Discover the South's 3 million acres of natural beauty, including two national parks and nine Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Image was taken by the Hawk Conservancy, Andover, Hampshire

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With 3 million acres of natural beauty to explore in South East England, it's the perfect place to escape those four walls and enjoy great open spaces and fresh air.  Discover the National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, country parks, nature reserves, glorious gardens, waymarked walks and more.... there's no better place to fall in love with the great outdoors.

South East England has two National Parks covering over 2,193km2 between them.  The New Forest in Hampshire, known for its ponies, heathland and forest trails. The South Downs which stretches from Winchester to Eastbourne, through the counties of Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex, and is the newest National Park in the UK.

The Countryside Code

We encouage you to enjoy the countryside at every opportunity, it is so good for our well being. However, whilst you are out and about remember to follow the Countryside Code.  RESPECT - PROTECT - ENJOY. This code contains advice for the public and landowners, making it easier for visitors to help respect, protect and enjoy the outdoors. 

Both the national parks have an excellent selection of walking and cycling routes, and their is plenty to keep the children entertained to. Looking out for ponies, horses, cows and even pigs roaming free around the New Forest while the South Downs has a selection of stunning viewpoints including St Catherines Hill, near Winchester, Devils Dyke, near Brighton, Cissbury Ring, near Worthing, Beachy Head, near Eastbourne to enjoy.

The South East also benefits from nine Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  These have been recognised for their exceptional landscape, character and natural beauty, and are prized enough to be protected for all to enjoy. 

  • The Cotswolds, Oxfordshire
  • North Wessex Downs AONB, Berkshire
  • Chiltern Hills AONB, Buckinghamshire
  • High Weald AONB, Sussex
  • Kent Downs AONB
  • Surrey Hills AONB
  • Chichester Harbour AONB, Sussex
  • Dorset AONB
  • Isle of Wight AONB

Half the Isle of Wight is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, making it an ideal escape to the country. A varied terrain includes dramatic coastline with heritage status, nature reserves, woodlands, chalk hills and stunning views that'll test the memory of any smartphone camera.

The South East is also home to two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves at Brighton and the Isle of Wight - there are only 7 sites in the UK. These Biospheres bring together rural, marine and urban environments, to take care of these special places for both nature and people. 

South East England's countryside also includes leafy Surrey near London. Newlands Corner, Box Hill and Leith Hill offer outstanding viewpoints around Guildford.

Highdown Gardens in Worthing, created out of a chalk pit over-looking the Downs, offers a beautiful collection of unusual plants and trees including the National Plant Collection introduced by Sir Fredrick Stern. A visit to Worthing's countryside isn't complete without a trip to Cissbury Ring, the largest hill fort in Sussex and history dating back 5,000 years.

The Test Valley runs from the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty right down to the New Forest National Park in the south, with walkers and cyclists being able to enjoy parts of the 44 mile Test Way, nestling between Winchester, Salisbury and the New Forest

The rural geography of South East England makes for ideal star gazing spots to wonder in the night sky. Butser Ancient Farm in Hampshire is one such location, along with the South Downs National Park which is the world's newest International Dark Sky Reserve, but anywhere away from the lights of urban centres is a great place to start.

Number of results:

Number of results: 234

, currently showing 1 to 20.

  1. Petworth House & Park

    Type

    Type:

    Historic House / Palace

    Petworth

    The beauty and drama of this 17th century palace inspired the artist JMW Turner time and time again. Petworth became Turner’s favourite retreat and he was a regular guest of the 3rd Earl of Egremont. Today a world famous art collection fills the…

  2. Stockbridge Down Wildlife and History Walk

    Type

    Type:

    Nature Trail / Watching

    Stockbridge

    Explore this isolated island of characteristic chalk downland set in a sea of intensively farmed land.

  3. Tilgate Park Watersports

    Type

    Type:

    Sports Activities

    Tilgate Drive, CRAWLEY

    If you’re looking for a fun activity that you and your family or friends can enjoy, we have a fun activity that’s perfect for you. From 1 hour to full day hire there’s a wide choice available most days.

  4. Warnham Nature Reserve

    Type

    Type:

    Nature Reserve

    Horsham

    A haven of peace and beauty within a mile of Horsham, this 92 acre site offers a 17 acre millpond, reedbeds and woodlands which are rich in flora, dragonflies and birdlife. Includes a visitor centre, cafe, two bird hides and free parking.

  5. Sheerness Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Sheerness

    Sheerness Beach is a shingle beach, bordered by a wide expanse of green open space which leads to the promonade - making it an ideal spot for a picnic. Popular amongst families, it offers plenty of attractions for a great day out.

  6. Bognor Regis East Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Bognor Regis


    Bognor Regis East Beach is the most popular beach in Bognor Regis due to its close proximity to the town centre as well as the Foreshore Office and the food and drink stands on the promenade.

  7. South Downs National Park

    Type

    Type:

    National Park


    The South Downs, now a newly designated National Park are easily accessible from Worthing.  The South Downs Way runs from Winchester to Eastbourne and can be accessed at several points around Worthing or Adur.

    Discovery ticket:

    The new…

  8. Sandown Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Sandown

    Sandown lies at the heart of 'The Bay' and is renowned for its beautiful beach and safe bathing.

  9. Ashdown Forest

    Type

    Type:

    Country / Royal Park

    East Grinstead

    6,500 acres of beautiful countryside located between East Grinstead and Uckfield, West Hoathly and Tunbridge Wells. Ashdown Forest is so much more than a walk in the country. Visit our new website www.ashdownforest.com

  10. Bookham Common

    Type

    Type:

    Natural Feature

    Leatherhead

    Ancient commons, mentioned in the Domesday Book, with grassland plains, mighty oak woods and serene ponds

  11. Lakeside Country Park

    Type

    Type:

    Country / Royal Park

    Eastleigh

    Sixty acres of lakes, meadow and young woodland situated between Eastleigh and Southampton with easy access.

  12. Louisa Bay

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Broadstairs

    A small popular tucked away bay that is great for rock pooling with a promenade café

  13. Ramsgate Main Sands

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Ramsgate

    Ramsgate offers a popular long stretch of sandy beach situated right next to the only Royal Harbour and Marina in the country.

  14. Denbies Hillside

    Type

    Type:

    Natural Feature

    Dorking

    Dramatic and stunning chalk escarpment with panoramic views

    With amazing views towards Leith Hill, the highest point in south east England, Denbies Hillside is a great spot for wildlife-watching.

    Named after John Denby, a 17th-century farmer,…

  15. Brighton Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach


    Brighton's popular shingle and sand beach in one of Britain's most famous seaside resorts. And boasts a refurbished pier, fun fairs, arcades, local boutique shopping in The Lanes.

  16. Kilkenny Lane Country Park

    Type

    Type:

    Country / Royal Park

    Carterton

    Set within 50 acres Kilkenny Lane Country Park is an ideal location for playing, walking, jogging, or simply relaxing with a picnic. There are 2.5km of paths (suitable for wheelchair access) and bridleways, as well as an adventure play area

  17. Sandgate Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Folkestone


    Just west of Sandgate Town Centre beach, this is a quieter single beach. A lovely spot for walking and quite popular for fishing.

  18. Wilderness Wood

    Type

    Type:

    Forest

    Crowborough

    "A hidden treat". A unique 61 acre family-run working woodland, where you can still see traditional coppicing. Fascinating and beautiful at all seasons, with miles of paths and tracks to explore, including springtime bluebell walk.

  19. Minnis Bay

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Margate

    A long stretch of sand coupled with ample free parking and children’s outdoor play area near by.

  20. Abinger Roughs and Netley Park

    Type

    Type:

    Nature Trail / Watching

    Dorking

    Hidden woods with ancient trees and flower-sprinkled grasslands, just off the North Downs and Pilgrims Ways

    Abinger Roughs, above the village of Abinger Hammer, is an area of grassland and mixed woodland - some of the mighty oak trees are over…

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