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Destination Guide to the South East of England

Rubbing shoulders with Europe, England’s South East has played a central role in the nation’s rich history making it the ideal destination for a cultural English vacation.

The south east of England shows off this great nation at its most traditional; mellow, pastoral landscapes are dotted with royal palaces, ancient castles and quintessential English townships. The region stretches from London and the city’s bordering “home counties” through the rolling hills of the Thames valley to the country’s most iconic coastline on the English Channel culminating at Dover’s famous white cliffs. Inland the region’s landscapes alternate from the natural untamed beauty of the national parks of the South Downs in West Sussex and the New Forest in Hampshire to some of England’s most famous cultivated gardens such as those at Sissinghurst in Kent and Wakehurst in West Sussex.Due to its geographical setting, situated between the epicentre of London and the English Channel, the South East has always been at the heart of England’s history whether bearing witness to invasions from continental Europe or as the stomping ground of monarchs, politicians and renowned English figures. Today the region is bustling with affluent towns spilling out from London home to rich commuters whilst the landscapes bear hallmarks of even wealthier historic inhabitants. Kent is home to two of England’s most iconic and glorious royal palaces at Hever Castle and Leeds Castle both with connections to the Tudor Dynasty and most notably Henry VIII and his wives. Nearby you’ll find one of many opulent manor at Churchill’s family home at Chartwell whilst further south you’ll find the site of England’s most infamous Battle at Hastings and Battle Abbey. A highlight not to be missed is the glorious Highclere Castle, peacefully set in the Hampshire countryside, this Victorian castle is better known as television’s Downton Abbey.

There are a wealth of historic towns and cities in the region. English cathedral city’s can be found at their most quintessential in Winchester, with connections to Jane Austen, and the Ecclesiastical capital of England itself in Canterbury, setting of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The coastal towns here, however, contrast vividly from the fortified port and iconic white cliffs of Dover to the gloriously bohemian resort town of Brighton home of the opulent Royal Pavillion and the home of English maritime history at Potsmouth. Possibly the jewel in the crown however is the stunning town of Windsor, home to England’s most famous Royal Residence at Windsor Castle.

Home to cathedral cities, coastal towns and some of England’s most famous Castles, the unique history of the south east should be experienced on any tour of England.

Relevant Tours

  Improved Itinerary  
Tours of England - Hampton Court

A Royal Tour of Britain - Sweeping through a land rich in history and tradition, this small group journey takes in bustling cities and picturesque villages, rolling green hills and rugged coastlines. As the name suggests this tour is specifically designed to visit many Royal sites and connections across the UK including opulent palaces, Royal residences and grandiose castles. From the gates of Balmoral to Buckingham Palace explore the historic streets of Edinburgh to the excitement of London, one breath-taking step at a time.

Castle Tours - Blenheim Palace

A Britain Castle Tour - Indulge in the history and heritage of England, Scotland and Wales by day and see its character reflected in your unique and distinguished accommodation each night on this deluxe tour of Britain. With your overnight accommodation in quality castle or manor house hotels, your tour will take you through the elegant cities of York, Bath, Oxford and Edinburgh as well as the natural beauty of the Cotswolds, the Yorkshire Moors, the Scottish Lowlands and the mountains of Snowdonia.

Gardens Tours England

An English Gardens Tour - This small-group journey allows you to enjoy the undoubted highlight of the British gardening year, the Chelsea Flower Show, exhibiting award-winning gardens and resplendent flower displays. With this event as its centrepiece, this tour explores the charming county of Kent, known as the "Garden of England" and celebrates some of the most iconic, creative and inspirational historic houses and gardens in England.

Tours of England - Liverpool

Enjoy two countries for the price of one as you use the British rail network to explore England and Wales. Travelling in comfort enjoy the city highlights including Cardiff, London and York as well as scenic train rides through the enigmatic countryside of North Wales, the Cotwsolds and the Yorkshire dales.

Scotland Tours - Edinburgh at night

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the contrasting cityscapes of the British capitals in Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.  Travelling by rail you can maximize your vacation time by gliding between these cultural centres in super-quick time.

Tours of London - Tower Bridge

With London as your base and your Britrail London Plus Pass in your back pocket you're equipped not only to explore the wonders of England's capital but also to travel through the tranquil countryside to a host of surrounding heritage towns and cities such as Bath, Stratford upon Avon, Canterbury and Cambridge.

Tours of London - Tower Bridge

London is a city like no other!  Enjoy three days exploring this magnificent metropolis and some of its most famous sites, recognizable the world over.  From a stroll along the banks of the Thames to Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the London Eye, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace. The independent Essential London package offers the perfect add-on for any self-drive or rail tour of England or Britain.

  Improved Itinerary  
Tour the North of England - Durham

A Britain Small Group Tour - Travel from Edinburgh to London through England's enchanting Eastern regions where the Celts, Romans, Angles and Vikings all left their marks. On this Eastern England small group tour we'll discover rich and contrasting history and culture as we explore the cathedral cities of Durham and York, drive through the stunning and remote landscapes of the Yorkshire Moors and the Peak District and wind our way through the colleges and cobbled streets of Cambridge. On route we'll encounter hidden villages, stately homes and Royal Palaces.

  Improved Itinerary  
England Tours - Hever Castle

An England Small Group Tour - Explore quintessential England on this six-day journey through the beautiful counties of the South East. Discover a wealth of historic and cultural attractions from Canterbury Cathedral and Dover’s White Cliffs to harbour town Whitstable, the “pearl of Kent”.   On route sample award-winning English beers, wander some of England's finest gardens and explore grandiose medieval castles and Royal Palaces.

Tour of York England

Utilize the extensive English rail network to explore the corners of the English nation.  From the Salisbury Plain and West Country coasts , Lake District and Cotswolds to the charming heritage cities of Bath, York, Stratford upon Avon and Chester.  This is the ultimate rail tour of England.

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