and natural heritage sites in Kent Sussex and Surrey
For the purposes of this guide, "Southeast England" is the areas of
England lying to the south and southeast of London. It includes
the outskirts of London south of the Thames, and
the counties of Kent, Sussex and Surrey.
castle, east Sussex
It does not include the whole of the statistical
area of "Southeast England". For other counties in this area -
Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, see Southern
For north of the thames, see East
Southeast of England.
Southeast of England is easily accesible from London and also from
the Continent of Europe. International Eurostar train services stop at
Ashford in Kent, and all the towns and cities in the southeast can be
reached by train from different London stations, notably Charing Cross,
Victoria and London Bridge.
The area is also served directly by car-ferry and
Channel Tunnel services from Continental ports, notably by rapid
services from Calais to Dover .
Most of the main roads in the southeast of
England radiate out from London: there is no main arterial route along
the south coast of England between Brighton and Folkestone, but the
minor roads in this part of England pass through many
attractive areas of countryside, villages and small towns.
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Ten of the best historic monuments
and sites in southeast England
Ratings out of 5 are relative to other similar attractions or monuments
|Name & location
||A UNESCO world heritage site, and one of
the finest mediaeval cathedrals in England.
|Hampton Court Palace
||A palace built for Cardinal
Wolsey, during the reign of King
Henry VIII. In the 17th century, it was extended in a bid to rival with
Versailles. Today it remains as one of the finest
Renaissance palaces in Europe. Easy access by train from
London Waterloo - 45 mins.
||One of the finest surviving examples of a
Norman fortress in
England. The castle has been home to the Dukes of Norfolk for over 800
years. It was extensively rebuilt in the late nineteenth century, but
the Norman keep. Beautiful gardens. Special events in summer.
station 1.5 miles. Trains from London Victoria 1h36. Website
Near Maidstone, Kent
||One of England's most beautiful castles,
built in the middle of a
lake. Once the home of queens, the castle was built in the thirteenth
century. It was continually embellished until the 20th century,
and has spectacular interiors and 500 acres of
|Rochester Cathedral and castle
||One of the best Norman cathedrals in
England. The twelfth-century
Romanesque west door has an ornamentally carved tympanum reminiscent of
churches in southwest France. The castle close by is one of the best
preserved 12th century castles in Europe.
access by train from London Victoria in 1h 20mins.
|Chatham historic dockyard
||Close to Rochester. A major historic
tourist attraction in the southeast, Chatham
historic dockyard tells the story of sailing ships. There are three
historic naval sailing ships, a still-working Victorian ropery, a dock
railway, and several other collections to visit. Train station 1 mile.
|Fishbourne Roman palace
||Remains of the largest Roman residence to
have been discovered
north of the Alps. This was a palace probably built for a local ruler
in roman occupied Britain. It contains some of the finest Roman mosaics
known. Roman museum, and reconstructed Roman gardens.
||Magnificent defensive stronghold guarding
the port of Dover for a
thousand years. The castle is a fine mediaeval fortress, extended and
strengthened in later centuries. Visitors today can explore the
underground tunnels used during the Second World War.
Sussex, East Grinstead
||The original Engish preserved steam
railway. II miles of
track from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park. The line is directly
connect to the national rail network at East Grinstead, which can be
reached by trains from London Victoria in 1 hour. Website
||Impressive 17th - 19th century stately
home, standing in 700 acres
of parkland. As well as its interiors, including interesting servants'
quarters and kitchens, as well as state rooms, the house is home to an
extensive art gallery. On show are numerous works by Turner, who was a
regular visitor to the house which he immortalized in many of his
The most interesting rural attractions and towns to visit
in the Southeast of England
|Name & location
|South Downs National Park
Eastbourne, Sussex, to Winchester
||Beachy Head and
the Seven SistersEngland's
newest national park, including
part of Britain's heritage coast; long expanse of chalk cliffs
overlooking the English Channel; an area of coastline protected by the
National Trust. Photo top of page.
|Royal Botanical Gardens
world heritage site. Britain's premier and oldest Botanical gardens,
with the world's largest collection of plants. The 300 acre site
includes the palm house, the largest Victorian glass structure. Easy access by London
Underground District line
Kent and East
||An area of
flat fenland between the Downs and
the sea, famous for is sheep and birdlife. Not to be missed
trip on the 14 km Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch light railway, a
narrow-gauge steam line with replica locomotives. Historic small towns
at Rye and Winchelsea.
|The North Downs
London - Kent and Surrey
popular parts of the North Downs are
the area round Box Hill in Surrey, near Dorking. This is the nearest
area of hill country to London. Britain's biggest vineyard is near
Dorking, and the chalk soil produces wines similar to those from
Champagne in France.
& West Humble station 56 mins from London Victoria Bike
hire facility beside this rural station
archetypal and most ancient English seaside Resort in England. It was
at Brighton that seaside tourism all began; in the late 18th century.
The town is today one of Britain's main seaside resorts, with its
famous pier and its ornate Indian-style Royal Pavillion, whose building
started in 1787.
Easy access by train from London Victoria or London Bridge in about 1hr
of West Sussex, Chichester is a small city with a fine mediaeval
cathedral, which has a stained glass window by Marc Chagall. The
gardens of the Bishop's palace can be visited. South of the city, the
Chichester Harbour area is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
remarkable for its birdlife and pretty small villages. It is very
popular for sailing. Fishbourne Roman Palace is nearby.
Train from London Victoria: 1hr 50
|Weald and Downland Museum
rural England. Over 50 traditional buildings from the local area have
rebuilt on this site, and many of them are furnished
as they were in the past. Website
town. In mediaeval times Rye was one of the two
"Antient towns" charged with the defence of England's south coast.
Today it is two miles from the sea, but remains a delightful small town
with a very picturesque historic centre. Nearby is the other "antient"
town, Winchelsea, also very attractive.
Greater London (formerly in Surrey)
||A royal park,
a national nature reserve and
the biggest park close to London. 1000 hectares of parkland, in which
over 600 deer roam in the wild. Ancient trees, and the Isabella
plantation, an exotic arboretum containing hundreds of azaleas and
staion 30 mins by train from London Waterloo
"classic" small English town
famous for its historic centre, notably the Pantiles, a Georgian
colonnaded walk now lined by chic shops, galleries and restaurants.
access by train from London Charing Cross in about 55 mins (or London
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