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Despite this perhaps bleak summary of regional identity, many local traditions and folklore continue to survive.

Various cities and counties remain strongly attached to their local industries, for example Kent is associated with fruit production, while Southampton continues to act as a centre for container and cruise shipping.

In Berkshire, you can try to spot Herne the Hunter, an antlered huntsman who is believed to haunt the forests around Windsor.

And the Devil's Punch Bowl in Surrey has numerous origin tales attached to it, including that the Devil left a massive crater after jumping from neighbouring Sussex and that the bowl was created by two giants fighting.

Wherever you are in the region, you will find dedicated walking guides for sale in tourist information centres and book shops, and you can usually pick up high quality large-scale maps from petrol stations and newsagents.

The best maps for walking are produced by the Ordnance Survey.

Reading has a major interchange station at the crossroads of the north-south and east-west networks.

However, for ease of accessibility, especially when exploring the countryside, a car can be a very useful thing to have.

Many rural attractions are not served by public transport so driving is essential if you plan on visiting a lot of these.

Every city, town and village has at least one good car park and many towns that are popular with visitors have a park and ride service, though you may be put off by how much you have to pay for the privilege.

Venture beyond these icons and you will discover a place blessed with a long and beautiful coastline, two national parks (the New Forest and the South Downs) and eight designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The region's cities each have something unique to offer; from the seat of England's oldest university, to the country's former capital, from maritime Portsmouth to bohemian Brighton, the South East really does have some of the UK's best cities.

The Eurostar runs passenger trains from major cities in mainland Europe to Ashford, Ebbsfleet and London St. If you're bringing your car, Eurotunnel offers a vehicle and passenger shuttle service between Calais in France and Folkestone in Kent.

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