Cities Journal

Top 15 Small Cities In The UK

Sherborne, Dorset
Photo credit: heatheronhertravels / Flickr

Looking to explore the best that the UK has to offer? Sometimes smaller can be better and the United Kingdom is a living proof of this when it comes to the lovely small cities and townships scattered throughout the land.

These small cities may not show up in mainstream tourist brochures but they have a lot to offer when it comes to natural beauty, culture, historical value and personal appeal. These Top 15 Small Cities in the UK are just the tip of the iceberg in getting to know what the United Kingdom is truly all about.

1. Sherborne, Dorset

Sherborne combines aesthetic beauty with historical value to woo visitors to the area. Located in the northwest sector of Dorset, England, along the River Yeo, this picturesque market town is home to about 9,500 residents; according to the UK Office for National Statistics, almost 29% are elderly persons 65 years or older. The town’s medieval historical sites include Sherborne Abbey, a manor house and two castles.

Sherborne’s history dates back to the Saxon era when it was founded as “scirburne” meaning “clear stream” and later chosen as the capital city of Wessex, one of Saxon’s seven kingdoms. Between 1075 and 1645, some of the city’s main buildings were destroyed in scuffles between various factions. Sherborne Castle, however, a favorite historical landmark built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594, survives to this day.

Sherborne’s official website describes the city as being encompassed about by exceptional architecture and exquisite gardens, which are managed by the UK’s National Trust. To the west of the city lies Tintinhull whose azalea flora and kitchen gardens comprise some of the most beautiful landscaping in England.

The Renaissance mansion of Montacute House is second to none with its Elizabethan and Tudor paintings. The house itself is an architectural paradise featuring grand staterooms, carved hallways and stunning stained glass.

The ancient Cary Manor lies to the northwest and is comprised of a medieval chapel, Tudor hall and a well cherished arts and crafts garden. The Manor was once home to the famous herbalist Henry Lyte and visitors can enjoy many of the herbs Lyte cultivated in the region to this day.

The estate garden of Stourhead lies 14 miles northeast of the city and features a beautiful lake, exotic trees and a majestic mansion which houses the Regency Library. By climbing King Alfred’s Tower, you can enjoy a spectacular view of three local counties.

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