An English village just like Sylvania!

Old Basing, Hampshire winner of the Sylvanian twin village in UK

Did you know that the Sylvanian Families fictitious village of Sylvania has a real life “twin village” in the UK? – Old Basing, Hampshire

In 2015, when Sylvanian Families celebrated the 30th anniversary of our well loved toy brand, the company launched a national search throughout the United Kingdom to find a village that would best depict Sylvania and would eventually become Sylvania’s rural twin!

Sylvanian Families Village map

There were 15 villages nominated as finalists. Fans were asked to nominate which English villages best depicted fictional Sylvania by sending in photos showing the beauty of the surrounding woodlands or countryside, photos of ‘Sylvanian’-style houses and shops; or short written anecdotes which demonstrate the caring, friendly nature of the local community. To be eligible all villages had to include a primary school, and at least one shop.


Sylvanian Families Twin town village

The Hatch, Old Basing

As Sylvanian Families fans well know, Sylvania is an enduring, idyllic fictitious village which transcends time, built around the concepts of nature, family units and caring for one another.

Cowslip Cottage and Peacock Cottage, Milking Pen Lane, Old Basing, Hampshire

Cowslip Cottage and Peacock Cottage, Milking Pen Lane, Old Basing, Hampshire (photograph by Dr Neil Clifton)

After a national search and thousands of votes by fans, Old Basing, near Basingstoke, a village with a population of just over 7000 people, was the winning village. It met the ‘Sylvanian criteria’ of being idyllic, surrounded by woodland, possessing a school and having a happy, caring community.

Sylvanian Families Beechwood Hall
Sylvanian Families Beechwood Hall

A Hall in Old Basing


This was a close competition. With one week to go before voting closed, Old Basing and another village just 11 miles away, Overton, were running head to head for the title. But Old Basing emerged triumphant in the end. The delighted community came together afterwards for an official twinning ceremony at the village infant school. The Sylvanian Families characters presented the parish council and head teacher with a special sign, after which they entertained the children with a live dance performance.

Sylvanian Families large characters Sylvanian twin village

And if you’re interested to see which villages were amongst the 15 nomimated “Sylvanian-like” village” then here is the shortlist:

Brimscombe, Gloucestershire

Staithes, Yorkshire

Langton Matravers, Dorset

Yatton, Bristol

Carleton in Craven, Yorkshire

Swanage, Dorset

Old Basing, Hampshire

Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria

Coggeshall, Essex

Masham, North Yorkshire

Shepperton, Surrey

Cottingham, Yorkshire

Tatsfield, Surrey

Overton, Hampshire

Kintbury, Berkshire

 Old Basing, Hampshire, UK

Aerial View of Old Basing


Do you know of any villages that remind you of Sylvania?

Excerpts of this article have been reproduced from the originally published article in 2015 with the express permission of Highlight PR UK


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