While London boasts a huge number of attractions, there's more to see in South East England than the tourist sights in the capital city of London.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth
The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the United Kingdom and it’s definitely one of the must see things in South East England.
The Historic Dockyard is located not far from the city center of Portsmouth (just 30 mins walk) and entrance to the dock includes touring the HMS war ships (“Iron Ship” Warrior and Nelson’s Victory) and visiting the onsite museums (the Royal Naval and Mary Rose museums) where you get to learn cool stuff about the navy life.
Another great thing you get to do at the Historic Dockyard is go on a cruise of the harbor, which is also part of the admission price to the site. The harbor cruise lasts about 50 minutes and allows the best view of the war ships.
Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes
If you’re a war buff, you won’t want to miss the chance to see the hideaway where Churchill's code-breakers were able to hack into Germany's Enigma machine and Hitler's personal super-code machine.
Bletchley Park is located roughly 70 minutes drive northwest of London and not only offers a great opportunity to learn about the famous WWII code breakers but also see reconstructions of the “Colossus” machine (the world’s first digital computer), the bombe machine (used by the British to decipher the Enigma) and other Enigma decoding machines.
During your visit to Bletchley Park, you’ll also get to see memorabilia belonging to Churchill, vintage cars that were used in the film “The Eagle Has Landed” and a scale model of a German WW II U-boat.
Windsor Castle is billed as the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and it’s without a doubt, one the most interesting things to see in the South East of England. Windsor Castle is located just 40 minutes drive east of London and it’s easily one of the most stunning castles you will visit anywhere in Europe.
Walking the grounds and interior of Windsor Castle really gives an idea of how vast, grand and lavish the castle truly is.
Things you’ll see during your visit to Windsor Castle include the Round Tower (oldest part of the castle) and the State Apartments, which include the king’s bedchamber, dressing and dining room.
Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
While visiting the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth, you also cannot miss seeing the spectacular Spinnaker Tower, which is located in Gunwharf Quays (just a short walk down the road from the dockyard) .
The Spinnaker observation tower is 360ft tall and its three viewing areas allow you to get fantastic 360 degree views over the city of Portsmouth, the sea and the harbor. Besides enjoying the views, you’ll also be able to enjoy cool visitor experiences at the tower such as abseiling and walking barefooted across a glass floor.
Winchester Cathedral, Winchester
The Winchester Cathedral is located right in the heart of the city centre of Winchester and it’s easily one of the most stunning churches you can visit in England. The cathedral boasts a 900 year-old history as well as the longest nave ever built on any Gothic cathedral in Europe.
The minute you step inside Winchester Cathedral, you can appreciate the jaw-dropping high ceilings and the stunning stained glass windows. Touring the church also includes seeing the crypt, the library and the gallery above the nave, which are home to the famous Shaftesbury Bowl (the only Saxon glass of its kind in England) and the Winchester Bible (oldest and best preserved 12th century English bible).
National Motor Museum, Hampshire
If you’re a James Bond fan, the National Motor Museum should definitely be at the top of your list of things to see in the south east of England. The National Motor museum is located in the village of Beaulieu (30 minutes drive south of Southampton) and boasts the largest collection of James Bond cars and gadgets you’ll ever see anywhere in the world.
Besides seeing the cool cars on display another thing that makes the National Motor Museum such a great place to visit is the New Forest. The museum is nestled right within the beautiful New Forest national park, which offers nice opportunities for wildlife viewing and outdoor activities (horse riding, picnicking, cycling, fishing, walking, kayaking, camping, etc).
Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury
Waddesdon Manor is one of the most beautiful examples of French architecture you’ll see in the south east England region and it's totally worth seeing. The manor was built in the late 19th century and it’s one of the grandest residences owned by the Rothschild family.
Cool features about the Waddesdon Manor include staircase-towers modeled after the Chateau de Chambord and the Proserpina fountain taken form the Palace of the Dukes of Colorno in Parma Italy.
During the tour of the residence you get to see interesting memorabilia belonging to the Rothschilds, as well as visit the outdoor aviary and wine cellar. In all, seeing this stunning National Trust property won't disappoint!
By the way, Waddesdon Manor is located not far from Milton Keynes so it’s a good idea to plan a visit there when visiting Bletchley Park.
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