The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - Travel

‘You pass two pubs and an imposing church, locations in the Midsomer Murders series’

When it comes to naming the most quintessen­tially British village, feelings run high – as your persuasive letters reveal

- CREAM OF CORNWALL James Knight, West Sussex

My favourite village can’t be described as “chocolate box” pretty. There are no gift shops or thatched cottages – but North Hill, on the east edge of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, is beautiful. Nestling into a lush hillside, it boasts the church of St Torney, which pushes its ancient head above the lush landscape of the Lynher valley. We married there in 2017. Dominating the landscape are the Cheesewrin­g, where stone was quarried to build London Bridge; plus Hawk’s Tor and Kilmar Tor, where Daphne du Maurier found inspiratio­n for Jamaica Inn. From their summits, the views extend to Plymouth Sound and Lundy Island. I hope North Hill remains untouched and lovely forever. Diane Roche, Cornwall


Carlton Colville, in Suffolk, is a small village with lots to offer. A transport museum, beaches and a nature reserve are within walking distance or a short drive; Southwold is 20 minutes away by car. Head south to discover Framlingha­m Castle and Sutton Hoo, or north to explore the Norfolk Broads.

The 13th-century parish church contains Commonweal­th war graves. Carlton Marshes is a Site of Special Scientific Interest that supports rare water plants such as bladderwor­t, along with dragonflie­s, birds of prey, water voles and raft spiders. Stay at the Coach House, eat at the 17th-century Bell Inn – and have afternoon tea at the Olive Tree coffee shop.

Sandra Mahoney, Suffolk


I was surprised not to see Lacock, in Wiltshire, on your list of perfect British villages. On our circular walk, a footpath guided us past the ancient abbey ruins and the tithe barn, over packhorse bridges spanning a brook, then back to the historic centre. Lanes led us to half-timbered cottages with leaded windows adorned with flowers.

Since medieval times, houses have stood either side of the broad main road; film and TV buffs will recognise places where period dramas have been shot. With both Biddestone (a quintessen­tially English spot) and Castle Combe a short distance away, Wiltshire has its fair share of perfect villages. But maybe I am biased… Margaret Reed, Wiltshire


Beside the current of the Thames sits the village of Hurley, in Berkshire. Its glamorous neighbours – Henley-onThames and Marlow – garner more publicity, but

Hurley has bragging rights. The picnic scene in From Russia with Love was filmed here. You may not see a topless

James Bond on the towpath now, but the

walk is glorious. In summer, pleasure boats queue for the locks and

the café is packed. Families picnic on the grassy banks and children frolic in the shallows.

As the days grow colder, the leaves turn, visitors are fewer and

the light is softer.

The first mention of Hurley village was in the 9th century, when it must have been more like a hamlet. These days, lavish properties border the approach road before

you pass two pubs, a charming village shop and an imposing church, locations for episodes of Midsomer Murders. Beyond the car park, a narrow path leads

to the river.

Hurley is a well-kept secret. Those in the know

keep coming back. Anne Crittenden, from Berkshire, wins a £250 Kirker holiday voucher


Niton, on the Isle of Wight, is a quiet backwater unlike the surroundin­g tourist hotspots with their beaches, protected areas and warm south coast weather. The village has four pubs – including a bistro with accommodat­ion and an inn with flagstone floors and sea views – plus a “shebeen” in the post office and a clifftop café. The nearby coastal path does what it says on the tin, and Niton is at the centre of a web of paths to chalky downland, lazy river valleys, farm shops and outlying villages (with more pubs). Hop on a bus and you are 10 minutes from Victorian Ventnor, while zinging Shanklin, Sandown and the market town of Newport are within an hour. But why leave Niton anyway when everything is here – especially quiet? Bruce Denness, Isle of Wight


When it comes to perfect villages, Thurleston­e in South Devon stands head and shoulders above the rest. Its Main Street, which meanders down to the sea, is bordered by centuries-old thatched cottages. The Village Inn provides a convivial meeting place and the adjacent Thurleston­e hotel – run by the Grose family since 1897 – is a luxurious haven complete with spa.

There is a well-stocked shop close to the medieval church of All Saints, which is worth a visit – especially in summer, when scrumptiou­s cream teas are served in the church meeting room. The 18-hole golf course, with “a view of the sea from every tee”, is a stone’s throw away and the adjacent sandy beach offers windsurfin­g and paddleboar­ding, plus a view of the Thurleston­e Rock. Seduced by all that the village has to offer, I now live here. Louise Boxhall, Devon


Shere, in the heart of the Surrey Hills, has been a magnet for tourists since The Holiday was filmed there in 2006. It is certainly pretty, but I much prefer following the River Tillingbou­rne east to Abinger Hammer, then continuing through wooded hills and along walking trails to Holmbury St Mary – a quiet hillside village with a fine church, a couple of lovely pubs with gardens, and YHA lodgings for hikers.

From there, I would recommend stopping off for a drink at the Plough pub in Coldharbou­r, at the foot of Leith Hill, before heading home. Although located not far from London or the clamour of Gatwick airport, this is a surprising­ly peaceful part of the world, where most of the people we pass are fellow walkers, cyclists or horse riders. And best of all, there is not a television production crew in sight.

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