Holiday cottages in the South of England and London
The South of England, South East and London are the UK's richest, busiest and most heavily populated areas, but that doesn't stop them having some superb countryside to add to the wealth of historical sites, picturesque towns and villages, varied coastline and rich cultural life that make this such a rewarding area to take a holiday cottage in.
Find out more about the areas below and choose between holiday cottages in Surrey, Middlesex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, East & West Sussex and Wiltshire. Or look for a cottage in the capital, with Greater London and London self catering flats, houses and apartments.
Throughout this diverse area there are stretches of peaceful countryside ideal for a classic cottage holiday. Examples include the Vale of Pewsey in Wiltshire, the New Forest in Hampshire, the North and South Downs straddling Sussex and Kent, and the Weald and Romney Marsh in Kent. (For cottages in Bedfordshire, please see our East of England section).
The Isle of Wight also has beautiful countryside, with its slightly old-fashioned peace and charm protected by the barrier to modern rush of catching a ferry to get there. The Isle of Wight is of course equally famous for its seaside resorts and yachting harbours, so from your holiday cottage it's easy to combine countryside and seaside.
The same is true of the whole south coast region, with its string of resorts ranging from the big and brash to the small and charming. The long coastline is in turns magnificent, moody and muddy, but seldom dull. Highlights include the Needles on the Isle of Wight, Beachy Head, the White Cliffs of Dover and the strange shingle spit that is Dungeness. Go a few miles inland from anywhere along this coast and you will find pleasant villages and inviting countryside. Even the north coast of Kent, from Whitstable to Margate, has its charms, while inland lies historic Canterbury.
There is probably nowhere else in the country with as many castles, cathedrals, stately homes, museums and historical sites to visit and that's without including London, easily reached for a day trip from anywhere in the region. Britain's maritime history is a strong theme, from Nelson's flagship Victory at Portsmouth to the old naval dockyard at Chatham, via Pevensey where William the Conqueror landed in 1066.
The counties to the north of London are not just commuter country. The Chiltern Hills, for example, though only about 40 miles by 20, are home to a number of attractive villages and handy for attractions like Woburn and Whipsnade Zoo at their northern end and part of the Ridgeway Path along their length. And though Berkshire revels in its status as 'Royal County', with Windsor Castle acting as a magnet for tourists, it has a string of pleasant villages, especially west of Reading (though most of what used to be the Berkshire Downs is now in Oxfordshire!).