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The 11 most colourful places in the UK and Ireland

Colour yourself happy with a day trip or weekend getaway to one of these vibrant villages and multi-hued homes across the UK and Ireland

Written by
Stephanie Hartman
Devangi Sharma

Who doesn't love colours, especially when they're splashed on houses and beach huts. Popular for its rain and gloom, the UK can make you a little, well, miserable at times, but visiting colourful towns can help with dealing with that gloom. Luckily, the UK is a haven for candy-hued beach huts, gaudy pubs and pastel-palette villages. 

If you’re looking for a much needed change of scene, these eye-popping destinations are just the ticket. This is your sign to take a day trip or go on a much needed holiday in the UK to liven up your mood. Start planning your visit to one of these colour-filled spots across the UK and Ireland – even if your day trip does end in a downpour, there’s always a chance of a rainbow, right?

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Colourful places in the UK

1. Portmeirion Village, Gwynedd

This idyllic tourist village created by architect Clough Williams-Ellis was built between 1925-75, as a means to show that it was possible to develop a naturally beautiful location without spoiling it. The result is Portmeirion Village, an Italian-style, fairytale village in north Wales, peppered with confectionery-coloured buildings topped with domes and spires rising up from its cobbled streets. You’ll find two hotels, a handful of historic cottages, a spa, a sprinkling of shops, and subtropical gardens perfectly curated behind its gates.

2. Margate Location House, Kent

Set and interior designer Amy Exton has painstakingly crafted this kaleidoscopic crib in Margate, adding an extra splash of colour to an already vibrant town. From its coral living room, to neon-green kitchen popping with Memphis-inspired patterns, every inch of the house has been given a dose of Amy’s acid aesthetic. The pad is on Airbnb, so you can stay there and then spend your days out and about exploring Dreamland Margate – packed with rides, a rainbow slide and art installations, or browsing super-cute shop Mar Mar where you’ll be met with hand-painted pots and luscious plants to haul home.

Discover more of the best things to do in Kent


3. Lavenham, Suffolk

Many of this gorgeous Suffolk village's original Tudor buildings have been carefully painted in candy hues, giving it a chocolate box feel. With plenty of historic houses to admire (it's considered to be the country's best-preserved medieval village), a Guildhall that runs a full programme of events and woodland walking trails surrounding it, Lavenham is a perfect choice for a spirit-lifting day out. 

Brighton, East Sussex

Whitewashed walls don’t cut it in Brighton. This is a city bursting with brightly painted houses, beach huts, shops and shutters. Wiggly waves of colour are even spilling out onto the promenade thanks to local artist Lois O’Hara, whose vibrant Brighton Rainbow Crosswalk weaves its way from the boutiques nestled beneath the West Pier Arches down towards the beach. Continue your hunt for hues at The Prince Albert pub, whose façade has been glossed in a rainbow palette, or chow down on Mexican street food and pink lemonade slushies at La Choza. If you fancy jazzing up your own abode head for Blackout Shop, where you’ll find every surface packed with zingy textiles, kitsch gifts and kitchenalia.

Discover more of the best things to do in Brighton


5. Cobh, County Cork

This charming Irish port town is studded with colourful houses and steeped in history. The spire of its Victorian cathedral can be seen piercing through beautiful sunsets behind the rows of pink, green and orange dwellings, while the waterfront stretches out beyond. The harbour was the last port of call for the Titanic in 1912 and visitors can learn more about the fatal voyage and the town’s maritime history at the Cobh Museum housed within Scots Church.


6. Cliftonwood, Bristol

The Victorian frontages found in the Cliftonwood area of Bristol range from sky blue to peppermint and from peach to sunshine yellow. Who or what prompted the craze for the bonbon tones is anyone’s guess, but why ask questions when it looks that cute. Keep an eye out for sweet mosaics dotted around the neighbourhood, depicting hot air balloons (Bristol’s well known for its annual balloon festival) and the houses themselves, then make for the harbour to gaze up at the terraces in all their chromatic glory.

Discover more of the best thing to do in Bristol


7. Kelburn Castle, North Ayrshire

In 2007 when the Earl of Glasgow, Patrick Robin Archibald Boyle, was told he needed to remove a cement render that had been added to his castle in the ’50s, he did what any of us would have done and invited four Brazilian street artists to let loose on the side it. Dur! That’s right, an actual earl commissioned those giant murals spanning the fort. There have been several times since when the artwork looked as if it might be at risk, but for now the castle remains intact, with tourists flocking to Scotland to snap it on the daily.


8. Portree, Isle of Skye

Pink, blue, green and yellow houses flank the water’s edge at Portree, the largest town on Skye in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. From the harbour where fishing boats bob merrily, high cliffs and lush greenery sprawl upwards and outwards. The town is often used as a base from which to explore the rest of the islands’ wild and rugged landscape, and intriguing rock formations.

Discover more of the best things to do in Isle of Skye


9. The Farmhouse at Wilderness Reserve, Suffolk

Nestled within a 5,000 acre private estate in Suffolk, the beautiful crushed-pink exterior walls of The Farmhouse at Wilderness Reserve hint at the plush styling within. Up to 12 pals can call the house home, with six bedrooms, glistening rolltop baths, an enormous kitchen, and an equally giant aquamarine dining room to feast in.


10. A House for Essex, Essex

While the rest of the holiday homes on Living Architecture’s books are all muted tones and smooth concrete, Grayson Perry’s collaboration with FAT Architecture is a shrine to all things ornate. Designed with traditional pilgrimage chapels in mind, the gingerbread-esque pad, punctures the Essex countryside with its elaborate tile-clad exterior and moulded copper roof. The interior is dedicated to the fictional life of a character named Julie Cope and features mosaic floors, decorative ceramic pots and intricate tapestries celebrating her life. Sounds sweet and up your street? You’ll need more than breadcrumbs to get you there. The home has proved so popular, the only way you can currently bag a stay is to enter an online ballot.


11. Notting Hill, London

Chasing rainbows? The capital’s got your back. Featured in a rom-com starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, this place is no secret to anyone. Famous for its eye-catching colorful houses, it is home to some of the most noteworthy markets that attracts visitors all year round.Look up along Portobello Market to see them gleaming back at you, or head to nearby Lancaster Road or Denbigh Terrace where the pigments pack a real punch. 

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