South East

Places to visit in South East England.  South East England is the most densely populated, and most prosperous, region in Britain outside London.  It stretches from Kent in the east through East and West Sussex to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight along the coast and also includes Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.  There are two national parks, the South Downs and the New Forest, pretty villages and historic cities like Canterbury and Oxford.  Castles, stately homes and gardens are almost everywhere – Windsor Castle, Blenheim Palace and Wisley, for example – and theme parks like Legoland. Maritime Heritage can be found at the revived naval docks of Portsmouth and Chatham.  The weather is often good too.  The drawback to the south east is that it is busy – and can be expensive.

A visit to Scotney Castle

There’s a ruined castle in the valley bottom, beyond the grand, Victorian, house.  A round, machiolated, tower peeks through multi-coloured shrubs and trees.  It draws the eye through the garden, overwhelming the desire to linger amongst the flowers.  Closer in, down the hill, and the heady scent from rhododendrons and azaleas is almost overpowering.  The […]

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Weald and Downland

Weald & Downland Museum, West Sussex, UK

Builders in the past were very selfish people.  They put their buildings up without considering for one moment that, one day, their structures might inconveniently stand in the way of a new road, town centre development or shopping centre. Fast forward to an intriguing museum on the South Downs in West Sussex, near the village

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St Hubert’s, Idsworth

St Hubert's, Idsworth, Bit About Britain

We came upon St Hubert’s, my good friend and I, very late one night and many years’ ago.  We were young, and had been indulging that well-known youthful pastime, ‘Visiting Old Places After Dark To See If You Get Scared’.  As we walked up the hill through the still Hampshire night toward the church, it

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Portchester Castle

Portchester's Roman walls

People are walking their dogs around the ancient walls of Portchester Castle.  A cricket match is taking place on the green.  Some scruffy kids run up and down the ditch outside, whooping.  Anglers drape their lines optimistically into Portsmouth Harbour and gaze at passing ships with the old Royal Navy dockyard beyond.  It’s a peaceful

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Rose Garden & the Cockleshell Heroes

Rose Garden, Southsea, Portsmouth

Once upon a time, long, long ago, my parents took me to the Rex Cinema for a birthday treat.  It was a double bill of Reach for the Sky, the wartime story of RAF fighter pilot Douglas Bader, and The Cockleshell Heroes.  Having been brought up on feats of derring-do, it felt like being a

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Britain’s National Parks

Lake District National Park

We all know what a national park is.  Although definitions vary, they are usually rural areas of natural (or naturalised) beauty designated as ‘special’ in some way by their national governments.  Normally, the environment within a national park, including its flora and fauna, are protected and there are particular rules about what you can, and

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1066 – so what?

Battlefield, Hastings, 1066

Every action has a reaction, but there are some events that so obviously and profoundly shape the future.  One of these was the Battle of Hastings on 14th October 1066*, when heroic Harold, King of England, got beat by wicked William, Duke of Normandy.  Of course, nothing’s that simple – but one thing is for

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A bit about South East England

Sissinghurst, oast houses

Including the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex. The South East is the most heavily populated region in England.  It has more businesses, including international HQs, than anywhere else in the UK and is the most prosperous and cosmopolitan region outside London.  It owes

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Kipling’s House

Bateman's, Rudyard Kipling's House in Sussex, England

We travelled to Bateman’s, Rudyard Kipling’s Sussex home for 34 years, through the impossibly pretty village of Burwash, all whitewash and weatherboard.  You reach the house down what Kipling described as “an enlarged rabbit-hole of a lane” to arrive in what is now a car park.  I wondered how it had all looked when the

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