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Last updated : Nov 2009
South East England and East Anglia
South East England and East Anglia - TravelPuppy.com
The Southeast is England’s most populated and prosperous region. Despite the development there is wide variety of rural and heritage attractions, together with major coastal resorts. Interests range from the traditional seaside spots of Brighton, Great Yarmouth and Southend-on-Sea to historic cities like Cambridge, Colchester, Norwich and St Albans. The charms of ‘Constable Country’, along the Suffolk/Essex border, attract many visitors, as do the more urban sites of Windsor and Dover, with their mighty castles.

The following tourist boards cover the ‘Home Counties’ of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, East Sussex, and West Sussex, and the East Anglian counties of Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.

South East England Tourist Board (telephone: (01892) 540 766; fax: (01892) 511 008; email: enquiries@tourismse.com).

East of England Tourist Board (telephone: (0870) 225 4800; fax: (0870) 225 4890; email: information@eetb.org.uk).

Southern Tourist Board (telephone: (023) 8062 5400; fax: (023) 8062 0010; email: enquiries@tourismse.com).

Kent

Is known as the ‘Garden of England’ for its production of fruit, hops and garden produce, Kent is the southeasternmost county in England. Canterbury is the visitor magnet, retaining much of its Medieval charm. Canterbury Cathedral, where Thomas à Becket was slain in 1170, is the headquarters of the Anglican Church. Nearby, St Martin’s Church is one of the oldest churches still in use.

At Dover, the main cross-channel port, the massive Norman Dover Castle rises above the famous White Cliffs, while the White Cliffs Experience offers a multimedia interpretation of the town’s importance over the centuries. Rochester is a charming town with strong Dickensian connections.

Tunbridge Wells, in the west, is an 18th-century spa town. Highlights in the county include Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn, and Leeds Castle, considered to be the world’s most beautiful.

Surrey and East/West Sussex

London now swallows up much of Surrey, but towns like Guildford still retain a historic charm. Attractions include Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventure, both are theme parks.

In Sussex, Brighton is probably the most popular and lively of the southeast resorts, made famous by the Prince Regent (later George IV) who ordered the opulent Pavilion to be built here.

Eastbourne is a more restrained Victorian resort town, while Hastings was the landing place for the Normans in 1066, and nearby Battle stands by the field in which Harold I was killed.

Roman Chichester, west of Sussex, is famed for its arts festival and the nearby Fishbourne Palace – the remains of the largest Roman villa yet discovered in Britain.

Essex and Hertfordshire

Colchester, county town of Essex, is Britain’s oldest city, continuously settled since pre-Roman times. Norman Colchester Castle was built on Roman foundations with the largest keep of any such building.

The Essex coast runs from the fringes of London in the south, and Southend-on-Sea has been the traditional resort for East Londoners. Further to the north are the resorts of Clacton-on-Sea, Frinton and Walton-on-the-Naze, together with the port of Harwich.

Hertfordshire’s places of interest include the Roman city of St Albans (Verulamiam). Part of the walls, foundations of Roman houses and a temple remain, while the Verulamiam Museum displays archaeological finds.

Berkshire

The jewel in Berkshire’s crown is Windsor, whose castle is one of the Queen’s official residences and is open to visitors. It has been a royal home for almost 900 years since the time of William I. Guided tours of the town, bus tours and river cruises are available.

Nearby is the 19 sq km or 7.3 sq miles Windsor Great Park. Some 3km or 2 miles outside the town is Legoland, a family attraction. Elsewhere in Berkshire, Slough is the main commercial centre, while Maidenhead and Marlow are riverside towns on the banks of the Thames.

Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire

The rolling Chiltern Hills of Buckinghamshire are within easy reach of London, with pleasant countryside and quiet villages. At Amersham, the Chiltern Open Air Museum boasts five centuries of local life.

Near Aylesbury, Waddesdon Manor is a Victorian stately home. The ‘new town’ of Milton Keynes is the county’s largest town, with a wide range of shopping and leisure pursuits. Bedfordshire’s main visitor attraction is Woburn Abbey, home of the Dukes of Bedford since the mid-1550s, and surrounded by Britain’s largest Safari Park. Close to Dunstable, animals are the main focus at Whipsnade Zoo.

Cambridgeshire (See also the Top Seven Destinations section.)

Outside the city of Cambridge, this county consists of agricultural countryside, especially in the artificially drained Fenlands of the north. Highlights include Ely, with its Cathedral (known as ‘Ship of the Fens’). Cromwell’s House, home of the late Lord Protector, is open to the public and home to the Tourist Information Centre.

Peterborough, in the northwest, boasts a fine Cathedral, and the Nene Valley Railway. Close to the Norfolk border is Wisbech, an inland port and typical fenland village.

Norfolk and Suffolk

Norwich, ‘capital’ of East Anglia and county town of Norfolk, whose central streets still follow the Medieval pattern. Norwich Cathedral is one of England’s loveliest, while the Castle houses an art gallery, museum and local history exhibitions. Norwich’s open-air market is one of the biggest in the country.

Suffolk, to the south, is a quiet, typically ‘English’ countryside. The main town is Ipswich, and the coast is lined with small resorts like Aldeburgh (with its annual arts festival) and Southwold.