400 miles of stunning coastline

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No visit to South East England is complete without spending some time in, by, or on its 400 miles of stunning coastline.  From the distinctive white chalk cliffs that litter the coastline in the east, and the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic coast in the west, England's south coast has a host of unique, distinctive, and dramatic places to experience and add to your 2021 post lockdown list.   

Best Places to visit on England' s South Coast

Take a look below and discover some of the South Coast's beauty spots, where you enjoy stunning natural beauty, copious amounts of fresh air, breathtaking views, wildlife, walks and time away from it all.  Mixed in with some of the iconic man made treasures that shouldn't be missed on your next visit to the South East England.

Best Places to visit on the Kent Coast

South East England’s coastline is recognised around the world by its distinctive white chalk cliffs that greet you on arrival at Dover. The cliffs, on both sides of the town of Dover in Kent, stretch for eight miles and offer stunning views of the English Channel.  

Deal was once a major port and is steeped in history.  A former smuggling haunt, the seafront now overlooks a pebble beach that offers breathtaking views of the Channel. Many agree that Deal is a unique and special place and was recently rated the best seaside resort out of 91 resorts in the UK.

Botany Bay, Kent, is located on the outskirts of Broadstairs. The beach features a number of iconic chalk stacks and is a great location for fossil hunting and rock pooling . A hotspot for smuggling in its day, it is said Botany Bay got its name from the fate of those caught and deportation to Botany Bay, Australia. The 32 mile Viking Coastal Trail stretches around the entire peninsular which makes this an ideal walkers paradise. 

Connecting 1400km of shoreline from the South Downs to Thames Estuary, Englands Creative Coast, links outstanding galleries and arts organisations across the Kent, Sussex & Essex coastlines.  New for 2021, discover seven new site-specific artwork installations by leading contemporary artists, and the world’s first ever art digital geocaching tour.  The 'Waterfronts' series of artworks will be located in Margate (Turner Contemporary), Folkestone (Creative Folkestone), Hastings (Hastings Contemporary), Bexhill-on-Sea (De La Warr Pavilion), Eastbourne (Towner), Gravesend (Cement Fields) and Southend-on-Sea (Metal).

Situated in the heart of White Cliffs Country, St Margaret’s is an ideal place for walking, cycling or just enjoying the surroundings of this tranquil village. Paths from the bay lead up to the cliff top (image above) where you can take a walk and admire the stunning views. Make a pit stop at The Coastguard public house - Britain's nearest pub to France.

Best Places to visit on the Sussex Coast

The Seven Sisters are part of a magnificent stretch of coastline between Seaford and Eastbourne and include the beauty spot of Beachy Head. This area is designated and protected as a 'Heritage Coast' and offers 8 miles of amazing walks from one end to the other.  

If love the feel of sand between your toes, don’t miss the chance to visit Camber Sands in 1066 Country.  The two miles of golden sands are the only ones with a dune system, in East Sussex, and are perfect for long winter walks or summer sandcastle building. Take to the water and learn to kite surf, or hire an e bike in Camber and explore this stunning section of the coast.   

Discover and explore two of the UK's 7 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, at Brighton and the Isle of Wight.  These areas promote conservation with sustainable use. The Brighton biosphere combines rural, marine and urban environments from the chalk hill, coast of the south downs and within and around the city.   The Isle of Wight became a UNESCO biosphere in 2019, preserving the unique and diverse ecosystems of the island.  

Admire the Pier of the Year. Worthing's Victorian / Art Deco landmark on the south east coast is a true icon of the British seaside. Colourful artwork and great architecture make this a top instagrammable location in Sussex.  Will Young also filmed his ‘My Love’ video here!

Ride the world’s oldest working electric railway which runs for one and a quarter mile along the top of Brighton beach from the Aquarium.  Built in 1883 by Magnus Volk, who lived, designed, and built the Volks Railway

Take a ride on the steepest cliff railway in England, the East Hill funicular in Hastings. As well as superb views across Hastings Old Town and the English Channel to Beachy Head you’ll gain access to Hastings Country Park – an area of outstanding natural beauty and site of special scientific interest. The park is a mixture of glens, coastal walks, waterfalls and streams.

Take a seat on the longest bench in the UK at Littlehampton, West Sussex.  Opened on the 30th July 2010, the bench seats over 300 people and overlooks the town’s award-winning Blue Flag beach. 

Take a trip out the Rampion offshore windfarm, from Brighton. The Rampion Offshore Wind Farm generates enough green electricity to power the equivalent of around 350,000 UK homes. It comprises 116 turbines on a 70 square kilometre site located between 13 and 20 kilometres off the Sussex coast in the English Channel.  

Enjoy a visit to the new, for 2021, Discovery Centre at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. Hire a bicycle from Rye and cycle out to the nature reserve, where the magnificent new discovery centre and Henry VIII’s Camber Castle reflect styles of architecture over 400 years apart.  The reserve is a paradise for bird watchers, walkers, cyclists and beach combers. 

Opened in August 2016, the British Airways i360 it is now part of the Brighton skyline and offers the chance to enjoy 360 degree views over the city and Sussex coastline. Located just in front of the former West Peir, you can admire two of Brighton's coastal icons in one go.

Best Places to visit on the Hampshire Coast

The Needles on the Isle of Wight, are three white chalk stacks leading up to the Needles lighthouse.  These form the western tip of a band of chalk that crosses the centre of the Isle of Wight and continues under the sea to Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck.  It is believed to have once been connected to Old Harry Rocks (see Poole Harbour) about 20 miles away.  Don’t miss the opportunity to ride the vintage chair lift at Alum Bay overlooking the iconic Needles Landmark and create your own souvenir filled with Alum Bay's famous-coloured sands. 

Hurst Spit is a hook-shaped shingle spit which extends for 1.4 miles from the village of Keyhaven in Hampshire, into the Solent towards the Isle of Wight. The spit is formed from loose flint pebbles which had been eroded from the cliffs further west. The spit shelters an area of saltmarsh and is home to Hurst Castle. 

Visit the famous Palmerston’s Follies in The Solent, at Portsmouth.  The four Solent forts were built for the protection of Portsmouth and it's harbour from sea. They were never used in anger and have become known locally as "Palmerston's Follies" after the Prime Minister of the time.  Cruises area available in the summer with the Gosport Ferry company.  As well as taking to the water to explore from the outside you can now stay on two of the four follies, which are now luxury hotels.  

Up to 10 metres of land is eroded away from the coast of the Isle of Wight every year.  This makes it ideal for dinosaur fossil hunting adventure.  An 11 mile stretch of coastline that runs between Compton and Sandown, regularly yields a large collection of dinosaur bones and fossils.  Don’t forget whilst here to visit the Dinosaur Isle museum. 

Take a trip on the only passenger hovercraft in operation in Europe from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight.  Taking just 10 minutes it’s the fastest way to travel to the Isle of Wight.  You can also see this unique form of transport at the Hovercraft Museum in Gosport. The Museum has the hovercraft that featured in the Bond move ‘Die Another Day’ plus ones that have featured in the Top Gear, Scrapheap Challenge and Salvage Squad TV programmes.

Head up the iconic Emirates Spinnaker Tower, standing tall and proud at the entrance to Portsmouth harbour.  Enjoy the breathtaking views over the city, The Solent and the Isle of Wight.  Watch the boats travelling in and out of the busy harbour, heading back and forward to the Isle of Wight and plan your next adventures from this bird eye view.

Best Places to visit on the Dorset Coast

Poole Harbour is Europe's largest natural harbour formed by a drowned valley at the end of the last ice age.  Located in Dorset, it has the town of Poole on its shore and is stunning location for all types of water sports. Catch a boat and see the iconic Old Harry’s Rocks. These three chalk formations mark the most eastern point of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Hire a beach hut and enjoy sometime by the sea.  Situated along Bournemouth’s seven miles of award-winning beaches there are over two hundred and fifty beach huts available for weekly, daily and period hire. Bournemouth was the first place in the UK to have purpose-built beach huts and the first beach hut, built in 1909, is marked with a Blue Plaque near the Bournemouth Seafront Office (to the east of Bournemouth Pier). 

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RT @kriscruisers: Following Boris's announcement & subject to the review of the 4 tests, we will open for holiday boat hire on the 12… https://t.co/OrgOAYG3GT
23 Feb 2021   16:51:26
Looking beautiful ❤️ https://t.co/HIpPCciTDn
23 Feb 2021   14:43:21
RT @VisitIOW: That iconic view over The Needles - isn't it beautiful! 💙 #TheIslandIsWaiting #SupportIOW #LoveGreatBritain #IOWhttps://t.co/5NlRNdGRgm
23 Feb 2021   13:34:35
Looking for some ideas for your #postlockdownlist... here are some for our thrill seeker followers to enjoy the bea… https://t.co/M5zKcrFtGM
23 Feb 2021   13:26:14