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Explore the South East and experience quintessential England. Head into Kent for impressive castles and gardens, drive past sandy coastlines and towering cliffs to the pebble beaches of Brighton. Sussex and Hampshire delight with a mix of preserved historic villages and unspoilt countryside.
Covering most of the west of Sussex, discover rolling hills, market towns, traditional country pubs, ancient woodlands, all just an hour from London. Get out of the car and either cycle, walk or horse-ride through the countryside, shop for fresh produce at farmers markets and savour a local beer or wine. There are great bus and train links from London to The South Downs.
Dominated by the sea and the battle in 1066, the coast and countryside is littered with relics and ruins from the Norman Invasion. William the Conqueror’s first English castle still stands to explore, the steepest funicular is here and the meandering alleyways of the Old Town encourage a couple of days discovery, as do the sites nearby – Rye, Battle, Pevensey Bay.
The ancient capital of the Kingdom of England and fascinating mix of legend, myth, history and heritage. The city is dominated by the spire of Winchester Cathedral dating back to 1070. A 13th century version of the King’s Round Table can be found in Winchester Castle, and Winchester’s Military Museums.
This lively location offers something for everyone, with elegant Regency architecture, museums, galleries, great boutique shopping, bars and restaurants and legendary nightlife. The Royal Pavilion is the seaside fantasy palace of King George IV, Brighton Pier complete with Helter Skelter and candyfloss is a fun fair and the British Airways i360 is the world’s tallest moving observation tower.
Best preserved historic castle, Leeds Castle, dates to 1119 and is set in 500 acres of lush parkland, enjoy falconry displays, a maze and an underground grotto. The towering Canterbury Cathedral is a World Heritage site and houses a Romanesque Crypt dating back to the 11th century and beautiful medieval stained-glass windows. Magnificent Rochester Castle is built on the highest part of Rochester’s Roman city wall and has breath-taking views from the top of one of the tallest keeps in the country.
Enjoy the many gardens in this area, tranquil days out wandering along woodland paths, smelling the roses and picnicking beside lakes. Hever Castle and Gardens set in 30 acres of landscaped gardens with Italian sculptures, a lake and 4000 roses, hosts jousting tournaments and lake boat rides. Pashley Manor Gardens has delightful rose and historic walled gardens and a kitchen garden, savour the homemade, local food in the café.
300 miles of beautiful coastline and home to many of the best beaches in the UK. Brighton’s seaside pier and pebble beach make for a classic English seaside experience, soak up the atmosphere in a café on the promenade. The dramatic White Cliffs of Dover are a sight to see glistening and legendary. Look out for Blue Flag beaches, these are safe, clean, award-winning spots. Seven miles of golden sand in Bournemouth means tons of water-sports and coastal walks.
Explore the cobbled alleys in Rye, lined with historic buildings and clustered around a hillside overlooking the river. Brighton is a maze of narrow 17th century lanes filled with boutique shops, eateries and lively nightlife.
Here's a taste of some of our favourite hotels and lodges in South East England.
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