Looking for some coastal inspiration? South east England is home to miles of glorious countryside, dense forestry and stunning coastal walks, much of which is just an hour from London. Iconic highlights include the White Cliffs of Dover, Brighton Palace Pier and the 1066 Battle of Hastings site, but there’s so much more to see and do in the counties of Sussex and Kent, as our round-up reveals.
For picture-perfect white cliffs and expansive sea views, be sure to include Seaford Head in a future English adventure. Located on the coast between Brighton and Eastbourne, Seaford Head offers the best views of the south coast’s iconic Seven Sisters. Continue on a circular walk around the nature reserve and you could discover some of the rare species of plants, birds and insects in the area.
Ever wanted to step into the Hundred Acre Woods and pay a visit to Winnie the Pooh and friends? Ashdown Forest was a key inspiration for A.A. Milne when he was writing the world famous series, as his son Christopher Robin would play with his stuffed teddy in the nearby fields and trees. Various sections of the forest were recreated in the books, so you can look forward to discovering your favourite locations and even play Poohsticks!
Despite effectively being in ruins, the exterior of Bodiam Castle is still extremely impressive. Surrounded by a sizeable moat (successfully designed to make the castle more intimidating), you can step back in time and enjoy stunning views on a walk around the castle. Film buffs may also recognise the area as Swamp Castle from Monty Python and the Holy Grail!
Naturally formed around the River Cuckmere, the high slopes of the Cuckmere Valley offer stunning views across the area, helping you to spot the numerous species of wildlife and wild flowers that populate the area. A particular highlight is the way the river repeatedly meanders just before it meets the English Channel; make sure to pass through this area when planning a trek!
If you’ve been dreaming of a dramatic walk through the English landscape, why not make it along Britain’s deepest and longest dry valley? The oddly named Devil's Dyke, approximately six miles from Brighton, was a major tourist attraction in the early 20th century, partly due to the mystery surrounding its formation. Even today, thanks to the remains of various structures in the area (including an Iron Age fort and a Victorian railway line), there’s still plenty to discover on a circular walk around the valley.
If you’re longing for new horizons, this one’s for you. Climbing to the top of Leith Hill may seem tough (it's the second highest point in south east England, after all), but once you reach the summit, you’ll be treated to a spectacular view on all sides. If you’re a keen hiker, you could add an extra climb to the top of the 18th century Leith Hill Tower for an even better view; on a clear day, it’s possible to see London in one direction and the English Channel in the other! (Please note, Leith Hill Tower is set to reopen once restrictions allow).
Open every spring, the Arlington Bluebells offers the chance to wander through a wonderland of vibrant flora and woodland– a tempting thought for any horticulture lover. Envision a day spent following the trail into the woods, discovering a sea of stunning bluebells, carpeting the ground and adding colour everywhere you look. Combined with a tour of local farm grounds, this is an entertaining and relaxing walk for the whole family.
If your heart is set on a city break with a coastal twist, you can look forward to enjoying the vibrant bustle of Brighton and some quality time by the sea. The Undercliff Walk is found on a refurbished sea wall, designed to protect the iconic white cliffs from the harsh erosion of the sea. This three-mile walk offers spectacular views across the English Channel. There’s also a variety of cafés along the way, if you should wish to slow down and enjoy some refreshments.
Straddling the border of Kent and East Sussex, Bewl Water is a tranquil reservoir, surrounded by lush woodland. An entire loop of the area might be a challenge for some (it’s about 12.5 miles), but a trip along any length or section of the lake is sure to be a memorable one. If you’re keen to add a splash of adrenaline to a future trip, this spot also offers an inflatable obstacle course at the aqua park, plus water sports, bike hire and a laser challenge - all bookable online.
Found just along the coast from the Seven Sisters, Beachy Head is another iconic landmark on England’s southern coastline. As the tallest white cliff in the country, the views from the top are unparalleled, and a walk along the coastline will take you to the seaside resort of Eastbourne.