Ten characterful towns

November 27, 2017 - Amanda


These small towns certainly punch above their weight when it comes to character!  Here are 10 personal favourites from the Blue Sail crew – the latest in our series of Top Tens to celebrate our 10th birthday:

  1. Rye in East Sussex … because it is a cobbled picture-postcard town on a hill with elegant buildings and a literary heritage – an ancient Cinque Port overlooking the eerie “fifth continent”, aka the Romney Marsh.
  2. Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria … because it is on the “wrong side” of the M6 so escapes the pressures experienced by parts of the Lake District despite its perfect setting, character, lovely shops and great places to stay.
  3. Hay-on-Wye in east Wales … because it shows what one man’s (Richard Booth) vision can achieve in making a town unique.
  4. Bridport/West Bay in Dorset (made famous by the TV show Broadchurch) … because the beautiful Golden Cap cliffs sit alongside wonderful seafood and pubs that are warm and welcoming in winter. A thatched brewery produces Bridport Ales and “Hardy Country” surrounds the town.
  5. Henley-on-Thames … because there is a Henley way of doing things that celebrates the past and the whole town oozes Victorian charm. It would be unremarkable were it not for the annual Royal Regatta it has hosted since 1839. The town seems to spend much of the year preparing and removing the course from the river that it seems hardly worthwhile doing so – but for almost 180 years that is how it has been done.
  6. Footdee (pronounced Fittie, a historic fishing village in the city) in Aberdeen … because it is so unexpected and utterly charming, with squares of tiny cottages, flower-filled gardens and brightly painted outhouses with seafaring themes.
  7. Frome … because the new and longstanding communities have embraced all that is special about their town and its potential, to create a place full of interesting shops, restored and repurposed old buildings and creative initiatives.
  8. Shrewsbury … because of its new museum in the heart of the historic centre, its huge and varied indoor market and its over 500 independent shops including some wonderful cafes.
  9. Whitby … because this beautiful fishing town used its connections with Bram Stoker and Dracula to reposition itself as the destination for Goth weekends and a themed film festival.  Yet it still retains the charm of its winding streets and interesting little independent shops. It is hard to better the sense of arrival you get, driving across the Yorkshire Moors and seeing your first glimpse of the sea and the town as you begin your winding descent.
  10. Dingle in south west Ireland … because it is a little town of colourful buildings and warm, Irish-speaking people on a stunningly beautiful far-flung peninsula on the edge of Europe – a remote place alive with good music, good food, good craic.

If you enjoyed this blogpost, do catch up with our other Top Tens – 10 standout scapes, 10 houses with delicious stories, 10 tips for place marketing agencies, 10 inspired gardens, 10 captivating events, 10 places to meet and 10 intriguing attractions.

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