London city (and the City of London! eh?)
The south east, an easy day-trip from London by train, offers two high quality urban sights. The first is medieval Canterbury with its 1, 000 year-old walls, massive cathedral and other ancient buildings, all in a pretty compact centre.
The second attraction is London’s favourite beach resort, lively Brighton, with its tacky but cute pier, scenic but stony beach, bizarre Royal Pavilion and humming night life.
The leaning house of Canterbury, another unusual structure in a 1,000 year old city with a magnificent range of architecture and of course the famous Canterbury Cathedral.
This area is a good starting point for out-of-London travels as roads are relatively uncrowded and attractive, particularly if you sometimes take ‘A’ roads (for example the A3) instead of motorways; sights are plentiful.
Some attractions in the south
An hour or two from London is Wiltshire’s Stonehenge, with its Neolithic standing stones (untouchable) and nearby Avebury‘s smaller (but touchable) stones and the medieval cathedral towns of Salisbury or Winchester.
In the vicinity are rolling Dorset hills studded with iron-age forts such as Bradbury Rings and Maiden Castle, White Horses carved in chalk and the hugely naughty but nice Cerne Giant. Alien crop circles too, if you’re lucky.
About an hour from Salisbury is the pleasant south coast beach resort of Bournemouth with magnificent beaches if chilly water, merging into Poole.
Poole Harbour, the world’s second largest natural harbour after Sydney’s, has a short and attractive ferry ride across the harbour mouth at Sandbanks which leads into the gorgeous rural coastal area of the Purbeck Hills and Corfe Castle.
Dorset’s beaches are some of the best in Britain and blessed with a better climate than just about anywhere else in the UK.
Corfe Castle village in Dorset county
Shell Bay beach, near Poole in Dorset. England’s Beaches
A Roman bath in Bath city, Somerset county