Top 5 Rural Places to Visit in England


It’s no secret that the English countryside is home to some of the most beautiful rural destinations in the world, with winding roads cutting through majestic hills and passing by farms and ancient ruins. From old villages and castles to natural features like woodlands, valleys, and rivers, there’s no shortage of scenery in Great Britain. A rich history and stunning natural landscape make England a really fun place to have a country road trip. If you’re having trouble deciding which place you want to see first, consider putting the following five hand-picked destinations at the top of your list:

1. Essex

With more than 3,500 miles of scenic byways and trails, the county of Essex provides plenty of driving, cycling, and hiking enjoyment. The roads here will vary greatly depending on which area you’re in, so if you’re going to be driving yourself, it would be wise to use a site like to quiz yourself on British driving theory. There are plenty of country parks to visit, and visitors planning to stay in the county for a while can get a parking pass for all of the parks for a single annual fee.

2. Yorkshire Dales

Driving through the Yorkshire Dales can be highly entertaining, especially if you’re traveling in a vehicle with 4×4 capabilities. There are so many rural roads that pass through the dales and surrounding villages that you could literally spend weeks here without seeing everything. Most notably, the villages of Grassington and Muker are extraordinary sites to see, as are Aysgarth Falls and Pateley Bridge.

3. Cotswolds

The Cotswolds Hills is excellent example of the English countryside at its best. As a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it’s home to some of the most illustrious hills, parks, and villages in the world. From busy market towns to narrow back roads, there’s something to do for everyone and the scenery is a photographer’s dream. There are also plenty of walking routes to enjoy and the local architecture is quite picturesque.

4. Cheshire

Aside from being the birthplace of James Bond (Daniel Craig), Cheshire is known for its interesting houses and serene gardens. You could spend all day exploring the vistas and enjoying the hospitality of the area’s country inns. Stop by Woodland Park and Beeston Castle first.

5. Lancashire

Home to popular destinations like Silverdale and Arnside, much of Lancashire is also designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A drive through this area in the autumn will leave you with sights to remember, and there are plenty of castles, boutiques, inns, relaxing spas, and festivals to enjoy year round.

Preparing for the Trip

Anyone who isn’t familiar with UK driving laws should arrange for someone else to drive or consider taking driving theory tests online to become comfortable with the laws of the road. Knowing how to drive in England is especially important if you plan on also visiting densely populated areas where there will be lots of traffic. Before setting out on your journey, be sure to pack everything you’ll need to stay safe and comfortable.