Published On: Mon, Apr 15th, 2024

The 10 prettiest UK villages as surprising county comes out on top | Travel News | Travel

A surprising UK county features twice on a national top ten of prettiest villages in the country and it’s not somewhere you might think.

Gwynedd, in mid-Wales, has two locations in the chart compiled by FBM Holidays putting it level with the much more well-known West Country county of Cornwall in the south west of England.

But while Cornwall welcomes an estimated five millions tourists from the UK and around the world every year, Gwynedd actually beats that number with seven million – although many people might not know that.

The beautiful Welsh region is home to Wales’ highest mountain Snowdon, Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, which is 3,560 feet tall, and it’s also home to the pretty villages of Llanberis and Portmeirion.

Visitors to the latter of the two might be forgiven for thinking they have ended up in Tuscanny rather than Wales, and that’s because Portmeirion was built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis after he was inspired by the fishing village of Portofino on the Italian Riviera.

Sir Williams-Ellis had been searching for a suitable site for his proposed ideal village for several years and when he heard that the Aber Iâ estate near Penrhyndeudraeth was for sale, he jumped at the chance.

The Aber Iâ estate had everything he had hoped for as a site for his architectural experiment: steep cliffs overlooking a wide sandy estuary, woods, streams and a nucleus of old buildings.

Having changed the name to Portmeirion, it was built in two stages – from 1925 to 1939 the site was ‘pegged-out’ and its most distinctive buildings were erected and from 1954-76 he filled in the details.

Llanberis village is around 28 miles north of Portmeirion and has a more industrial past with a heritage in slate mining that centred on the large Dinorwic quarry nearby.

The settlement, which is home to a variety of brightly-coloured buildings, lies on the southern bank of the lake Llyn Padarn and at the foot of Snowdon.

From Llanberis, you can catch a train up to Snowdon and explore the highest mountain in England and Wales.

1. Castle Combe, Cotswolds, Wiltshire

2. Portmeirion, Gwynedd

3. Beaulieu, Hampshire

4. Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire

5. Bibury, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

6. Polperro, Cornwall

7. St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

8. Llanberis, Gwynedd

9. Beddgelert, Snowdonia

10. Hathersage, Peak District, Derbyshire

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