Top 15 Enchanting Places to visit in South England

Tips for a last-minute holiday to the UK this summer

[Last updated on 18/08/2023]

The summer holidays are in full swing, and some last-minute travellers are now spoilt for choice. The United Kingdom may not always be the first choice when thinking of a typical summer holiday. But it has so much to offer! Especially this summer, when Southern Europe and many holiday destinations all around the world are suffering from intense heat, a holiday in the UK’s temperate climate sounds more appealing than ever.

This is why this blog focuses on the top 15 enchanting places to visit in South England. Think of the countless sights and the picturesque countryside to be explored on this beautiful island this summer and get ready to discover some hidden gems in South England.

Visit South England London Big Ben

Our Top 15 Enchanting Places to visit in South England

Whether you seek a relaxing beach getaway, a cultural immersion, or an adventure into the past, South England has something special to offer. Including many UNESCO and English Heritage Sites, we take you on a journey through our top 15 places to visit in South England. So, pack your bags! Get ready to explore the enchanting gems that await you in this captivating part of the United Kingdom.

1. London

No list of places to visit in South England would be complete without mentioning the illustrious city of London. This dynamic metropolis is a melting pot of culture, history, and innovation. Immerse yourself in iconic landmarks like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament with its famous bell Big Ben. Take a leisurely stroll along the South Bank of the River Thames where it is quieter than on the busy North side of the river. Visit beautiful and quirky Covent Garden or be amazed by vibrant Piccadilly Circus.

If you find the time, you must see one of the many world-class theatre shows based in London. These are truly mesmerising! The last show we saw is “Moulin Rouge” and it was absolutely fascinating. Indulge in world-class dining, and maybe try out one of many authentic Asian restaurants in and around China Town.

On a sunny day, take a boat along the river, you will not regret it. If you have the time, disembark at the Cutty Sark and explore the area around Greenwich and Canary Wharf. On a rainy day, visit the impressive Natural History Museum with its iconic exhibition on dinosaurs. This can also be recommended with younger children. Or attend the worldwide known British Museum with its many exhibitions. London truly has something for everyone and any weather, making it an essential stop on any South England itinerary.

2. Oxford

Famed for its prestigious university, which is said to be the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and stunning architecture, Oxford is a city north-west of London that exudes intellect and charm. Marvel at the historic Bodleian Library, explore the Ashmolean Museum, and take a relaxing punt along the Cherwell River.

As a small student town, the charm of Oxford lies in its laid-back atmosphere. Boasting with greenery and parks, the main mean of transport are bicycles rather than cars. This city offers a fascinating blend of academia and culture, making it a must-visit destination in South England.

3. Bath

Step back in time to the Roman era with a visit to the elegant city of Bath. Home to the iconic Roman Baths, this UNESCO World Heritage site captivates visitors with its stunning Georgian architecture and natural hot springs. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon at the Thermae Bath Spa. Or take a stroll along the charming little streets lined with quaint boutiques and tea rooms. Since houses in Bath are built from a locally found yellowish limestone, Bath has a unique appearance. It reminds its visitors of ancient historical times and a step back in time.

Visit South England Brighton
4. Brighton

A vibrant and open-minded seaside town known for its quirky atmosphere, Brighton offers a delightful mix of entertainment, culture, and stunning coastal views. Throughout the United Kingdom, Brighton is famous as the “capital of the LGBTQ+” community and its eco-friendly mindset. Therefore, a stroll around its many independent shops can be something unique and special. You might even get to know some interesting people along the way.

Enjoy the vibrant Brighton Pier with its vast open view along the coast and stroll along the pebbled beach. Explore the famous North Laine area, brimming with shops, cafes, and street performers. Because of its diversity, Brighton definitely deserves its spot in the places to visit in South England.

5. The New Forest National Park

Situated between the cities of Southampton and Bournemouth, arriving at the park from either of those two cities will feel like stepping into another world. For nature lovers, the New Forest offers a sanctuary of ancient woodlands, heathlands, and wildlife. Explore on foot or horseback, enjoy cycling trails, and embark on serene walks in this tranquil national park. In addition to walking and horse riding, the New Forest offers various outdoor activities. Canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding on the Beaulieu River are just a few options.

The New Forest is famous for its free-roaming ponies, cattle, and other animals. Watching these animals grazing peacefully in their natural habitat is a unique experience that adds to the charm of the park. Furthermore, it has been designated as a Dark Sky Reserve, making it an ideal destination for stargazing on clear nights.

6. Isle of Wight

Separated from the mainland by a short ferry ride, the Isle of Wight is a gem that showcases the best of coastal England. Because of its size, you can explore the island within a couple of days, or even on a day trip. Visit the enchanting Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s former residence, explore the Needles landmark, and bask in the natural beauty of the island’s beaches and cliffs. The ferries to the island start from coastal towns in the area, like Southampton or Portsmouth.

Visit South England Cotswolds
7. The Cotswolds

Escape to the idyllic countryside of the Cotswolds, a region between the cities Oxford, Bath and Gloucester. It is characterised by its rolling hills, honey-coloured stone cottages and charming villages. Explore picture-perfect towns like Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury, and Castle Combe. Take leisurely walks along the Cotswold Way for breathtaking views of the landscape.

The Cotswolds are a magical and inviting destination that epitomizes the quintessential charm of rural England. This region offers an enriching and unforgettable experience, and are sure to leave you with cherished memories and a deep appreciation for the beauty of this timeless English countryside.

8. Windsor

Nestled along the River Thames, Windsor is a charming town famous for its royal connections and the iconic Windsor Castle. It is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. Windsor can easily be explored by foot which makes it a relaxing and laid-back experience. Visit the Changing of the Guard ceremony or take a relaxing boat trip on the river for a unique perspective of the town’s historic landmarks. Don’t forget to stroll down “The Long Walk” and feel the atmosphere of this historic place. This is where many British kings and queens set their foot before you did! Most recently, many British people and mourners from around the world showed their respect to the late Queen Elizabeth II by laying down flowers and other presents.

9. Portsmouth

Portsmouth is a captivating city that offers a perfect blend of history, maritime heritage, and modern attractions. Visit the historic dockyard and explore famous ships like the HMS Victory and the Mary Rose. Portsmouth’s vibrant waterfront area offers an array of restaurants, cafes, and cultural venues to enjoy. The Spinnaker Tower is an iconic landmark, offering panoramic views of the city, the surrounding coastline, and the Isle of Wight. A glass-floored Sky Walk and Sky Garden provide exhilarating experiences for those seeking a bit of excitement. For a rainy day, save your time to visit one of the many interesting museums in Portsmouth. Exciting examples are the D-Day Museum or the Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum.

10. Stonehenge

No visit to South England would be complete without marvelling at the enigmatic wonder of Stonehenge. This ancient stone circle, dating back over 4,000 years, continues to intrigue visitors with its mysterious origins and celestial alignments. If you are fascinated by ancient history, visiting this incredible sight and its Neolithic village is a must! You can easily spend a whole day in the area, attending a tour and visiting the museum. Even for kids there are plenty of interesting options to keep busy and learn about this English Heritage sight in a fun way.

Visit South England Cornwall
11. Cornwall

Cornwall’s rugged coastline, sandy beaches, and picturesque fishing villages make it a popular destination for summer getaways. Its dramatic cliffs and hidden coves make it so unique amongst the places to visit in South England that it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience nobody should miss out on. Discover the captivating charm of the former fishing village St Ives or explore the dramatic cliffs at Land’s End. Take a look at the world-famous Eden Project, a spectacular garden housed in futuristic biomes. And don’t forget to visit one of the many local pubs in the area to treat yourself to a scrumptious Cornish pasty at the end of your day!

12. The Jurassic Coast

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Jurassic Coast is a treasure trove of geological wonders, history, and breathtaking views. Stretching over roughly 150km from the most western spot on Orcombe Point to Swanage in the east, the Jurassic Coast provides a rare glimpse into Earth’s history spanning over 185 million years.

The coastal cliffs and rock formations contain an abundance of fossils and unique geological features, showcasing the Earth’s ancient past. Therefore, it is one of the most significant places on the planet for understanding the Earth’s history and the evolution of life. Visitors can participate in fossil hunting guided tours, led by experts who help them uncover ancient relics. 

From iconic landmarks like Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove to charming coastal towns such as Lyme Regis and Swanage, the Jurassic Coast offers a diverse range of sights and attractions to explore. The Jurassic Coast promises an unforgettable journey through time and nature, and therefore deserves a spot in our top places to visit in South England.

13. Winchester

Discover the medieval charm of Winchester, the ancient capital of England. The magnificent Winchester Cathedralis one of the city’s most prominent landmarks and a masterpiece of medieval architecture.

Explore the historic Great Hall with King Arthur’s Round Table or enjoy the city’s vibrant arts and cultural scene. It is also home to Winchester College, founded in 1382, and one of the oldest public schools in the world. Guided tours provide insight into the school’s history and traditions, allowing visitors to step back in time.

Wandering through the town by foot is a must to truly take in the old English architecture and atmosphere. Winchester is one of the quaintest English towns that capture the spirit of England. In our opinion, this makes it one of the best places to visit in South England.

14. Canterbury

Canterbury is a captivating city that seamlessly blends its historical heritage with a vibrant cultural scene. The Cathedral is one of the most significant Christian pilgrimage sites in the world. It’s an architectural masterpiece and a symbol of the city’s religious importance. The city’s narrow streets are lined with traditional medieval timber-framed buildings, quaint shops, and cozy cafes. A leisurely stroll through the historic city centre offers an authentic glimpse into Canterbury’s past and its unique charm.

The River Stour flows through Canterbury, providing picturesque riverside walks and boat tours. These “punting tours” on the river are a popular and enjoyable way to explore the city’s waterways and sights. Guided tours provide fascinating insights into Canterbury’s history and landmarks. The “Canterbury Tales” attraction brings Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous medieval stories to life, offering an interactive and immersive experience into the world of medieval England.

Whether you are interested in history, culture, shopping, or simply enjoying the beauty of the English countryside, Canterbury is a good place to visit and promises a memorable and enriching travel experience.

Visit South England Dover
15. The White Cliffs of Dover

The White Cliffs of Dover are a magnificent natural wonder and situated on the southeastern coast of England. Overlooking the English Channel, these iconic white chalk cliffs offer a breathtaking and unforgettable experience for visitors. The cliffs are one of the most recognisable and iconic landmarks in England. They offer a brilliant white appearance contrasting against the deep blue of the sea.

They are a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers. There are well-maintained walking paths that wind along the cliff edge, providing spectacular views of the coastline and the English Channel. Being a famous part of the “Dunkirk Evacuation”, the cliffs are also a must to see for history lovers.

Explore these marvellous places to visit in South England

South England is a captivating region filled with a tapestry of enchanting destinations, each offering unique experiences and memories waiting to be created. Whether you find yourself drawn to the historic streets of London, the tranquil beauty of the Cotswolds, or the coastal allure of Cornwall, this diverse part of the UK promises an unforgettable journey through time, culture, and natural wonders. So, immerse yourself in the charm of South England. Embark on a summer adventure that will leave you with cherished memories to last a lifetime.

Here’s a map of our best places to help plan your visit to South England. 

South England Map 900x600

Take English lessons before you go!

So, now that you are convinced about where you would like to spend your next holiday, you can start planning your trip to the South of England! There is also time to take some English lessons before go so that you can have a fully immersive experience.

We offer online English lessons where our trainers can focus on developing your English fluency before your trip. They help you to communicate in English confidently and give valuable feedback and error correction to help you to improve more quickly. Contact us and we will support you with what you need!

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