View over Devil's Kneeding Trough - Kent Countryside

Devil's Kneeding Trough

Kent 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: 228

, currently showing 21 to 40.

  1. 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.

  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. Staunton Farm

    Type

    Type:

    Country / Royal Park

    Havant

    A farm full of friendly animals.

  4. 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.

  5. River Adur - Coastal Link & Sculpture Trail

    Type

    Type:

    Natural Feature

    Shoreham-by-Sea

    The River Adur, an important trade route since Roman times, derives its name from the Celtic word 'Dwyr', meaning 'water'. It gives its name to the Adur District dividing it roughly in half.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  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. Greenham and Crookham Common

    Type

    Type:

    Nature Reserve

    Newbury

    After many years as a military site, Greenham and Crookham Common has been restored and reopened to the public. The area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and cattle and Exmoor ponies graze here.

  10. 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…

  11. Staunton Country Park

    Type

    Type:

    Country / Royal Park

    Havant

    With a farm full of friendly animals, the south coast’s largest ornamental glasshouses, beautiful gardens and 1,000 acres of country park to explore there’s something for everyone.

  12. Pelham Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Hastings


    Hastings' main beach backs right onto the seafront of this established seaside resort town so you are never far away from the town's facilities and attractions.

  13. Bodiam Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Bodiam, Robertsbridge

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

  14. Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest

    Type

    Type:

    Forest

    CRANBROOK

    The National Pinetum is a world-class collection of dramatic conifers and a beautiful setting for a country walk in all seasons.

  15. Shanklin Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    SHANKLIN

    Shanklin Beach is a one of the Isle of Wight’s best known stretches of golden sands, which backs onto a traditional English seafront promenade.

  16. Littlehampton - Coastguard Station Beach

    Type

    Type:

    Beach

    Littlehampton

    Littlehampton - Coastguard Station Beach

  17. Leechpool Woods

    Type

    Type:

    Parkland / Woodland Garden

    Horsham

    Leechpool is an ancient woodland covering 53 acres and includes Oak, Ash, Hazel, Hawthorn, Holly, Blackthorn, Sweet Chestnut and Scots Pine.

  18. 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…

  19. Flora Thompson Circular Walk

    Type

    Type:

    Walking

    Liphook

    Flora Thompson, of Lark Rise and Candleford fame, inspired this circular walk on Weavers Down and Holly Hills near Liphook. Flora Thompson came to Liphook in August 1916, when her husband John was appointed postmaster here. In 1926 they bought a…

  20. Highdown Gardens

    Type

    Type:

    Parkland / Woodland Garden

    Worthing

    A unique and beautiful garden on downland countryside overlooking the sea. The Chalk Garden is the achievement of Sir Frederick and Lady Stern who worked for 50 years to prove that plants would grow on chalk. Green Flag Award winner.