Britain is well-known for its rich and fascinating heritage. Wherever you venture, you can find traces of Britain’s history in the buildings, streets and monuments that still stand today.
From the Roman invasion to the Georgian era, Britain’s medieval villages are full of fascinating stories of the people and trades that helped them thrive. These villages are often overlooked by tourists, but they offer a fascinating insight in to Medieval Britain.
To help you plan a historic day out, we’ve unearthed some of Britain’s must visit Medieval villages.
Hawkshead, Lake District
Hawkshead has a mesmerising history and is renowned as being one of the most beautiful villages in the Lake District. Only 20 minutes from Fallbarrow Holiday Park, the cobbled streets, whitewashed cottages, secret passages and hidden alleyways give the village a magical feel.
The village was originally owned and created by the monks at Furness Abbey, who maintained a farming estate here until the 12th century, developing Hawkshead into an important centre for the wool trade. During the Middle Ages, Hawkshead went on to become a bustling market town, before transforming into the thriving tourist destination that we know today.
On a visit, you can see Hawkshead’s medieval roots in the ruins of Hawkshead Hall and the 15th century St. Michael’s Church. Wander around the car-free village on winding streets and admire the stunning architecture. There are also lots of walks to enjoy in the surrounding countryside too, where you can explore more of the scenic Lake District National Park.
Hawkshead is also well-known for its connections to two of England’s literary greats. William Wordsworth, the English poet, grew up close to the village and attended Hawkshead Grammar School - which you can still visit today. You can also visit Hill Top, the former home of novelist Beatrix Potter and see how she took inspiration from the countryside and wildlife when creating her famous stories.
Video sourced from Andy Potts
Lavenham Village, Suffolk
In the heart of Suffolk, and only 45 minutes from Weeley Bridge Holiday Park, is one of Britain’s most beautiful villages - Lavenham. One of England’s richest settlements during medieval times, today Lavenham is a bustling little village with lots to see and do.
Boasting over 300 listed timber-framed buildings, this unique village was created around 750 years ago by King Henry III when he granted Lavenham market status. Traders from all over the country flocked to the village to benefit from its thriving wool trade and the village became famous for Lavenham Blue Cloth. Today, you can still see evidence of the wealthy medieval cloth merchants who lived in the town in the dramatic timber-framed houses they built to show off their wealth.
You can also visit the striking Guildhall to discover more about the history of Lavenham. Originally built in 1530, as a meeting place for cloth merchants, the building has a fascinating history and was also used as a prison, a workhouse, a pub and a social club during the Second World War. See these stories come to life and wander through the colourful courtyard garden, which is a great place for a family picnic during summer.
Take a stroll through the picturesque streets, admire the architecture, or grab your bikes and head out to the surrounding countryside and explore one of the many cycle routes. The old railway line is our pick, taking you through some of the best of Suffolk’s scenery.
Video sourced from SkyEye Britain
Nestled in green valleys with wooded hills, the town of Sherborne is steeped in history. Surrounded by the beautiful Dorset countryside and only 40 minutes from Warmwell Holiday Park, there’s lots to discover on a visit.
Follow the town trail around Sherborne and unravel its remarkable history. Marvel at 15th century architecture and discover the town’s medieval buildings, including the churches, Sherborne Abbey and alms-houses.
Today, Sherborne is a thriving town with plenty of independent shops and fantastic eateries. Sherborne is a real haven for foodies, with its mixture of restaurants and cafes, and a regular farmer’s market where you can find lots of fresh local produce.
On either side of Sherborne Lake you’ll discover the town’s two castles, each with a different story to tell. You can visit the ruins of the old castle, built in the 12th century, then wander around the impressive Sherborne Castle, built in 1594. Reflecting 400 years of decorative styles, it’s well worth a visit. Sat within 30 acres of charming landscaped gardens and surrounded by parkland, it’s the perfect place for a walk or to relax with a picnic.
Video sourced from BlueBoxPhoto
Wharram Percy, Yorkshire
The village of Wharram Percy, 45 minutes from Barmston Beach Holiday Park, is one of the world’s most famous and best-preserved medieval villages - making it one of England’s most popular historic attractions. Whilst most of Britain’s settlements have transformed over time, Wharram Percy was deserted in the early 1500s, so you can still see clear traces of medieval life on a visit today.
Located on the side of a remote valley in the scenic Yorkshire Wolds, evidence of settlements in the village date back as far as the Bronze Age. There have also been finds from the Iron Age and Roman times discovered on the site.
During the 12th and 14th centuries, Wharram Percy would have been a bustling place. There were once two manors in the village, each owned by powerful families, with lots of smaller farm houses and cottages making up the bulk of the village. The only remaining buildings today are the beautiful church and a farmhouse, which dates from the 18th century.
Today, wander around the remains of the settlement and imagine what the village would have been like during medieval times. Follow the outlines of the cottages and discover what life would have been like for its inhabitants. Relax by the tranquil mill pond, beside the ancient church, then head out on a walk into the surrounding countryside.
Video sourced from Beverley Blog