The South of England has a lot to offer. Believe us, there are many great places to visit in south England! The area has a varied landscape with several national parks and miles of coastline and beaches. There is plenty to do and see, and you could plan a lifetime of holidays in the area without running out of things to see and do.
The area is really easy to get around. The rail networks are fantastic, making trains a great way to get around. Of course, driving is also a good option, although you should check on parking options before heading to some of the smaller destinations and villages in the South of England. Most of the roads are easy to drive, although the exception to this is Cornwall. If you are not used to driving on narrow country roads, then you might want to stick trains and buses, as it can get a little challenging in some of the popular destinations.
So, where are the must-visit destinations in the South of England? This guide explains some of the best cities, towns, villages and attractions to include on your tour of the South of England.
Top 25 places to visit in South England:
London is one of the most well-known tourist destinations in the world. There are so many things to see and do that you will struggle to fit them into a single visit.
Yes, you can visit London in one day, at least the central part of the city. But you might be best served by making a list of the top few you want to see and enjoying those rather than rushing from place to place. Some of the top landmarks in London to choose from include Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The London Eye, the Science and Natural History Museum. Of course, there are many more to see too including the top romantic places to visit in London.
There is a lot more to London than the landmarks. There are wonderful restaurants, exciting shows and performances, parks and of course, shopping.
2. Richmond Park
Richmond Park is located just outside of London. It provides a beautiful getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. The park is owned by The Crown but is open to the public and also operates as a nature reserve. On holidays and warm days, you will find the park filled with families enjoying a day out. You can enjoy the excited energy of the crowds, or if you are looking for a bit of tranquillity, it’s easy to find a quiet spot with all the open space available.
There are a few activities that you should tick off the list while in the park. The first is to take afternoon tea at Pembrooke Lodge. Once used by prime ministers to conduct business, it is now a popular wedding venue.
Next up is climbing King Henry’s Mound. To the west, you get panoramic views of Thames Valley. To the east lies the City. With a telescope, you see St Pauls Cathedral through the carefully maintained keyhole in the hedge.
Finally, take the time to enjoy the natural life in the garden. Smell the flowers. Watch the deer. Let the natural beauty refresh you in one of the best parks in London.
3. Seven Sisters
Whether you’re visiting for a weekend, a week or a bit longer, there are many great places to visit in southern England. And Seven Sisters is one of them!
Seven Sisters is the name for a stretch of cliffs that runs from Seaford to Eastbourne. The cliffs as the iconic white chalk cliffs that line the English Channel. There is a footpath that runs between the two towns. It’s about a 20km walk, so make sure you go prepared and with sturdy footwear.
If you want to see the cliffs but are worried about the walk or the weather, there are other options. There are plenty of bus tours that will take you around the area, giving you the chance to see the cliffs without risking the British weather. Taking a tour will also give you the opportunity to learn more about the fascinating history of the area.
Getting to the Seven Sisters cliffs is relatively easy. There are trains to both Seaford and Eastbourne, as well as bus service. There are also plenty of parking spots along the coast if you have your own car.
Looking for great places to visit in south-east England? Head out to Kent!
Margate is a seaside town about 90 minutes outside of London. It has a place in pop culture for its appearance in ‘Only Fools and Horses’. While it is a relatively small town, there is a surprisingly large number of things to see and do.
Dreamland is the amusement park in Margate. It is filled with some amazing vintage rides and activities, including, a roller disco. Entry to the park is free, once inside you can pay for unlimited rides, or just pay as you go. As well as the vintage rides there are plenty of great modern thrill rides too.
If you want to get in a little bit of culture on your trip to the seaside, then a visit to the Turner Contemporary should hit the spot. The gallery has rolling shows featuring exciting and creative exhibits.
What trip to the seaside would be complete without a stop at the beach? There are several to choose from. Most tourist head to Margate Sands, but if you want something a little quieter then head for Botany Bay. Don’t forget your bucket and spade because these are some wonderful sandy beaches.
Rye is a quaint historic town in East Sussex. Often overlooked by tourists, this town has a lot to offer. There is an abundance of quirky shops and characterful pubs all surrounded by a town with a lot of history.
It’s hard to wander far in Rye without running into a historic landmark. There is the Ypres Tower, the monastery, the Land Gate and of course Rye Castle. There is one house in West Street, which you can explore which was home, at one time, to both Henry James and E F Benson.
If you have the chance, it is worth taking a tour of the town. The guides are sure to tell you, very proudly that, at one point, Rye was the smuggling capital of England. This has left its mark on the architecture and character of the town.
Looking for the best places to visit in England? Brighton is one of the prettiest cities in the south of England and it’s visited by many Brits and tourists from around the world.
Brighton is a vibrant, bustling city, just an hour’s train ride outside of London. It’s small enough that it is easy to get around but big enough that you won’t get bored. One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive is the smell of the sea. Brighton is, after all, a quintessential British seaside town.
Brighton has lots to offer in terms of shops and restaurants. You can’t go wrong with fish ‘n’ chips near the seafront. If you fancy something a little different, then try one of the many vegan and vegetarian restaurants or seek out the zero-waste restaurant.
While you are down at the seafront, don’t forget to visit Brighton Pier Palace, which has plenty of rides and fun for the whole family. The Royal Pavilion is not to be missed, with its mix of Indian and Chinese styling. Then, why not get a taste of the deep at Sea Life Brighton?
7. New Forest
The New Forest has long been a holiday destination. It’s around 90 minutes outside of London. The national park is filled with a wide range of natural life. You can fall in love with the peace and quiet of the ancient woods and the lush glades, then take in the majestic and lonely moors and heathlands. Among all these varied landscapes you will find wildlife roaming free. You never know when you might spot ponies, deer or even donkeys roaming the wilds.
There are many things to see and do in the New Forest. There are plenty of walking and cycling routes, with more than you’ll be able to explore in one trip. There are also plenty of attractions as well, such as Peppa Pig World, Paulton’s Park and the National Motor Museum, to name just a few. The New Forest is just waiting for you to explore and find its abundant trove of treasures.
8. Isle of Wight
It’s really easy to get to the Isle of Wight. You can cross the channel by plane, ferry or even hovercraft, and there are plenty of trains and coaches that will take you to the port. Once on the island, you will be bowled over by just how much there is to do on this picturesque island.
Looking for interesting things to do on the Isle of Wight? Great news! The island is a great spot for walking and cycling. Its varied landscape will keep you enthralled as you explore. It’s so good that there is an annual walking festival. When you are done walking, there are beaches to explore and great food and drink to enjoy. There is always something going on, on the Isle of Wight.
Would you visit this great European island?
9. Dorset Jurassic Coast
South East England is one of the most visited regions of the United Kingdom – and there is a reason. This southern region is simply stunning!
Dorset is one of the most beautiful counties in England. Located along the southern coast of England it has miles of beaches to explore. If you head a little inland from the coast, you will find acres of unspoilt countryside.
Dorset has a lot to offer any visitors. There are exciting and exhilarating family attractions like Monkey World, Adventure Wonderland and Lemur Landing. If you are looking for a slower pace, then you could explore the castles and stately homes and gardens that litter the county instead. If you want something a little more mentally engaging, then you can try one of the many museums where you can get your chance to board the Concorde or even see Tutankhamun’s tomb.
One of the best places to visit in the South Ease England – a must-have on any UK bucket list!
10. Exmoor National Park
This is one of the best places to visit on the South coast of England!
Exmoor is 267 square miles of wild countryside. It is located in the south-west of England in the counties of Devon and Somerset. The landscape is varied and interesting as it could be described as being in a semi-natural state. Over the years, human agriculture has had some impact on the landscape but has not taken it over. The result is a unique landscape, unlike anywhere else in the world.
There are plenty of ways to get out and enjoy the beauty of the area. Walking, cycling and horse riding are all great ways to go out and see the wildlife that roams the area. If you are lucky, you might get to see the famous wild Exmoor Ponies or the wild red deer.
11. Dartmoor National Park
Dartmoor National Park is found in the heart of Devon. It is filled with rugged woodland and wide-open spaces, deep valley lined with trees and breathtaking granite tors. The landscape is extreme and yet beautiful.
The Dartmoor ponies are an iconic feature of the area. These ponies are semi-wild and roam all across the moor. There is nothing more joyful than watching the ponies playing and frisking across the hills.
Dartmoor is a very welcoming place. There are lots of places to explore with the whole family, including the dogs. As well as the wild open spaces which you can enjoy at your own pace, there are plenty of attractions and activities to enjoy.
If south England cities are on your travel bucket list, then Bristol should be there as it’s one of the most popular cities in the southern region of the country.
Bristol is a bustling city that celebrates its historical roots in quirky and unexpected ways. There are not many cities where one of the most popular tours are given from hot air balloons. When your feet are on the ground, you can explore the cobbled streets finding performances around unexpected corners and art everywhere you look.
As a shopping destination, the city has a lot to offer. There are plenty of High Street fashion and big-name stores. But, there is also a healthy mix of unique and boutique stores to pick up some keepsakes as you explore the city.
As you might expect from a multicultural city, there are loads of great places to eat. Whether you are into street food or superstar chefs, you’ll find something to whet your appetite.
13. Cheddar Gorge
Hire a car in the UK and hit the road in south England! Thre are many great roads to drive on in southern England. One of our favourite ones is located in Somerset. Although the might suggest it, it is NOT made from cheese 😉
Cheddar Gorge is a stunning natural landmark, located between Bath and Bristol. The gorge and cave complex is filled with prehistory and amazing rock formations. You can easily spend a full day here and not see everything.
There are several show caves to explore. There are audio tours available so that you don’t miss any of the unique features that are hidden away. In one of the caves, there are multimedia displays and presentations that tell the story of early man and the area.
There are cliffs to climb and caves to explore, all of which you can do with a guide and proper safety equipment. If you fancy something a little less adrenaline-fueled, then you could visit the museum of prehistory to learn about how early man survived the ravages of the ice age and how it created the landscape you see today.
Alongside being the region with the warmest average temperature in the country, Cornwall is filled with the most beautiful places to visit in England. Millions of people visiting this souther region can’t be wrong! 🙂
Cornwall thrives on its tourist trade. This means that wherever you go you will receive a friendly welcome and you will find things to do. The landscape is beautiful, and there is no lack of beaches.
Cornwall has a lot of shorelines, so it really is easy to find a great beach. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy when you get there, such as surfing, sailing, and paddleboarding. You can also find plenty of family-friendly beaches, where you can set up your towels, and enjoy a day of sunbathing, paddling and exploring the tide pools.
There are plenty of attractions to explore, like animal sanctuaries, tin mines and museums. There is also an abundance of small villages to find and explore all with their own quaint charm.
Looking for places to visit in South England? Why not try Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds refers to an area of around 800 square miles. While each part of the Cotswolds has its own personality, they are all brought together by their uniting features. You will find the honey gold stones and rolling hills in every corner of the Cotswolds. From Castle Combe village to Broadway Tower – there are many great things to see in the Cotswolds!
The villages that dot the Cotswolds all feature the local stone, making them delightful to see, as are the castles, palaces, and country homes that are sprinkled throughout the area. Looking for something special in Southern England? Visit Bourton on the Water Model Village – it’s one of the most popular places to visit!
As well as the bustling market towns and quaint villages, there are nature reserves and arboreta that are known worldwide.
Oxford is one of the best cities to visit in England besides London. It is very popular amongst students but also families.
Oxford is a city steeped in history. Most famous for the university, it is also a place filled with fascinating architecture and plenty of photo spots. Culture is definitely waiting for you around every corner. The city is bursting with museums and galleries. Due to its location, Oxford is a great idea for a day trip from London.
There is so much to see and experience in the city that a tour is a great option. There are loads of walking tours to choose from as well as bus tours of the city. This way, you can see and learn everything there is to know and avoid missing the hidden gems of this ancient city.
Once the sun goes down, you will find that as Oxford is a university town, it also has a bustling nightlife. There are plenty of pubs, bars and clubs to visit or even just some fantastic restaurants. You should make sure to indulge in this aspect of the city as well during your visit.
17. Chiltern Hills
If you picture the English countryside, you probably think of rolling green hills, dotted with country estates and small villages. What you are probably picturing is the Chilterns. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty. And, in the true British style, you can be safe in the knowledge that as you explore, you are never going to be far from a classic British pub or restaurant.
The Chilterns is a mecca for walkers. There are so many beautiful routes to explore. No matter your walking experience or fitness level, you will find a walk to suit you here. It is such a great place for walking that there is a walking festival held here every year.
When creating the list of top places to visit in the south of England, we couldn’t forget about Stonehenge. Could we?! 🙂
Getting to Stonehenge is easy from most major cities in the South of England. This popular destination is accessible by train, bus, car, bike and foot.
While the stone circle is probably one of the most iconic sites in England, it is not all that the site has to offer. After you have marvelled at the feat of engineering that allowed this monument to be created and to survive all this time, you can then marvel at the neolithic houses. These recreations have been built using techniques and materials that would have been used by the people who lived here over 4,500 years ago.
As well as the stones there is a great visitor centre and museum, a lovely cafe. Oh, and of course the area is just beautiful. Make time in your trip to wander in the countryside. There are several walks that allow you to get a feel for the ancient landscape and natural beauty of the area.
Is it worth visiting Southern England?
The South of England has a lot to offer. You can easily come to the south of the country and spend your whole visit in London. You would have a wonderful time, but you’d be missing out on all the rest that the area has to offer. Whatever it is that you are looking for in a getaway from vibrant cities to relaxing nature, you can find something wonderful in the South of England.
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