What’s so special about English villages? It can’t be denied that there is a certain appeal about the quaint brick cottages, winding lanes, stone walls, gentle streams, footbridges and greenery of English villages. There is something unique about village life, perhaps stemming from the history that goes back centuries, sometimes as far as medieval times, that many parts of the world outside Europe just don’t have. Of course those countries have their own unique histories of natives, aborigines, etc, but villages…not so much. Perhaps that’s why they appeal to so many ‘new world’ countries (USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc) which share a language and heritage with England but lack village life. It helps that numerous writers and artists have immortalised the English countryside too, think of Thomas Hardy, William Wordsworth, J.M.W. Turner and John Constable.
Most English villages have certain things in common: they usually contain at least one pub, a church, a park/common/green/square, a groceries shop and a post office. These places tend to provide a feeling of community and many villages have a local sports team or some kind of association that brings people together, and usually has annual fetes, fairs or other events. The pub or church (depending on your sensibilities) seems to be the heart of village life. Cities are more multi-cultural and anonymous, but they lack that quintessential English character. That’s not to say that city-life is bad: it’s ever-evolving, fast-paced and fun, but it’s just difficult to experience the simpler existence of old England. The rural idyll also appeals to many people; the cottages with Tudor beams, immaculate village greens, ancient graveyards, fruit trees, winding rivers and endless fields.