There is some seriously beautiful countryside packed into England’s South East.
At the Northern border lies Oxford’s dreaming spires. Backdrop for a number of films, producers have been drawn to the city’s historic architecture for years - TV addicts prepare for déjà vu. Visitors can take guided tours focussing on literature, film and culture or step into the surrounding Oxfordshire Cotswolds with its breathtaking natural scenery.
Bordered by The Chiltern Hills and the River Thames at the south, Buckinghamshire boasts a number of stately homes including Cliveden House and Gardens which proudly overlook the River Thames. Within reach of Luton airport, Bucks is close to 13 National Trust properties and Whipsnade zoo, all of which can be accessed by train or car.
Further south lies Berkshire - famous for its Royal parks and silly hats at Ascot Races Ladies day. Within easy reach of Heathrow airport, the county has a regal air, thanks to the queen’s summer residency at Windsor Castle. Royalists can stay at the many hotels around the grounds of the castle and practice their waves.
Next up is Hampshire’s New Forest, complete with wild horses, cattle and deer thanks to a National Trust initiative. Boasting beautiful historic houses and gardens, the Test Valley provides a stunning location for countryside walks and picnics as does The North Wessex Downs. Just a couple of hours from London Waterloo, the city will fall away.
At the most Eastern point, Kent, or the ‘Garden of England’ claims some far-reaching landscapes and the medieval city of Canterbury – home to Chaucer’s Tales and the famous Cathedral. A train ride from London Bridge station, wooded valleys offer a great place to picnic and 12 blue flag beaches offer water sports.
Wine lovers should head to Surrey. Only 16 miles away from London, it is home to vineyards, picturesque towns, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures – two huge theme parks. Further South, Chichester in West Sussex provides a chic city break and is bordered by the Whitterings superb beaches and the romantic Arundel castle.
East Sussex is home to Brighton – often touted as the most vibrant and fun-loving city in Europe. Perched on the southern coast, the city does not sleep and anything goes. Great shopping in the Lanes, a visit to the traditional English pier and pavilion, donuts and ice-cream on the beach and a jolly good night out make this an ideal weekend break.
A ferry ride from Portsmouth is the Isle of Wight. Flower-strewn, lush and green, visitors can explore the island’s pirate history and literary heritage, stroll along its rugged beaches or tuck into some fresh seafood.
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