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South East hidden gems: escaping the everyday

Discover quirky characters, peaceful places and new experiences with our pick of remarkable sights and amazing activities in south-east England

When you do have time for a day out, you can reach amazing seaside destinations around Kent and East Sussex by train. Go on a day trip and seek out our hidden gems below, and make the most of this summer’s ticket offers to key destinations. Find out more here and don’t forget to share your hidden gems with Southeastern online via #SEhiddengems!

A dip on the Charlton riviera

A dip on the Charlton riviera

Charlton Lido, refurbished in 2013, boasts a gym, a teaching pool, a café and a couple of rather pleasant sun terraces. The 50m outdoor pool in Hornfair Park is popular with families and fitness fanatics alike. It may not boast the art deco beauty of its more famous neighbour Brockwell Lido in Herne Hill, but this one's fully heated year round to an inviting 25C.

www.better.org.uk/venues/charlton-lido

Getting there by train: Charlton

Oare Gunpowder Works

Oare Gunpowder Works

Now a tranquil country park, this leafy walking spot has a long and less peaceful history. Once the centre of the British explosives industry, the labyrinth of water mills, reinforced brick canyons and streams belies the giant explosion that ripped through the Oare Gunpowder Works in 1916 and was heard as far away as Great Yarmouth. The attractive market town of Faversham, home of Britain's oldest brewery, is strong on great pubs and restaurants, while keen walkers and birdwatchers can follow the Saxon Shore Way out of town to explore the lovely marshland landscape.

www.gunpowderworks.co.uk

Getting there by train: Faversham

Explore subterranean suburbia

Explore subterranean suburbia

The 22 miles of man-made chalk caves running beneath the suburban streets of Chislehurst hide many secrets. They've been used as the setting for ‘Doctor Who’, hosted gigs by Bowie, the Stones and Jimi Hendrix, and sheltered Londoners from the Blitz. They may or may not date back to the Romans or further, and many people claim they're haunted. Lamplit guided tours (approximately 1 mile) run every hour, from 10am to 4pm.

www.chislehurst-caves.co.uk

Getting there by train: Chislehurst

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Brogdale fruit collections

Brogdale fruit collections

How many kinds of apple are there? You could think of six or seven maybe, but there are 2,200 varieties in the collection at Brogdale, along with 550 types of pear, and countless cherries, berries, quinces and medlars to boot. The National Fruit Collection performs a valuable function in preserving our juiciest bits of heritage, but also offers fun events throughout the seasons, with a Cherry Fair in July, and Plum Day and the understandably popular Artisan Cider Festival in August. There are Beastie Days for bug-hunting kids too.

www.brogdalecollections.org/the-marketplace

Getting there by train: Faversham

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