Category Archives: South East England
East Sussex has a history dating back to The Norman Conquest. Visit the site of The Battle of Hastings, skygaze at the Observatory or spend a day at Druscilla’s Zoo.
East Sussex has a host of things for all the family. From the seaside resorts of Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings these are just a few of the attractions within easy reach:
1066 Battle Of Hastings, Abbey & Battlefield
In 1066 William of Normandy invaded England and fought the forces of King Harold just outside Hastings. The battlefield now hosts an award winning exhibition dedicated to the Norman Conquest and the changes it brought to the English way of life.
Charleston was the home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. The house contains examples of their works together with other items they collected by artists such as Picasso, Derain, Sickert and Renior.
Druscilla’s Park at Alfriston is a zoo and amusement park rolled into one. Druscilla’s awards include a listing in the Sunday Times Best 50 Days Out. The zoo specialises in keeping small to medium sized animals such as monkeys, meerkats and penguins and there is a host of other attractions for younger visitors including Amazon Adventure and Thomas the Tank Engine.
Herstmonceux Castle was built in the 15th century. Cross the moat and explore the castle, explore the walled and Elizabethan gardens or follow one of two signed woodland trails.
Lewes Castle & Anne of Cleves House
Lewes Castle dates back to 1087, standing high above the town it dominates the skyline and offers unrivalled views of the town and the Sussex countryside. Opposite the castle, the Barbican House Museum recalls the history of the Lewes area from the Norman Conquest to the present day.
In the town centre, visit the 15th century timber framed house that Henry VIII gave to Anne of Cleves as part of their divorce settlement.
Michelham Priory, near Hailsham, was built in the 13th century. Standing in seven acres of grounds and protected by longest water filled moat in the country, the priory holds a collection of historic wall hangings and furniture. Outside there are beautifully kept gardens, wildlife and a working water wheel.
The Observatory Science Centre
Explore the heavens from The Observatory Science Centre near Herstmonceux. This working observatory, standing at the foot of the South Downs, provides hands on facilities to make astronomical discoveries using domes and telescopes.
Pashley Manor Gardens
Pashley Manor near Ticehurst has been labelled “One of the finest gardens in England”. This traditional garden intertwines trees, fountains, springs and ponds with a wide range of flowers including tulips, roses ,lilies and dahlias.
Redoubt Fortress & Military Museum
The Redoubt Fortress at Eastbourne was built over 200 years ago to help defend the South Coast against Napoleon. It was used again by the forces in World War II. Now it is a military museum with collection showing the work of The Royal Sussex Regiment, The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars Regiment and The Sussex Combined Services.
Spa Valley Railway
The Spa Valley Railway is a standard gauge steam railway running through the Kent countryside between Tunbridge Wells and Eridge via Groomsbridge. Trains connect with the National Rail network at Eridge; the hourly London Bridge to Uckfield service provides direct links to London (1 hour 5 minutes) and East Croydon (45 minutes).
Visitors to rural Oxfordshire may be surprised to learn that London is less than 70 miles away. Bustling market towns, sleepy village churches and magnificent stately homes combine to give the Oxfordshire Cotswolds a unique appeal, with scenery that has led to the area being designated an Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty.
There are four major towns in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds each with its own unique charm.
Farmers’ Markets around Witney
Witney is a traditional English market town, the epitome of rural England. The market square is dominated by the 17th century Buttercross where local farmers gathered to trade butter and eggs.
The town can trace its history back to the 12th century, when the Bishop of Winchester built a palace in the town. The remains of this were rediscovered in the 1980’s and can be seen at Church Green, in the shadow of the spired 13th century St Mary’s Church.
Witney, like the rest of the area, has a wide selection of places to eat and drink. Intimate restaurants, traditional country pubs and quaint coffee shops cater for all tastes. Locally sourced produce is widely used and can be bought at regular farmers’ markets and local farm shops. Witney also has its own real ale brewery, Wychwood’s. Brewery tours are available on weekends, but advanced booking is essential.
Shop for Antiques in Burford
Shops with Tudor and Georgian frontages dominate Burford High Street. National chains are nowhere to be seen as independent antique shops, craft shops and cafés provide a totally different shopping experience to city centre high streets and out of town malls. Burford, which enjoys a reputation as one of England’s most picturesque towns, has remained largely unchanged for centuries with ample photo opportunities with a selection of old stone houses and the medieval bridge that straddles the River Windrush. Just south of Burford, the Cotwold Wildlife Park and Gardens is home to a varied selection of animals ranging including penguins, monkeys, meerkats and farm animals.
Chipping Norton has Free Car Parking
Chipping Norton, granted a Royal Charter by King John in 1205, is the highest town in Oxfordshire. High street brands and independent stores combine to attract visitors to the town. Antiques again are prominent, with comedian Ronnie Barker running a store called the Emporium until his death in 2005. Market day is Wednesday and parking in the town centre is free. Local tourist attractions include Chipping Norton Museum and the Churchill & Sarsden Heritage Centre.
Blenheim Palace – Birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill
Woodstock, standing on the banks of the River Glyme, also has a wide selection of antique shops, galleries and eateries. Winston Churchill was born just down the road, at Blenheim Palace. The palace stands in over 2000 acres of parklands and gardens, designed by Capability Brown. The palace, park and gardens are all open to the public. There are two rates of admission – one including admission to the palace. Both tickets include admission to the park and gardens and rides on the miniature train. The train runs to the Pleasure Gardens which has a maze, an adventure play area, butterfly house, lavender garden and “Blenheim Bygones” exhibition.
West Oxfordshire District Council has Tourist Information offices at Burford, Witney and Woodstock. Information on places to stay and things to do is readily available. There is a full range of accommodation available, with self catering cottages and bed and breakfasts catering for all budgets.
Getting to the West Oxfordshire Cotswolds
The Oxfordshire Cotswolds are in easy reach of London, Oxford , Stratford upon Avon and Cheltenham. London Heathrow and Birmingham International Airports are both about an hour’s drive.
The A40, London to Gloucester, trunk road runs through the heart of the area passing near to both Burford and Witney. The M40 and A34 connect with the A 40 near Oxford providing excellent links to the rest of the motorway network.
Trains run regularly between London Paddington and Hereford, calling at Charlbury and Kingham. Bus connections at Kingham provide links to Burford, Witney and Chipping Norton.
Brighton, and its neighbour Hove, are two stylish seaside resorts, and a great base for exploring the beautiful Sussex countryside. Historic houses, glorious gardens and picturesque little villages are all just a short drive away.
Only 49 minutes by train from London and easily accessible from the M25 and M23 motorways, Brighton is an ideal choice for a short break by the sea.
The Royal Pavilion
In 1823, King George IV had the Royal Pavilion built to entertain fashionable Regency society. Today, Brighton’s most famous landmark displays the Indian architecture and Chinese interiors that John Nash used to give the Pavilion its unique identity.
The Brighton Sea life Centre is home to over 150 species of fish and other underwater creatures. Hold a crab or stand underwater tunnel as giant turtles and sharks circle overhead.
Stroll along the vibrant Beachfront with its Artists’ and Fishing Quarters, trendy bars and clubs.
After the Royal Pavilion, Brighton’s best known landmark is the Victorian Palace Pier. The pier hosts a range of traditional seaside entertainment including fairground attractions and amusement arcades. There are also two bars, a fish and chip restaurant.
Shop in The Lanes for Antiques and Bargains
Shop for antiques and designer goods in the 17th century Lanes, or browse for bargains in the bohemian North Laine. Check out the big-name stores in the brand new Churchill Square shopping complex or go discount shopping among the millionaire yachts at the Marina.
Enjoy great nightlife, a lively arts scene, plenty of places to stay, over 400 restaurants, a non-stop programme of events, including England’s largest international arts festival in May.
Brighton is an ideal base for touring the Sussex Coast and Downs, the resort of Worthing is only 12 miles to the west and Eastbourne and Beachy Head just over 20 miles to the east. All the attractions of East Sussex and West Sussex including Arundel Castle, The Battle of Hastings site and Chichester Cathedral are less than 75 minutes driving time from Brighton.
Getting to Brighton
From London and the North take the M23 and A23 from the M25. The A27 runs along the South Coast linking Brighton with Southampton, Portsmouth and Eastbourne.
Regular services run from London Victoria and Gatwick Airport. There are also direct services to Southampton, Portsmouth, Eastbourne, Hastings and Ashford International, where connections to Eurostar can be made.
London Gatwick Airport is just 25 miles north of Brighton and is easily reached by both rail and road.
Visit Brighton 01273 290337.
The Isle of Wight is a short trip across the Solent from Portsmouth, Southampton or Lymington. Measuring just 23 miles by 13 miles, he Isle of Wight has a wide selection of attractions including fun parks, animal and bird sanctuaries, carnivals and festivals; water sports, including the annual Cowes Yachting Festival, are never far away.
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