The best places to visit in the South East

Sunday, 26th September 2021, 12:00 pm

Explore the South East

The South East is known as the garden of England, and it is also recognisable for its gentle rolling countryside.

You’ll find two national parks; the New Forest and the South Downs and rich cultural attractions, from Windsor Castle in Berkshire to Canterbury Cathedral in Kent. And, of course, London and its multitude of attractions is close at hand.

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Immerse yourself in culture at London's museums

Marvel at the city’s many iconic buildings and palaces, engage yourself in culture at one of the 170 museums and relax amid the natural beauty of the Royal Parks.

Among the attractions are, of course, iconic London landmarks like Big Ben, London Bridge, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.

Many famous films have used the city as a backdrop, so you could follow in the footsteps of James Bond or Harry Potter and then tuck into some innovative fare from across the globe.

Try seafood and taste world-famous oysters at Whitstable

Just over an hour away on the north Kent coast is Whitstable, which is famous for its sensational oysters.

In fact, it’s a great place for seafood in general and you can also explore its network of alleys, stroll down to the harbour and enjoy its pebble beaches.

Visit the Canterbury Cathedral

The incredible Canterbury Cathedral, which houses the famous shrine of medieval archbishop Thomas Becket, is just a few miles away.

Canterbury Cathedral (photo: Chris Ison WPA Pool/Getty Images)

St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church are also spectacular historical sites, and together with the cathedral form a UNESCO heritage site.

Relax and unwind by Brighton beach

Along the coast in Sussex is Brighton, which is bursting with attractions including an outlandish Royal Palace, interesting museums, a beautiful beach, Brighton University, superb shopping and late-night pubs and clubs.

Stretching out into the sea is the iconic, neon-lit Brighton Pier. Expect amusements, rides and invigorating ocean views.

Explore rich cultural heritage at The Pavillion

In the heart of the city, you’ll find an extravagant pleasure palace fit for a king. Brighton Pavilion was built for King George IV, who had architect John Nash reimagine it into the domed Indian style palace you can see today.

Brighton’s colourful network of shopping streets known as The Lanes are awash with vintage gear, antiques and quaint cafes.

Brighton is also a great base for exploring the South Downs National Park, which is home to the dramatic Seven Sisters cliffs and some of southern England’s most charming villages.

Tour the famous Gurkha Museum in Winchester

Once England’s capital, Winchester is a stunning medieval city, well known for its connections to King Arthur.

One of the smallest cities in the country, Winchester is a delight to explore on foot.

Look out for the fascinating Gurkha Museum, which tells the moving stories of the Gurkha soldiers who have served on behalf of the British monarch for 200 years.

As it is situated at the western end of the South Downs National Park – familiar for its iconic chalk cliffs – it also acts as a gateway for adventure holidays.

Find a captivating view at the Spinnaker Tower in Windsor

And don’t forget a trip to Windsor with all its history and superb park.

Back on the coast, Portsmouth’s naval heritage and maritime links make it a fabulous destination for days out.

At the heart of the city is Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, which is home to Lord Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory and Queen Victoria’s battleship, HMS Warrior 1860.

Other attractions in the city include the Mary Rose Museum, home to King Henry VIII’s ill fated flagship, and the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

For spectacular views of the city, you can ascend the 560ft high Emirates Spinnaker Tower.

Visit the Osborne House in the Isle of Wright

Four miles away, in the English Channel, is the Isle of Wight.

Queen Victoria was so taken with the island that she built a holiday home here, Osborne House.

Easily accessible by ferry from Southampton and Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight rewards the adventurous with a unique slice of England – more than half of its landscape is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There’s a slower pace of life here and exploring the country lanes, sandy beaches and tearooms at leisure is a real treat.

Life is equally leisurely in Southwold, where colourful beach huts sit ever prettily on its glorious sandy beaches.

It’s also got great pubs and restaurants and even a brewery.

This tranquil town in Suffolk is perfect if you like a calmer pace of life.