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.

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. 

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Number of results: 228

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  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. Edward Thomas circular walk

    Type

    Type:

    Walking Tour

    Steep near Petersfield

    A 4 mile circular walk with stunning views of the South Downs

  3. Bodiam Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Bodiam, Robertsbridge

    Archetypal 14th century moated castle with ruined interior - a glimpse of medieval splendour.

  4. 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.

  5. Grand Union Canal

    Type

    Type:

    Natural Feature

    Milton Keynes

    The Grand Union Canal runs from London to Birmingham crossing straight through the Chilterns. Linking two of the UK’s biggest cities, it is a popular canal route, passing through a variety of surroundings and many picturesque settings.

  6. Marwell Zoo

    Type

    Type:

    Animal Collection / Zoo

    Winchester

    Embrace your wild side at Marwell Zoo! Home to hundreds of endangered and exotic species in 140 acres of beautiful parkland, there’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy and admire. From Amur tigers to brilliant birds, Marwell offers you the chance…

  7. Stanmer Park

    Type

    Type:

    Parkland / Woodland Garden

    Brighton

    With its beautiful woodland walks and extensive open lands, Stanmer Park is just as perfect for a family picnic as it is for a kick about with your friends or those looking for a bracing walk over the Downs

  8. Yateley Common Country Park

    Type

    Type:

    Country / Royal Park

    Yateley

    476 acres of heathland, woodland, grassland and ponds providing walking, cycling and fishing in natural surroundings.

  9. Fairytale Farm

    Type

    Type:

    Animal Collection / Zoo

    Chipping Norton, Chipping Norton

    Mixing classic fairy tales, animals and adventure play, children will love Fairytale Farm. With our exciting adventure playground, an enchanted walk with a surprise around every corner and a chance to meet our amazing animals, there is so much to…

  10. Stone Bay

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Broadstairs

    A beautiful bay with scope for rock pooling.

  11. Chesworth Farm

    Type

    Type:

    Farm

    Horsham

    This 90 acre (36 ha) farm is managed as a livestock farm, with numerous footpaths around the site, incorporating grassland, the River Arun, wet meadow, ancient hedgerows, and access to the greater countryside.

  12. Dumpton Gap

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Broadstairs

    Dumpton Gap offers one of the best low tide walking routes to Ramsgate during low tide.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Watlington Hill

    Type

    Type:

    Nature Trail / Watching

    Watlington

    Discover an Oxfordshire dreamscape as you walk to the top of Watlington Hill, where you will find breathtaking views and fine wildlife all year round.

  17. Viking Bay

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Broadstairs

    This magnificent horse shoe shaped bay is the main attraction in Broadstairs.

  18. Sandown Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Sandown

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

  19. Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve

    Type

    Type:

    Natural Feature

    Hastings

    A fabulous nature reserve with stunning coastal scenery situated within the High Weald Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

  20. 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…

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