White Horse at Uffington - carved out of chalk in the North Wessex Downs.

White Horse at Uffington

North Wessex Downs AONB

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

South East England is home to two National Parks covering over 2,193km2 between them. New Forest National Park in Hampshire, famous for its colourful heather, and ponies that wander through the villages and across its large open expanses and forest trails, and South Downs National Park 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. One of the many iconic images of the South, is the white chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head which is part of the South Downs, along with the famous Devils Dyke, Blackdown and ancient forests of Kingsley Vale, all providing some of the best countryside in the UK. Don't miss the chance to visit both parks when you are here in South East England, they have very different landscapes and experiences to enjoy.

The Countryside Code

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

Beautiful Places Near Me

There are an amazing nine Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in South East England. These have been recognised for their exceptional landscape, character, and natural beauty, and are prized enough to be protected for all to enjoy. Whether you choose to hunt for dinosaur footprints on the Isle of Wight, follow in the path of Olympians in the Surrey Hills or be charmed by the space and beauty of Chichester Harbour, these areas offer the chance to explore the beautiful English countryside easily. Reaching into every county in the South East it doesn't matter where you stay or visit, it is easy to head out and explore these stunning rural areas with the Kent Downs, Surrey Hills, North Wessex Downs and Chiltern Hills providing the easiest access to countryside near London.

  • 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 coastlines with heritage status, nature reserves, woodlands, chalk hills and stunning views that'll test the memory of any smartphone camera.

There are approximately 50 chalk carved figures in the UK countryside, the most famous is the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire, which is located 25 miles outside of Oxford and is believed to date back to the bronze age. It can be found in the aptly named Vale of the White Horse and can be seen for miles dancing over the Ridgeway hills. Head to Eastbourne and walk to the bottom or top of the Long Man of Wilmington, a giant etched out in slopes of Windover Hill.

Don't miss the ever changing seasons that bring yearly change to the countryside, from carpets of white snowdrops in winter (January - February) the stunning bluebells walks that follow (April - May) or the rich colours of Autumm that signal the end of summer.

Best Views Near Me

  • Don't miss the chance to take in the stunning views of Newlands Corner, Box Hill, Devils Punchbowl and Leith Hill in the Surrey Hills.
  • Take a wander up St Catherines Hill, on the outskirts of Winchester for breath-taking views over the city. 
  • Make some time when visiting Brighton to head out to Devils Dyke, just 5 miles north-west of of the city, with its deep V-shaped valley and selection of walking trails on offer. 
  • Head to Cissbury Ring, near Worthing, the largest hill fort in Sussex dating back some 5,000 years and offering stunning views over Brighton and beyond from its ramparts. 
  • Explore Beachy Head and some of the best views of the Seven Sisters near Eastbourne, with its dramatic scenery and amazing views, the highest chalk cliff in the South East. 
  • Head to Butser Hill the highest point in Hampshire, part of the world's newest International Dark Sky Reserve - a stargazing delight.  Dont miss the chance to visit Butser Ancient Farm whilst you are here, an archaeology site where you can step back in time. 
  • Wander through the beautiful archway of trees and head up to the Halnakar Windmill to enjoy views over Sussex, Goodwood and the South Coast beyond.
  • Explore the ancient forest of Kingley Vale, full of twisted branches and an air of mystery. Head to the top and enjoy stunning views over West Sussex countryside.
  • Visit Hengistbury Head to the south of Christchurch Harbour, a wind sweep headland offering beautiful views over Isle of Wight, New Forest and Purbecks.

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.  

Most of the world's chalk streams are found here in the southeast of England. The crystal-clear water provides a unique habit for wildlife, and is one of most biodiverse types of rivers in the UK, they provide a beautiful place to walk and lookout for wildlife. The rivers wander through some of the most beautiful British countryside with tranquil water meadows and rolling chalk hills. The River Test, Itchen and Meon are the three main chalk rivers in Hampshire.

You may not know that 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. 

Our extensive list below will help you find a host of ideas and countryside near me to visit when next in South East England. 

Number of results:

Number of results: 229

, currently showing 1 to 20.

  1. White Horse Wood Country Park

    Type

    Type:

    Parkland / Woodland Garden

    Maidstone

    The White Horse Country Park is set within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The park offers beautiful countryside, local history and panoramic views and hosts the medieval ruins of Thurnham Castle.

  2. Waterperry Gardens

    Type

    Type:

    Garden Centre

    Oxford

    Waterperry Gardens
    Eight acre ornamental gardens with a fascinating history, including; Plant Centre, Gift Barn, Gallery, Museum, Teashop and events throughout the year.
     

  3. The Cuckoo Trail

    Type

    Type:

    Nature Trail / Watching

    Polegate

    The Cuckoo Trail is 11 miles long joining three of the district’s towns, Heathfield, Hailsham and Polegate. It also passes through the villages of Horam and Hellingly.

  4. Worthing Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Worthing

    Worthing has 5 miles of a beautiful palm-tree lined promenade, including the exciting new splash point and Lido making for a perfect fun day at the beach.

  5. Farley Mount Country Park

    Type

    Type:

    Country / Royal Park

    Hursley, Winchester

    A large area of beautiful downland and woodland, including West Wood. The Park is ideal for walking and picnicking, with fine views over central Hampshire, particularly from the interesting monument at Beacon Hill. Several car parks serve the area.

  6. Sea Lanes

    Type

    Type:

    Outdoor

    Brighton & Hove

    This autumn a brand new National Open Water Swimming Centre of Excellence will open in Brighton.   Located on Madeira Drive the Sea Lanes development will include a 50m outdoor swimming pool. The first stage of construction should be completed by…

  7. Wildheart Animal Sanctuary

    Type

    Type:

    Wildlife Centres & Nature Reserves

    SANDOWN

    From pocket sized primates to powerful predators, the residents of Wildheart Animal Sanctuary, will charm and amaze you!

  8. Jane Austen Circular Walk

    Type

    Type:

    Walking

    Chawton

    Come and discover the beautiful countryside that inspired Jane Austen and take a peek inside her house where she lived and worked for 8 years.

  9. Brighton i360

    Type

    Type:

    Sightseeing

    Brighton

    Glide up to 138 metres high to enjoy 360° views of the sea, the sky, the South Downs, and the buzz of the city below.

  10. Arlington Bluebell Walk & Farm Trail

    Type

    Type:

    Nature Reserve

    Arlington

    Enjoy vistas of bluebells in 23 acres of ancient woodland. Walks and trails through three farms. Countryside exhibition. One walk is wheelchair friendly.

  11. Alice Holt Forest

    Type

    Type:

    Country / Royal Park

    Farnham

    Once famous for its oak trees which supplied timber for navy ships, Alice Holt is managed by the Forestry Commission and is a centre for a host of exciting outdoor activities in a beautiful woodland setting.

  12. Friars Cliff Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Christchurch

    Friars Cliff beach is an award-winning blue flag beach just a mile from Mudeford Quay in Christchurch. This beach has magnificent views of the Isle of Wight and Christchurch Bay.

  13. Shore Road Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Poole

    Fine golden sand, a gradual sloping beach and clean, safe water make Shore Road beach an ideal place to visit.

  14. Sandbanks Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Poole

    Winner of the Blue Flag award for over 30 years and with its soft golden sands and breathtaking views, it is no wonder that Sandbanks is considered one of Britain's best beaches.

  15. Visit Arundel

    Type

    Type:

    Countryside, Parks & Gardens

    Arundel

    Arundel captures the essence of heritage, urban chic and country pursuits, all within a stone’s throw of London. Experience our market town and you will discover more than you’d expect.

  16. Herstmonceux Castle Estate

    Type

    Type:

    Garden

    Hailsham

    Herstmonceux is renowned for its magnificent moated castle, set in 550 acres of glorious parkland and superb Elizabethan gardens.

  17. Egerton Park

    Type

    Type:

    Country / Royal Park

    Bexhill

    Enjoy a game of tennis on one of the outdoor courts, try your hand at bowls or take a boat out on the lake. Children of all ages will love the play-zone with a range of exciting equipment including a zip-wire, climbing unit with tree house and sand…

  18. Leonardslee Gardens

    Type

    Type:

    Countryside, Parks & Gardens

    Horsham

    One of the finest gardens in Britain, Leonardslee will reopen to the public in March 2018. The Grade 2 listed Italianate style ropery will house dining facilities and become a local attraction for wedding groups and events.

  19. 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.

  20. Tankerton Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Whitstable

    As you walk along the Whitstable front you will come to grassy banks that gently slope down to the beach, characterised by pretty wooden beach huts and an established sailing club.