Quiet and unspoilt village so beautiful it rivals the Cotswolds - but without the crowds

Broad Chalke
-Credit: (Image: (Image: Ronald Searle/Wikimedia Commons))


Overtourism is a global concern, with popular UK destinations such as Cornwall, Devon and the Cotswolds often being overrun by holidaymakers.

These locations are undoubtedly attractive due to their breathtaking landscapes and distinctive charm. However, their popularity can also be a disadvantage, leading to noisy crowds and relentless traffic congestion that can detract from their appeal.

This might prompt you to seek out a less frequented getaway. One such hidden gem is the serene village of Broad Chalke in Wiltshire, which remains largely unnoticed by tourists.

Tucked away in the heart of Cranborne Chase, a National Landscape that stretches across Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire, Broad Chalke offers a tranquil escape from its more renowned counterparts.

Cranborne Chase spans an impressive 308 square miles. Formerly recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (now known as a National Landscape), it holds "rich archaeological and historical significance", reports the Express.

Cranbornechase.org.uk explains: "Cranborne Chase offers areas of rare chalk grasslands, scientifically important ancient woodlands, and chalk escarpments."

A recent travel article by The Telegraph labelled it as the "Cotswolds without the crowds". The newspaper described it as: "An expanse of rolling hills, handsome villages and stately homes minus the coach tours and hip hotels charging north of £500 for a standard double. On the roads, kamikaze pheasants seem to outnumber cars, parking places are easy to find and seldom is a fee demanded."

Nestled within these quiet and serene chalk downs, one can often hear nothing but the chirping of birds. This pristine site, largely undisturbed by light pollution, has been recognised for its natural beauty with International Dark Sky Status since 2019.

At the heart of Cranborne Chase lies the charming hamlet of Broad Chalke. With quaint thatched cottages and a peaceful stream dividing the village, it looks like something pulled straight from an idyllic English postcard.

However, as reported by The Telegraph, this almost perfect getaway remains largely under-radar, remaining a local haunt for most weeks of the year. It comes alive during its annual history festival towards June's end, featuring Spitfire flybys, historical reenactments, and intellectual discussions, attracting crowds from beyond the village boundaries.

In contrast to these bursts of excitement, tranquillity is the prevailing atmosphere in this retreat location. Adding another notch to its belt, the Sunday Times declared this village, situated a mere nine miles from Salisbury, as one of the top places to reside in the country in 2023.

Moreover, Broad Chalke holds a tradition spanning over a century of growing watercress. Lush spring water descends from the proximate hills, providing optimal conditions for cultivation. Finally, for those passionate about outdoor excursions and hikes, the expansive trails coursing through the National Landscape will not disappoint.