South East England is made up of nine counties, with popular student cities in Brighton & Hove, Oxford, Portsmouth, Reading, and Southampton. The area sees plenty of sunshine and Brighton – the LGBTQ+ capital of the UK – is a student favourite, with tons of quirky shops, cafes, arts, nightlife and watersports. Moving east into Kent, you'll find the charming towns of Whitstable, Broadstairs, and Margate – all bursting with literary history – plus the iconic landmarks of Dover’s white cliffs and Canterbury Cathedral. London is an hour or two away for gigs, theatre trips and capital city adventures, while the country’s two largest airports – Heathrow and Gatwick – mean international journeys are easy to get started.

Providers in the South East

City guides

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Counties of the South East


The Royal County of Berkshire has an illustrious reputation, with Windsor Castle serving as a royal residence for almost a thousand years.

You’ll also find Eton College and Royal Ascot racecourse among its lush countryside settings, plus the Reading music festival.


Over a third of the county is made up of the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and a haven for long walks and bike rides.

‘Bucks’ is also synonymous with Roald Dahl, with plenty of events and activities dedicated to the author and his works.

East Sussex

Looking for a famous beach, proudly inclusive community, creativity, and lively venues? Brighton & Hove is a popular destination for students and diverse communities from the UK and around the world.

You can also follow the Seven Sisters Walk along the chalky white cliffs to explore the smaller coastal towns Eastbourne and Hastings.


Hampshire offers a little of everything. You can visit coastal cities with rich maritime histories like Portsmouth and Southampton – or the picturesque ex-capital of England, Winchester.

You'll also be able to explore vast open spaces in the South Downs and the New Forest.

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is a county and small island off the south coast of England. A popular holiday destination, with plenty of watersports and locally made ice cream, it’s picked up the nickname ‘Dinosaur Island’ for the extensive dinosaur remains that have been discovered here.

Despite its size and location, it’s also home to one of the music calendar’s biggest highlights, the Isle of Wight festival.


Named the ‘Garden of England’ by Henry VIII, Kent is swimming in history.

You'll find medieval castles, cathedrals, and charming seaside towns straight out of a Dickens’ novel.


Of course, Oxford is home to one of the world’s oldest universities – with plenty of stunning architecture to wander around.

But there’s plenty of beautiful scenery beyond the city’s cobbled streets. The Cotswolds, the Chiltern Hills, and the North Wessex Downs all spread into Oxfordshire.


From Guildford to Richmond, Surrey includes vibrant towns and South London boroughs – with central London just a short train ride away.

Plus there's plenty of nature and untouched woodland, with beautiful spots like Richmond Park and Box Hill when you need a break.

West Sussex

Chichester is the county’s main student hub. There's a lot to see – from a stunning cathedral and Roman ruins to a harbour that’s an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Chichester also has West Wittering beach, with many more coastal gems across West Sussex – including Worthing, Bognor Regis, and Littlehampton.

Study options

Find courses and apprenticeships in the South East: