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South East England

Information about Kent Sussex and Surrey in the South East

Dover castle
Kent, Sussex and Surrey have countless stately homes, castles and interesting houses to visit. Just a few that are well worth visiting are Knole, outside of Sevenoaks in Kent, 20 miles south of London and is one of the show places of England. The house has endless corridors of gracious rooms and the park and gardens are superb. Also, there is Hever Castle, which was Anne Boleyn's childhood home and was also where she first met her future husband Henry VIII.

The castle dates from around 1270 and much of the building from this time can still be seen. The family of Anne Boleyn added to the castle in 1500 by building a beautiful family residence within its protective castle walls. In 1903 the castle was bought by the American millionaire William Waldorf Astor who beautifully restored both the castle and its gardens. The gardens are exquisite with lakes, fountains, a magnificent Italian Garden, an enchanting walled Rose Garden, the Tudor Garden and some stunning walks. It should not be left off your itinerary. It is located close to Edenbridge in Kent which can be reached from Victoria or London Bridge Station.

White cliffs of doverTaxis are available to take you from Edenbridge Town station to the Castle. Alternatively you could take the train from London Victoria to Hever station and walk one mile through the pleasant countryside to the castle. A second castle that is a must is Leeds Castle in Kent. Considered by many to be the loveliest castle in the world it certainly is awe-inspiring. It sits astride two islands in the centre of a beautiful lake. Its setting is enchanting: tranquil, rural and stunning. Truly a fairy-tale castle. It dates from around the 9th century but has been added to over the centuries. Most of the kings and queens of England have lived in it throughout history including Henry VIII. As well as wonderfully presented interior rooms the landscaped grounds include a grotto, maze, aviaries, vineyard and plenty of water birds. It is 4 miles outside of Maidstone in Kent.

Close to the seaside town of Hasting, in Burwash, Etchingham, East Sussex is Bateman's, beautiful 17th century Jacobean house nestling in seclusion under the Sussex downs. It was the home of Rudyard Kipling from 1902 until his death in 1936. A beautiful house which has been left very much as Kipling left it. Much of his artifacts and possessions are in situ. The gardens are also very beautiful, running down to the River Dudwell and a delightful old watermill. In the garage the vintage car enthusiasts will be able to see the 1928 Rolls Royce that was Kipling's pride and joy.

Kent coastCombine this with a trip to Hastings town itself. It is historically interesting as the place where the famous Battle of Hastings took place in 1066. Until 19th century it was one of the Cinque ports but since then has developed into a fishing town and seaside resort. There is an attractive ruined castle and the St. Clement's Caves to explore. Being a fishing town it has an excellent fish market, a museum dedicated to fishing and fishermen and an entertaining Sea Life Centre. It is a perfect place for children with its pebbly beach, miniature railway, fairground rides and amusement arcades.

Whilst there try and see a traditional seaside variety show at the White Rock Theatre. For the seriously fit, it is possible to walk all the way along The Saxon Shore way the 163 miles from Hastings to Gravesend around 15 miles outside of London. If you like traditional English seaside resorts you should also spend a day in Brighton further along the coast from Hastings

2007 travel guides