South East England
Off the beaten track

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Our most recommended South East England Off the beaten track

From London: Oxford and Cotswolds Villages Day Trip

1. From London: Oxford and Cotswolds Villages Day Trip

Depart London and travel by a luxury Mercedes mini-coach to spend the morning exploring the beautiful university city of Oxford. Wander amongst the listed buildings and colleges, and climb one of the vantage points for breathtaking views of the spires. Marvel at the Ashmolean Museum's collection, then head towards the quaint Cotswolds villages to see traditional tiny cottages built from stone. Visit the village of Burford, the Gateway to the Cotswolds, and experience the small market town. Stop at another Cotswold village before heading to Bibury, where you will stroll through the famous Arlington Row.

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Oxford: Afternoon Tea Sightseeing River Cruise

2. Oxford: Afternoon Tea Sightseeing River Cruise

Traveling down the University Regatta course, the boat passes Christ Church Meadows, the University College Boat Houses, and other landmarks on your way to Iffley lock. This is often a busy and vibrant section of the river where training rowing crews, punts, and pleasure boats jostle for river space in a wonderful display of Oxford at play. Passing through the lock at Iffley is an experience in itself. The river scenery and fascinating buildings combine to form a picture perfect location. Beyond Iffley you will travel into the tranquil water meadows that surround Oxford and there are abundant opportunities to spot wildlife amongst the green banks and overhanging willows. The boat turns for home at Rose Island, a favourite destination of Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell on their river journeys. Aboard the boat an indulgent afternoon tea is provided by the renowned riverside restaurant, the Folly. The traditional menu typically includes: a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, a selection of cakes, tarts, or petit fours, and tea.

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3-day Isle of Wight & the Southern Coast Small-Group Tour

3. 3-day Isle of Wight & the Southern Coast Small-Group Tour

Day 1: Get your sunglasses and sun cream ready, you’re departing London and heading to the sunny, southern Isle of Wight. First, head to the ancient port-city of Portsmouth. This bustling spot blends modern marvels with centuries of sea-faring stories. You can grab a bite to eat here before your guide picks you up and takes you to the ferry at Gunwharf Terminal. It takes less than an hour and there’s plenty of onboard refreshments. Your first stop on the Isle of Wight is the important religious site of Quarr Abbey. The building here is beautiful and combines French, Byzantine, and Moorish designs. Then, you will get to meet some real local heroes. In the evening, you'll arrive at the unforgettably quaint village of Shanklin in time for an early dinner.  Day 2: Today, you’re going to discover the unmissable highlights of the Isle of Wight. After an enjoyable breakfast you will venture to the Yarborough Monument. This is the tallest monument on the island and celebrates the life of a wealthy earl from the 19th century. Continue to a photo-stop at the beautiful views of endless green fields at Brading Downs and then head to Osborne House - Queen Victoria's holiday destination! Explore the Italian-style building and discover pristine green gardens, ornate golden rooms, and historically fascinating artefacts. After witnessing that magnificent man-made marvel, it’s time to see the Isle of Wight’s most beautiful natural wonder, the Needles. These sharp white stacks that stick out of the ocean are beautiful to behold. You can hop on a boat to get close to them and venture to an old defensive battery that’s nearby. Your last stop today is at the cliffs of St. Catherine’s Down. As the sun starts to set, these epic cliffs and green valleys look stunning. You travel back to Shanklin in time for dinner. Day 3: In the morning, say goodbye to Shanklin and head on the ferry back to Portsmouth. Now that you’ve reacquainted yourself with the mainland, travel to one of England’s most history-soaked cities, Winchester. Visit the glorious cathedral, an ancient mill, cute cafes, and more than enough museums. After you’ve studied up on the history of England, it’s time to go have some fun. Visit the home of one of the world’s most popular gins, Bombay Sapphire. Once you’ve had enough of the tipple, it’s time to head back to London. Make a short stop at Runnymede before arriving in London in the evening.

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Oxford and The Cotswolds: 3-Day Small-Group Tour

4. Oxford and The Cotswolds: 3-Day Small-Group Tour

The first day of your tour will begin with you leaving London at 9:15AM, after which you will visit the world heritage site of Blenheim Palace. Learn about the history, explore the gardens, or even take a ride on the estate’s very own miniature railway line. Following lunch you will continue to the Rollright Standing Stones, these are an ancient complex of Neolithic and bronze age monuments that sit on the crest of the Cotswold Hills. This magnificent site marks the borderlands between the great counties of Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. You will round off the afternoon with a visit to the Hook Norton Brewery, where you will learn about the production of beer in one of the Cotswolds’ most beautiful areas and savor a lovingly produced local drink. At this conclusion of this day you will travel to Stratford Upon Avon which will be your base for the next two nights. On the second day you will travel to Warwick Castle, one of England’s best preserved medieval castles. Dating back to the time of William the Conqueror, Warwick Castle is often named as one of the best historic monuments in Britain. In the early afternoon, you will return to Stratford Upon Avon, the birthplace and home of the playwright William Shakespeare. Here you will have a chance to explore the places that shaped the life of Shakespeare, by visiting Shakespeare’s birthplace. At the conclusion of this day you will have an overnight in Stratford and soak up the ambience of this historic and inspiring settlement. On the morning of your final day, you will leave Stratford Upon Avon on a journey to the Cotswolds, a huge area that covers five counties and offers a variety of unique landscapes and charming villages. The rolling hills, villages, and farms of this area give you a glimpse back in time to an England with a gentler pace of life. The first stop of the day is Broadway Tower, a unique Saxon tower with a curious history. Then visit Stow on the Wold, the highest of the Cotswolds Towns. The large market square is testament to the huge markets and fairs that were once held in this hill top market town. You will continue onto Bourton on the Water, nestling in the rolling Cotswolds hills. Known as "The Venice of the Cotswolds", you have time to explore this ancient village that has stood on this spot since Anglo Saxon times. Your final stop of the tour is in the City of Oxford, here you have time to explore the beautiful listed buildings, explore the precincts of the colleges, climb one of the vantage points to take in the skyline, or see the art and antique collections in the Ashmolean Museum. At the conclusion of this day you will return back to London.

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From London: Bombay Sapphire Gin & Winchester Tour

5. From London: Bombay Sapphire Gin & Winchester Tour

Departing from London in the morning, you’ll head straight for one of England’s most history-rich cities, Winchester. Ambling the paths and lanes of the ancient city, you’ll have free time to stop by the glorious cathedral, the ancient mill, a bevy of cute cafes, and more than enough museums. After you’ve explored the picturesque town, it’s time to head for the boozy destination of the day –  Laverstoke Mill, where one of the world’s most popular gins, Bombay Sapphire, is distilled. But it’s not just the booze that’s brilliant at the Laverstoke Mill; the exhibition and Victorian architecture are as interesting as they are beautiful.  Once you’ve had enough gin for the day, it’s time to head home. The tour makes a short stop for refreshments at the quaint riverside town of Runnymede, before arriving back in London in the evening.

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London: Hidden Powers Walking Tour

6. London: Hidden Powers Walking Tour

Learn about Britain's cultural and economic influence on the rest of the world on a walking tour of London. Your guide will tell you how Britain influences the world and why the English language has become international. As you walk through the city's most important streets, find out about the British institutions that shape the global balance of power. Meet your guide at the Banqueting House on Whitehall and walk to the British Council. Continue to Chatham House and hear about secret political rule. See the high council of Freemasonry and discover the history of the symbol they use. Visit the place that was the Ministry of Information during WWII and New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service. Go to 10 Downing Street, where Prime Ministers had lived since 1732.  Take the tube to Bracken House, where your guide will explain to you why Winston Churchill's face features on its clock. Enjoy walking through the City of London, the oldest part of London, before your guide takes you to the London Stock Exchange, where your tour will end. 

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The Roman City of St. Albans: Full-Day Tour from London

7. The Roman City of St. Albans: Full-Day Tour from London

Start the day at your hotel in London or at a convenient meeting point, and enjoy a scenic ride out of the city and through the beautiful English countryside. Once in St. Albans, embark on your guided tour through the city, visiting its ancient Roman ruins left over from the old city walls, and walk up the city's hill to the magnificent St. Albans Abbey, the ancient cathedral of the city and resting place of an early Christian martyr. Stop along the way for some refreshments, and reward yourself with a beer at one of the England's oldest pubs. Before heading back to London, pay a visit the bustling English market of St. Albans, and visit the ancient church said to be the final resting place of Sir Francis Bacon.

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Lacock Village: Day Tour from London by Private Car

8. Lacock Village: Day Tour from London by Private Car

Visit Lacock, a typical southern English village, on a full-day private tour from London. Situated in the county of Wiltshire, Lacock has the appearance of being frozen in time, which is one of the reasons it has been used as the setting for BBC TV series and films such as Harry Potter. Your tour will take you from London to charming Lacock village and the incredible abbey around which the village was built. After functioning as an abbey for centuries, the historic structure became a private home. The village itself is well worth exploring. It features a selection of very traditional pubs, shops, and a lovely church, and is also home to one of the finest ice cream sellers in the region. Near Lacock is the mysterious stone circle of Avebury, the largest man-made stone circle in Europe. On the return drive to London you can stop off at Silbury Hill, a large prehistoric mound which is roughly comparable in height and age to the pyramids in Egypt.

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Other Sightseeing Options in South East England

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What people are saying about South East England

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 72 reviews

This trip was awesome! Not only the Cotswolds and Oxford were beautiful, but we also got enough time to see each place calmly and Graham was one of the best guides we’ve ever had. He was very knowledgeable and entertaining, so it was a pleasure to go on the trip with him and listen to all the stories and interesting facts.

Dan our driver was amazing! He was very knowledgeable and entertaining! Even his music playlist on the drive was soothing and enjoyable. He answered all of our questions without hesitation and made the day loads of fun! I look forward to booking another tour soon!

The trip was very nice. the driver and guide was very responsible, gave good explanations and brought to our attention the main things (to see, to go, to do). the landscape was great and very nice people attended the activity,

The tour guide, Robert, was very informative and patient. Overall a pleasant trip, but it's better to plan your visit before arriving in Oxford.

Loved this trip! The guide was very friendly & informative.