High-society sporting occasions include show jumping at Hickstead, racing at Glorious Goodwood and yacht-racing at Cowes, where the firework display is one of the most spectacular. Meanwhile, the Tour de France crosses the Channel to Kent, East
Sussex and Hampshire. And for more Gallic flavour, visit the King's Lynn Festival - which includes works by Moliere and Debussy - or the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival.
For families there are excellent beaches - or get out on the water and watch kingfishers on the Norfolk Broads, or the seals in Blakeney Harbour. We also list the best of the sites, from the Eurotunnel Exhibition Centre to Bodiam Castle. Our guide to places to stay includes a Martello tower on a Suffolk beach, a windmill in Norfolk and cottages above the Needles lighthouse.
THE SOUTH COAST
Beachy Head: 500ft chalk cliffs near Eastbourne, E Sussex. The Heritage Coast walk extends on to the west.
Beaulieu: This New Forest village boasts 13th-century abbey ruins and Lord Montagu's National Motor Museum.
Bluebell Railway Museum: As well as the museum of locomotives and carriages between East Grinstead and Lewes, East Sussex, there are ten miles of working steam railway.
Bodiam Castle: The spiral staircases, curtain walls and battlements of this 14th-century castle in E Sussex provide excitement for children.
Broadlands: Lord Mountbatten's Palladian mansion in Romsey, Hampshire, has beautiful gardens by the river Test.
Bucklers Hard: Perfectly preserved shipbuilding village in the New Forest where 18th- century warships were constructed from local oak.
Chichester Harbour: The sheltered waters are ideal for birdwatching, sailing and canoeing.
Hastings Castle and The 1066 Story: Relive the invasion through the audio-visual display in the castle grounds.
Isle of Wight: Lively seaside resorts such as Ryde, Shanklin and Sandown to the east and the stunning landscape of the Needles and Tennyson Down to the west. Queen Victoria's favourite retreat, Osborne House, is near Cowes.
Marwell Zoo: Covering over 100 acres of parkland near Winchester, Hampshire, the zoo concentrates on breeding rare wild animals.
New Forest: 144 square miles of heath and woodland with excellent walks, picnic spots and opportunities to watch ponies and wild deer. Museum and Visitors' Centre at Lyndhurst at the heart of the Forest.
Portsmouth Museums: Take a tour of Britain's naval heritage by visiting Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory; Henry VIII's recently discovered battleship, the Mary Rose; the D-Day Museum; the Royal Naval Museum and the Royal Marines Museum.
Roman palaces at Fishbourne and Bignor: Some of the best Roman mosaics in Britain are displayed in situ at these two W Sussex museums.
Royal Navy Submarine Museum (Gosport): See Portsmouth Harbour by periscope and take a guided tour of the submarine HMS Alliance.
Royal Pavilion, Brighton: George IV's extraordinary seaside palace with its Indian-style domes and minarets has just been restored.
Weald and Downland Open Air Museum (Singleton): Dozens of historic houses and buildings from the South-east, from a schoolhouse to a charcoal burners' camp, have been re-erected in a beautiful W Sussex downland setting.
Winchester Cathedral: Commissioned by one of William the Conqueror's bishops, the Norman cathedral was transformed into the longest Gothic church in Europe by 1528. Jane Austen is buried near the font.
Gardens: Mottisfont Abbey Garden, near Romsey, Hants; Mottistone Manor Garden (Brook, IoW); Nymans (Handcross, W Sussex); Parham House (Pulborough, W Sussex); Sheffield Park Garden; Uppark (South Harting, W Sussex).