THE SOUTH – WHY GO?
As the gateway to Le Continent, England’s south-east corner has a distinctly cosmopolitan air. Kent, the proverbial Garden of England, has breezy Whitstable and the White Cliffs of Dover. On clear days you can even see the coast of France from the ramparts of Dover Castle, England’s oldest fortress.
Ancient Canterbury, surrounded on three sides by medieval city walls, has its beautiful cathedral, crooked alleys and leaning Tudor-style buildings. Tunbridge Wells boasts its colonnaded Pantiles, while historic Rye, with its winding cobble-stone streets and quaint pubs, is loaded with maritime charm.
Other Kentish must-sees are the castles of Leeds and Hever, and the gardens of Sissinghurst and Great Dixter.
With its beaches, elegant Regency terraces and charm-packed Lanes, racy Brighton begs to be explored. The city has a distinctly raffish air, with its artsy shops and galleries, warren of tiny backstreets and amusement-packed seaside pier. There’s a lively clubbing scene, plenty of pavement cafes and some smart brasseries. Brighton Pavilion – a flamboyant concoction of domes, minarets and sumptuous chinoiserie – is another must-see.
Set sail for the Isle of Wight for the breezy Cowes Week regatta, step back on to dry land at seafaring Lymington – a yachties’ mecca – then spot wild ponies in the wild tracts of the New Forest. Further north, you can wander through royal Windsor before cheering on the rowers at Henley’s famous July regatta on the upper reaches of the Thames.