Classic English novels such as Far from the Madding Crowd and Pride and Prejudice have been inspiring visitors to the UK for generations. The idea of romantic, windswept hillsides and gorgeous rural villages captures the imagination of travelers from Europe to Japan. Watch one of the most recent movie adaptations filmed right here in the UK, and you’re bound to fall in love with the classical quaintness of these breathtaking locations.

When you travel, it’s not uncommon to find the expectations set by these romantic works far exceed the places themselves. The beauty captured by the camera really doesn’t stretch much beyond the carefully-framed snapshot you see in the cinema. When it comes to the UK’s south coast, though, this simply isn’t the case. The countryside of England’s rural counties like Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset really is that beautiful. Spend some time delving into some of these little-known locations and you’ll experience vistas and views that will simply bring you to your knees. You simply must get out of the city and experience them at least once.

So without much further ado, let’s start exploring our picks for the 5 most beautiful villages south of London.

Sherborne, Dorset

Sherborne is a local gem made famous by the BBC’s stunning new feature series Poldark. This beautiful little market town wowed viewers with its prominent sloped streets and historic buildings like Sherborne Abbey.

Charlestown, Cornwall

If you love all things nautical then Charlestown will simply make you melt. This tiny village is one of the most unspoiled examples of a Georgian working port still in existence today. Its beautiful square-rigged sailing ships and quayside will take you back 200 years to a simpler, quainter time.

Corfe, Dorset

You’ve never visited anywhere quite like Corfe. Nestled in the cradle of a lush green valley, the village would be remarkable for its minuscule country cottages and rustic feel alone. However, the beauty of this little gem is amplified tenfold by the presence of its enormous, ruined tenth-century castle that still stands proudly on the horizon. If you visit anywhere in the English countryside, make it Corfe.

Brockenhurst, Hampshire

Have you ever had wasps attend a picnic as uninvited guests? Well, I bet you’ve never had wild horses showing up trying to nibble at your apple pies. Go for lunch out in the open in Brockenhurst and this is precisely what you’ll get. This gorgeous town’s New Forest location means that it slips seamlessly from quaint rural township to vast, untamed countryside. Throw in a few rolling rivers and quiet English pubs and you have a countryside haven fit for several lifetimes of peace and quiet.

Clovelly, Devon

Clovelly is almost impossibly beautiful. And I mean that in the most literal sense – it’s built on a cliffside slope so steep that it’s a wonder it doesn’t topple into the sea. This unique position makes it one of the most fascinating and photogenic locations you could ever hope to visit. Sloping down to its tiny fishing port, the cobbled streets of Clovelly are unmissable and unforgettable.

If that doesn’t inspire you to get out of the city I don’t know what will. Remember, Evan Evans has a host of countryside exploration tours that can show you the very best of what the UK has to offer. Simply check out our day tours from London today.