Days Out in South East England
Map of Region
South East England is known for its rolling countryside, which includes the North Downs and the Chiltern Hills as well as two national parks: the New Forest and the South Downs. The River Thames flows through the region and its basin is known as the Thames Valley. It is also the location for a number of internationally known places of interest, such as HMS Victory in Portsmouth, Cliveden in Buckinghamshire, Thorpe Park and RHS Wisley in Surrey, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, 11th-century Windsor Castle in Berkshire is a royal residence with an art-rich interior, Leeds Castle, the White Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, Brighton Pier and Hammerwood Park in East Sussex, and Wakehurst Place in West Sussex. The region has many universities; the University of Oxford is ranked among the best in the world.
South East England consists of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex. It is the third largest region of England, with an area of 19,096 km² (7,373 sq mi), and is also the most populous with a total population of over eight and a half million (2011). The region contains seven cities: Brighton and Hove, Canterbury, Chichester, Oxford, Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester, though other major settlements include Reading and Milton Keynes. Its proximity to London and connections to several national motorways have led to south east England becoming an economic hub, with the largest economy in the country outside the capital. It is the location of Gatwick Airport, the UK’s second-busiest airport, and its coastline along the English Channel provides numerous ferry crossings to mainland Europe.
South east England is host to various sporting events, including the annual Henley Royal Regatta, Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby, and sporting venues include Wentworth Golf Club and Brands Hatch. Some of the events of the 2012 Summer Olympics were held in the south east, including the rowing at Eton Dorney and part of the cycling road race in the Surrey Hills.
Visit South East England for royal castles and flowing countryside teeming with wildlife and unbroken rivers, rolling manor houses and exciting African safari parks. There are many things to do in South East England. Step back in time in medieval villages and quintessential coastal towns, explore history in armour filled museums and palatial architectural gems. Enjoy magical festivals, top sporting events, celebrity run restaurants and award winning theatrical performances.
The south east of England provides a gentle landscape of chalk downland ridges that stretch far to the west. Here you can drive through quaint villages of thatched cottages that nestle around lush village greens. Towering white cliffs form a spectacular backdrop along wide stretches of the southern coastline, the most stunning of which can be seen in Dover. Large areas of oak, ash and beech woods shelter herds of timid roe deer and wild ponies. The New Forest, one of England’s newest national parks, is a wildlife conservation area of outstanding natural beauty, ideal for walkers and cyclists. The South Downs rolling down to the cliffs at Beachy Head, the sparsely wooded heathland of the Ashdown Forest and the intricate landscapes of the Weald – the south east has some beautiful countryside and also many fine houses and outstanding gardens.
The dense population of the south-east of England may not make it the obvious choice for a holiday cottage destination, but that’s to under-estimate or overlook many of its hidden charms. The Isle of Wight may well be the most obvious holiday destination in the area and the short ferry crossing really does take you to a unique holiday destination.
Further east, the scenery is varied yet distinctive with the South Downs rolling down to the cliffs at Beachy Head, the sparsely wooded heathland of the Ashdown Forest and the intricate landscapes of the Weald. Closer to London are some gems which equally deserve a weekend away or longer holiday, including the majestic Thames Valley with its magnificent historic houses and beautiful varied countryside, offering some of the most beautiful scenery in Southern England.
Kent, meanwhile, deserves its title of the Garden of England and the National Trust protects some of the best stretches of countryside and many fine houses and outstanding gardens. Apart from houses such as Bateman’s, much-loved family home of Rudyard Kipling, the enchanting Bodiam Castle, Petworth House and Park with its sumptuous interiors and rolling parkland, Polesden Lacey on the North Downs and Chartwell, family home of Sir Winston Churchill, the Trust also owns several glorious gardens including Nymans Garden, Sheffield Park Garden and Sissinghurst Castle Garden.