Switzerland in Derbyshire, Daleks in Northumberland and British eccentricity everywhere … our tipsters tell ripping yarns on unassuming villages all over Britain
Ilam, Staffordshire, is a surprise. Although there has been a settlement here since Saxon times, the current buildings are all in the style of a Swiss village. It was built in the early 1800s by a wealthy local landowner, Jesse Watts-Russell, purely because the surrounding Peak District area reminded him of Switzerland. Unlike some wealthy landowners, he seems to have been something of a philanthropist – he built and funded a school before education was compulsory.