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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.
Exploring England is easy. In the countryside, the roads are excellent, well signposted and largely toll free. Distances between towns are short and driving is on the left hand side of the road, same as in New Zealand.
Day 1: London – Canterbury (97km)
Journey east to Canterbury and its famous Cathedral. Wander through the meandering alleyways and historic city walls. History abounds in this county - Leeds Castle is 1000 years old and sits romantically on an island. Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn’s childhood home is picture-perfect.
Day 2: Canterbury
Get sandy feet at ‘The Original Seaside’ Margate. Explore the fish market and art gallery at the colourful fishing village of Whitstable.
Day 3: Canterbury
Drive to one of Britain’s most iconic landmarks, The White Cliffs of Dover, then discover Elham in Kent Downs Area of Outstanding National Beauty.
Day 4: Canterbury – Rye – Hastings (72km)
Head along country roads through cute places like Hawkhurst, Cranbrook and explore Sissinghurst Castle Gardens and Tenterden. Winchelsea is an idyllic place of valleys and wooded hills. Hastings coast is littered with relics from the Norman invasion.
Day 5: Hastings – Eastbourne – Brighton (68km)
Eastbourne is a traditional seaside resort boasting unspoilt beaches, palm tree-lined promenades and is a gateway to the South Downs Way.
Day 6: Brighton – Chichester – Winchester (120km)
After pottering around Brighton make your way over to Winchester for a mix of legend, myth and heritage – think King Arthur and the Round Table, Winchester Cathedral dating back to 1070 and the grave of Jane Austen.
Customise this itinerary to travel at your own pace.
Head back to London or continue with the Cotswolds itinerary.
Highlights worth seeing along the way
Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway – Ride the small steam train through the countryside stopping in cute villages along the track.
Birling Gap – Part of the Seven Sisters dramatic chalk cliffs and a point of entry for delightful walks along the undulating coastline.
Battle – Site of the famous Battle of Hastings 1066 and built around the abbey. This thriving market town features Georgian and medieval cottages, shops, historic pubs and tearooms and is the centre of the 1066 Country Walk between Pevensey Castle and Rye.
Rye – Explore cobbled alleys lined with historic buildings in this relaxed little town, clustered around a hillside overlooking the meandering river.
Pevensey – Explore Pevensey Castle and its Mint House and the little often missed Tudor Court House.
South Downs Way – Walk or cycle part of the National Trail which weaves from Eastbourne to Winchester through picturesque countryside and villages. Alfriston on the banks of the Cuckmere River is a gorgeous stop for afternoon tea with stunning views of the downs.
Firle – Narrow streets of flint knapped cottages do not seem to have changed for centuries. There are lovely walks from the village to Charleston Farmhouse and up to Firle Beacon.
Brighton – A classic seaside pier, Regency architecture, a maze of narrow lanes filled with boutiques, Royal Pavillion, eateries and nightlife.
Our favourite places to stay:
• The Retro B & B, Canterbury
• Senlac Guesthouse, Hastings
• The Charm Brighton Boutique Hotel, Brighton
Choosing your Rental Car
Take into consideration the size of the vehicle you require. We strongly recommend a minimum 1.4 litre for two adults. If the vehicle is to be used for day touring from a central base and not for transporting your luggage, a smaller vehicle may be adequate. We suggest you book your car before leaving home as this will save money and ensure you get the car of your choice.