A Taste of Kentish Wines

By Liz Findlay This week (19th – 27th June 2021) is English Wine Week. You may think that the burgeoning wine industry we’re seeing across South-East England is a very recent development.  Many vineyards have become highly successful, winning international acclaim. Wine production however, has its beginnings here hundreds of years ago. In Kent, Romans had vineyards planted extensively across …

SE England Tourist Guides Association – Happy 40th Birthday!

May 2021 On an extremely cold February day in 1981, an intrepid, apprehensive but very enthusiastic group of people embarked on the very first training course for professional South East Blue Badge Tourist Guides (BBTG) organised by the, now superseded, South East England Tourist Board.  Students came from all walks of life; some engaged already in tourism as Tour Managers …

The Smugglers Coast

by Yvonne Leach April 2021  A Smuggler’s Song If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet,Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street,Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie.Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by! Five-and-twenty ponies, trotting through the dark—With brandy for the Parson and ‘baccy for the Clerk.Laces …

Heritage Railways in South East England

by Jonathan Fenner 22nd December 2020 South East England offers rich pickings for heritage railway enthusiasts. Among them is the Bluebell Railway, which celebrated its 60th anniversary this year.   The Bluebell was Britain’s first preserved standard gauge railway and is among our best known tourist attractions. It runs through 11 miles of lush Sussex countryside linking Sheffield Park to the …

In the Footsteps of Charles Dickens

by Robert Sissons 20th October 2020 June 9, 2020 marked the 150th anniversary of the death of England’s most beloved novelist. Although he was born in Portsmouth and spent much of his life in London, Kent is undoubtedly the county most associated with him. The Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, Great Expectations and The Mystery of Edwin Drood are full of …

125 Years of the National Trust

by Sue Duckworth 6th July 2020 This year marks 125 years since the National Trust was founded by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley in 1895.  As properties closed by the COVID-19 crisis begin to reopen, it is perhaps timely to celebrate the anniversary of this much loved and respected institution and its links to our region. …

Sussex Day

By Tania Noddings 16 June 2020 Sussex Day is celebrated on 16 June each year, the feast day of Saint Richard (1197 –1253), the patron saint of Sussex. Richard was Bishop of Chichester and was known for the miracle of the overturned chalice. The story tells that Richard, tired and ill from his labours, was celebrating mass and dropped the …

Fly the Flag for Kent

By Jonathan Fenner 26th May 2020 Encouraged by the British Government, there has recently been a revival of interest in the celebration of County Days by the flying of historic county flags. According to the UK charity The Flag Institute, founded in 1971 to promote interest in flags and flag flying, Kent’s County Flag Day is the 26th May – …

Surrey Day 2020

By Maggie Burghuber 2nd May 2020 We’d like to celebrate our county’s 2nd Surrey Day, promoted by Visit Surrey in partnership with Surrey Life and BBC Surrey, marked this year on the 2nd May 2020. Surrey’s beautiful hills, woods, stately homes and gardens, can be seen in many a film, such as the ancient and unspoilt woodland of Bourne Wood …