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South East England

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South East England

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The South-East of England [1] is one of the most-visited regions of England and the United Kingdom, being situated around the English capital city of London and located closest to the Continent. Together with London, the South-East represents the main economic powerhouse of the country and is one of the most densely-populated of the English regions. The region holds much of interest to the traveller, from varied landscapes to historical towns and cities.


Map of South East England

The South East England region consists of the following counties (from top left):

West Sussex
East Sussex
Isle of Wight

Cities and towns

South-East England has a number of major towns and cities of interest to the traveller, the following are nine of particular interest:


  • Brighton (East Sussex) - Super trendy Brighton on the south coast boasts the best cultural events in the south outside of London.
  • Canterbury (Kent) - England's premier cathedral city
  • Chichester (West Sussex)
  • Oxford (Oxfordshire) - the university city
  • Portsmouth (Hampshire) - the Waterfront City, home to Nelson's HMS Victory, and the UK's newest icon, the Spinnaker Tower
  • Southampton (Hampshire) - Thriving student city with excellent nightlife and shopping


  • Dover (Kent) - gateway to england with castle and white cliffs
  • Guildford (Surrey)
  • High Wycombe (Buckinghamshire)
  • Hastings (East Sussex) - Historical seaside resort with cliffs and medieval old town
  • Milton Keynes (Milton Keynes)- A planned modern city with plenty to do
  • Windsor (Berkshire) - location of Windsor Castle and Eton College
  • Ashford (Kent) - Eurostar stop

Note that although geographically within this region, London is actually a region in its own right.

Other destinations

  • The Cotswolds - a range of rolling hills
  • The Chiltern Hills - another range of rolling hills
  • Waddesdon Manor - popular country manor in Buckinghamshire, an excellent example of neo-renaissance architecture in Britain
  • Hever Castle - childhood home of Anne Boleyn, and where Henry VIII spent his honeymoon(s)
  • Blenheim Palace - birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and a World Heritage site
  • The New Forest - home to wild ponies, and not particularly new (William the Conqueror designated it a royal forest over 900 years ago)
  • The Thames[2] - it flows through more than just London. It goes through Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire to be precise
  • The Downs Sweeping through Hampshire and Sussex (the South Downs) and Surrey, Sussex and Kent these majestic hills are popular with walkers, cyclists and people trying to Escape London


Get in

By plane

The South of England is well serviced by air by virtue of sharing London's international and domestic airports and also Southampton International Airport

By train

The Eurostar [3] runs from mainland Europe to Folkestone, Ashford and St. Pancras Station in London.
Serices to and from the rest of the UK are good; with trains from the North through Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire and from the West (and Wales) to Berkshire and the South Coast.
London is never too far way

By boat

The South's major passenger ports are Dover (Boulogne and Calais), Portsmouth (Cherbourg, Caen, Le Havre, St. Malo and Santander), Southampton (services to the Isle of Wight) and Newhaven (Dieppe).

Get around

By taxi

There are taxi firms everywhere (many are by booking only - find the phone number of the local company and phone ahead).

By bus

Every town has a bus service, although these are - confusingly - privatised and you will need to make sure you contact the right company for information. This does mean that when you get away from the bigger towns bus services very often tend to be limited or non existent.

  • Hampshire (Stagecoach) [4]
  • Isle of Wight (Southern Vectis) [5]
  • East and West Sussex (Stagecoach) [6]
  • Surrey, Kent and Sussex (Arriva) [7]
  • Surrey and East Sussex (Metrobus) [8]
  • East Kent (Stagecoach) [9]
  • Southampton area (Solent Blue Line) [10]
  • Southampton area (First) [11]
  • Brighton and Hove (Brighton & Hove) [12]
  • Hastings and Bexhill (Stagecoach) [13]
  • Eastbourne and Hailsham (Eastbourne) [14]

By car

The South-East has a very dense and usually easy-to-navigate road network. The M2, M3, M4, M20 and M23 motorways all connect the region radiating around London via the M25 peripheral road. Be aware that the M25 is nearly always busy, and there is congestion, sometimes severe, during the rush hours virtually every day.

As well as the M25, the M20 (the main motorway link between Dover and London) is occasionally clogged up by lorries, often due to French ferry workers going on strike. (Operation Stack is the name to listen out for on the radio if travelling). Other motorways that can get very congested at rush-hour include the M3 (connecting Southampton to London) and the M27 around Southampton and connecting the city with Portsmouth.

By train

England has one of the highest densities of railway lines per square mile in the world, so rail travel is a very viable option...but much of it dates back to the early 20th century and as such there are frequent train delays and cancellations due to engineering works. These costs are passed on to the customer - be prepared for the most expensive tickets in Europe (per mile/km).

Be aware that the train lines in the South and South East are some of the busiest and most overcrowded in Britain, especially during the week day rush hours (7:00 to 9:00 and then 16:30 to 18:30).



Stay safe

Get out

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