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A Medieval timbered building is one of my favourite styles of architecture to photograph as there’s so much character and detail to study in an image. Apart from the distinct black and white paint, not one timbered building is the same and each have their own stories to tell. Here are some of the best black and white towns and villages I’ve enjoyed visiting in England and sharing on my Instagram @explorewithed.

Weobley black and white village in Herefordshire

Weobley, Herefordshire

As you look down Weobley’s Broad Street your view ends at a turn in the road where several black and white buildings meet, the one on the corner with white painted bay windows and an overhanging timber frame is Lavender Blue with Annie Mac’s Tea Room, and directly opposite is Lal Bagh, an Indian Restaurant.
Behind these timbered buildings is the tall spire of Weobley’s 13th century stone church. If you’re able to photograph this scene without the cars and tarmac road then your imagination needs little work to take you back many decades.

To find other photo-worthy places in Weobley, embark on the local heritage trail by reading signposts dotted around the village. The signposts offer insight to the local history, including stories about the nearby buildings and the people, along with directions to the next point of interest for you and your cameras lens.

How to get to Weobley

There is a car park in Weobley just off Bell Square (HR4 8SE) which is only a short walk away from Broad Street, or alternatively you can travel to Weobley by bus from Hereford which is a well connected city by train with services to London, Cardiff and Birmingham.

Rye, East Sussex

I’ve seen Mermaid Street in Rye on Instagram several times and knew I had to visit there one day with my camera. I’m not surprised this view ended up being one of my most popular posts on Instagram as it’s such a pretty scene to capture. The cobbled street leads down to a river, flanked either side by a mix of characterful black and white properties and brick houses, including The Mermaid Inn (re-built in 1420) and houses with quirky names like ‘The House Opposite’ and ‘The House with Two Front Doors’.

Mermaid Street in Rye

Not quite as famous as Rye’s Mermaid Street is the nearby Church Square, I didn’t really know about this area before visiting so I was delighted to walk along the cobbles to find there were more Medieval black and white buildings here than on Mermaid Street.

How to get to Rye by train from London

One of the easiest ways to get to Rye from London in just over an hour is on a high speed train from St. Pancras International Station and changing at Ashford International for the local train service to Rye. If you’d prefer to drive to Rye there are numerous car parks in the town including Rye Station car park, TN31 7AW.

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Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

William Shakespeare’s home town is scattered with some spectacular black and white streets and buildings, and my favourite place to photograph is Church Street where Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall is located. Next to the Schoolroom is a whole row of short black and white houses with tall red brick chimney breasts and old fashioned lamp posts, what’s not to love?

Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon

There’s many more impressive properties to photograph or admire in Stratford-upon-Avon, including the Mercure Hotel on Chapel Street, and the amazing patterned facade on the High Street that houses a baguette bar and ale house.

You don’t have to go far within Stratford-upon-Avon’s town centre to find more beautiful timbered buildings to enjoy, even High Street staples like WHSmith and Costa have blended themselves into these period properties.

How to get to Stratford-upon-Avon

Visiting Stratford-upon-Avon by train from London is possible in about 2 hours by catching a train towards Birmingham and changing at Dorridge for the local rail service to Stratford-upon-Avon. I often drive to Stratford as there’s plenty of places to see along the way, like the chocolate box villages in The Cotswolds which is only a few miles south of the town.

Ledbury, Herefordshire

Ledbury Market House was built in the early 17th century on wooden stilts and took around 50 years to complete with financial issues and possible design changes. It’s an incredibly well preserved structure for its time and has made Ledbury one of the most quintessential market towns to visit in England.

Ledbury’s Church Street is a narrow cobbled stone passage containing numerous timbered buildings and The Prince of Wales Free House. If you’re able to visit in the morning or evening you’ll have the best chance of photographing this street while it’s empty, a scene that instantly takes you back centuries, but also I feel has a magical Harry Potter vibe to it!

How to get to Ledbury by train

Ledbury does have a train station with direct services to and from Birmingham in just over an hour so if you’d like to visit by rail (from the north or London) then change at Birmingham New Street for Hereford. From Wales there’s a regular route to Manchester with a stop at Hereford where you can change trains for Ledbury.

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Ludlow, Shropshire

I think Ludlow is one of the best towns in England to immerse yourself in history as there’s over 400 listed properties, all surrounding a magnificent Medieval Castle. One of the best times to visit is during their authentic Christmas Fayre as there’s so many events and things to see and photograph in the town.

The Feathers Hotel in Ludlow

The Feathers Hotel was Grade 1 listed in 1965 and is one of the most striking black and white buildings in Ludlow with its busy geometric pattern and overhanging floors.

How to get to Ludlow by train

There’s a no-change train service from Wales to Ludlow on the Holyhead route which takes around an hour and a half from Cardiff. If you’d like to visit from London the train journey from Paddington is around 3 hours and requires a change at Newport. From the north you can visit by rail from Manchester on the service towards Carmarthen which takes just under 2 hours.

Pembridge, Herefordshire

Pembridge is situated on a busy A-road that crosses the county into Powys and Wales’ Elan Valley via Rhayader, and the High Street (together with East and West Street) has some of the best kept timbered houses in England, adorned with climbing plants and flower pots that would make the prettiest picture postcards.

One of the most imposing black and white buildings in Pembridge is the 17th century pub called The New Inn which I captured from several angles, my favourite (road markings aside) includes the old market hall, now used to shelter outdoor diners.

The history of Pembridge and its buildings have been woven together expertly in a series of tapestries on display inside St. Mary’s Church. The tapestries are a great source of inspiration and afterwards you may find yourself retracing your steps with a new found appreciation, or seeking out another local gem you initially missed to photograph.

Pembridge, along with Weobley, is part of Herefordshire’s Black & White Villages Trail, a cluster of settlements near the border of mid Wales that are abundant with timbered buildings painted in this classic style.

You may also like: Visiting Bibury, the quintessential Cotswold village

How to get to Pembridge

Driving to Pembridge will probably be the most convenient option as it’s in quite a rural area and you’ll probably want to stop in numerous places like Weobley. If driving isn’t an option then take the train to Leominster (it’s a regular stop between Manchester and Cardiff) and hop on the local bus service which takes around half an hour.
Leominster also deserves a mention on this list as there’s many historic black and white buildings to photograph here too, like the 17th century Grange Court.

The New Inn Haunted Pub in Pembridge

Shrewsbury, Shropshire

If you’re looking to find old period properties in a town, look for the Church spire, it’s true for many places in England and Shrewsbury is no exception as in the shadow of Saint Alkmund’s Church are numerous black and white properties, most notably Abbott’s House (circa 1450) and the fantastic wooden facades along Fish Street and Wyle Cop.

How to get to Shrewsbury by train

Shrewsbury town is easy to get to on the train as there’s direct services to Manchester, Cardiff and Birmingham where you can change for London.

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