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Southern England: 10 Best, Time Required, & 10 Most Overrated?

Southern England: 10 Best, Time Required, & 10 Most Overrated?

Old Jan 24th, 2004, 04:14 PM
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Southern England: 10 Best, Time Required, & 10 Most Overrated?

We have 7 days in Southern England (based in Maidstone, Kent) before spending an additional week in London. There is far too much to see. To make matters worse, this is to be the relaxing leg of the vacation, and my wife and I would rather not be rushing from place to place in an effort to maximize the ratio of places seen per unit time. That means that we have to make choices, and we could use some help.

Given an arc from Bath to Canterbury, with an emphasis on Kent, what do you find most compelling, what would you say are most overrated, and what valued destinations can be easily (!) paired in a single day?

And, while you're at it, what are the 3 best places to eat that do not require a coat and tie?

Thanks, folks. You've no ide how much I enjoy and appreciate the input.
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Old Jan 24th, 2004, 05:13 PM
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We thoroughly enjoyed the clifftop hike over the "Seven Sisters" from West Dean to the outskirts of Seaford.

Churchill's home at Chartwell and nearby Hever Castle - Anne Boleyn's home - was memorable. Sissinghurst too.

Rye is as nice a village as you'd want to visit. Also worthwhile: Scotney Castle, Bodiam Castle and Ightham Mote.

This is just a taste of the Kent/E. Sussex area, to say nothing of all the other goodies westward towards Bath.
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Old Jan 24th, 2004, 05:50 PM
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There is just sooooooo much to see and do in Kent/East Sussex that you would really not need to venture outside their boundries.

The Gardens and castles in Kent alone could fill several weeks w/o driving more than 40 miles total in any day.

You can visit things like Sissinghurst, Dover castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Scotney Castle, Hever, Knole, Pennshurst Place, Leeds Castle -- just too many to list.

If I were based near maidstone for a week there is no way I'd drive all the way over to Bath.

If you want to go a little farther afield you could visit Brighton, Arundel, Chichester, etc. But stick closer to home - it will be more leisurely and you will not run out of things to see.
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Old Jan 25th, 2004, 04:54 PM
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Avebury, West Kennet Passage Grave are two of my favorites. You can also see the locks as Devzies (sp?) on the same day.

I also liked the Cheddar Gorge
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Old Jan 25th, 2004, 06:14 PM
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My parents live in the area you'll be visiting and so far you're getting great advice...if you're interested in church architecture then the early gothic cathedral at Rochester is not to be missed. It's very close to Maidstone (20 mins)and Rochester castle a Norman ruin right next door.

If you like gardens or are interested in Garden design I'd suggest Great Dixter which is Christopher Lloyd's garden and also Bateman's Rudyard Kipling's .

There is also Leeds Castle which is very lovely from the outside though the inside is disapointing and I think the whole thing is overrated. It may be worth checking their website as during the summer the do have fireworks displays and classical concerts where you can bring a picnic and listen to the music as you overlook the floodlit castle.

Canterbury is of course a must but I agree with the advice to give Bath a miss. On the way to Canterbury you could stop in Chilham which is a pretty village on the A28. It is a very long drive if you don't want to be rushing from place to place.

In terms of food I'd get something like the good pub guide. We like the pub the "Who'd a Thought it" which is a 16th century pub in the countryside outside of Lenham (a very pretty village) near Leeds Castle.Sign posted at the first turn after Leeds Castle on the A20 as you head towards Charing. They have excellent seafood. Also the Three Chimney's (which is out in the countryside near Biddenden) has good food.

Hope that helps!
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