Mersey.
Frodsham is rich in history and offers a quaint village appeal. Its period buildings, good transport links and access to wide open spaces attract house buyers.
With a population hovering around one thousand, the town has a vibrant community and a well-established foodie scene.
Here you’ll find everything from pubs and restaurants to artisan bakers and traditional butchers, plus a bustling market taking place each Thursday.
Originally two separate villages, Brightwell and Sotwell were combined in 1948 and lie in a hollow between Wallingford and Didcot in the Oxfordshire countryside.
The quiet village has picturesque black and white thatched cottages dotted along the narrow village streets, which date back to Tudor times.
One of these houses the Red Lion, the pub at the heart of the village selling great local beers and home-cooked delicious food.
The area offers a strong sense of community for families and activities for children.
In addition to the school and pre-school, there are four churches, as well as a thriving village shop run by volunteers.
Didcot Parkway has a train station which connects residents with Oxford by train in around forty-five minutes. The journey by car takes half an hour.
Hambleton is a small village situated on a peninsula in Rutland Water, the largest man-made lake in Britain.
The picturesque village is a popular place to live but due to Rutland being a small country in the West Midlands, the most desirable homes don’t often come up for sale. Those that do are usually sold off market.
For those who love water views, long walks and pretty modernised cottages, this village should tick all the boxes.
Co-ed Oakham School serves children from 10 to 18 years old. London is accessible either by two-hour drive or train from Oakham Station.
Some have described it as a “dreamy location” surrounded by beautiful countryside, lakeside views, and a waterscape just begging for the next glorious sunset.
Approximately 10 miles west of Stirling, the village of Thornhill is as rural as it comes.
Situated on the edge of Trossachs National Park, Thornhill may be small but it has a tight-knit community, plus services and facilities.
The heart of Thornhill is its Village Store, aka “The Shop” where you can pick up supplies as well as the local news. The Lion and Unicorn is the place to head for a great pub meal and a chin wag.
Located outside the village are hills and walks, mountain bike trails, Flanders Moss National Nature Reserve, Blair Drummond Safari Park, and Loch Lomond.
Just a short drive from Swansea, The Gower Peninsula in Wales boasts some of the best beaches and incredible countryside.
It’s notable that Gower was one of the first places to be designated as an AONB, so almost anywhere is a great place to live.
The village of Chew Magna is nestled in the Chew Valley on the northern edge of the Mendip Hills, and is full of historical interest.
With its plethora of listed buildings, medieval bridges and a history that stretches back to Saxon times, this is a prime destination for buyers seeking country houses.
The Pelican and Bear and Swan pubs are located in the village, with the latter earning a reputation as one of the finest gastro-pubs in the county.
Chew Magna is a popular option for commuters being ten miles equidistant from Bristol and Bath.
The friendly village of Sway in Hampshire is a good choice for those looking for rail connections to London and proximity to the south coast.
Sway’s bustling shopping center has everything you’ll need in the way of services including an award-winning butcher, a bustling village shop.
There are several good places to eat and drink with four pubs in and around the village.
There is always something happening in the village with clubs and societies for all age groups.
The annual Sway carnival in June/July is a popular event with a procession, fete and dog show.
Bournemouth and Southampton can be reached in around a half an hour drive, and are also connected to Sway by train.
If you’re a fan of the outdoors and walking in particular, then Lustleigh will appeal as an idyllic rural base.
Touted ‘the prettiest village in Dartmoor’, with its charming cob and thatched houses, picture postcard setting, and Cleave Public House – it is a favourite stopover for walkers.
While Lustleigh isn’t bustling with services and amenities, there is a village shop and a tearoom.
Nearby Bovey Tracey is a short drive away and has several supermarkets.
Alternatively, there are a number of local organic food producers, farm shops and markets in the area.
Chobham is packed with country village charm and is a highly sought-after place to live due to its proximity to London.
There are independent shops, cafes, and pubs on the high street, including the Four Horseshoes.
Here drinkers can sit and have a pint and view horses being shod at the nearby farrier’s.
Chobham offers an easy half hour commute to London via Woking Railway Station, ten minutes drive away.
Trains to Waterloo Station leave hourly, and the journey time is under thirty minutes.
Best known for being the home of Charles Darwin, Downe in Kent is situated just beyond east London’s urban sprawl.
Downe offers the best of both worlds. Not only do you have the benefit of living in a quiet and rustic village surrounded by unspoiled countryside, but commuters also have a quick journey to London.
The heart of the village is the Downe Village Hall which hosts a variety of social events for residents.
The Queens Head and George & the Dragon are well established local watering holes, while the Dakshin Indian Restaurant is also a popular dining spot.
While Downe doesn’t have its own railway station, the Thameslink from nearby Orpington can get you to London Bridge in around half an hour.
Bishop Thornton, Yorkshire
The North Yorkshire village of Bishop Thornton is surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside featuring castles, historic buildings, monastic ruins and landscaped gardens.
As well as a small but friendly community feel, the village has two churches and two schools, plus the top notch restaurant and carvery, The Chequers Inn.
Nestled on the edge of Yorkshire Dales National Park, the village offers access to stunning scenery and great natural attractions for walkers and mountain bikers.
Situated seven miles north of Harrogate, the closest airport to Bishop Thornton is at Leeds Bradford around a forty minute drive south.
Located on the dramatic North Cornish coast, Tintagel is a charming and vibrant small town in which to live.
The town offers a selection of stone-built late Victorian homes, bungalows and cottages, as well as modern detached houses.
Local amenities include a food shop, medical centre, and cafes in which to indulge in a Cornish Cream Tea.
Tintagel is within easy reach of some of the other highlights of North Cornwall, including the hugely popular Tintagel Castle, said to be the birthplace of King Arthur.
The closest train station is at Bodmin Parkway, twenty miles away and there is a well established and regular bus service between neighbouring towns.
Sutton is a pretty village located a short distance from the larger market town of Stalham.
Surrounded by rural landscapes, Sutton is a peaceful place yet also has excellent day to day amenities and facilities.
There is a village pub, primary school, garden centre, village hall and the parish church.
The village is positioned next to the Norfolk Broads and is about 16 miles northeast of Norwich.
Freckenham is a small rural village in West Suffolk surrounded by scenic countryside featuring rivers and brooks.
Situated twenty miles northeast of Cambridge and close to the Forest Heath area, it gives access to a wealth of walking, running and cycling routes for those who love the great outdoors.
The village has limited facilities but there is a 16th century pub, The Golden Boar, a village hall and a church.
The neighbouring villages and towns are well set up for schools and a bus service runs twice a day to Mildenhall and Bury St Edmunds.
Finding the best place to live in the countryside
Garrington property finders can help you acquire your dream home in the country. Our buying agents are local experts who have many years of experience, providing assurance at a time when you need it the most.
To talk to a member of our property finding team regarding your search and the services they offer please do get in touch, without obligation.
Please note that travel (rail and car) journey times quoted are based on an average journey time. We appreciate that faster journey times may be available depending on train and other transport availability.