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Gatwick is the UK's second largest airport, handling well in excess of 20 million passengers a year, and is a busy location for car rental. Gatwick is also very close to the M25, making it the ideal place to begin your exploration of the southern part of the UK, and London, the nation's capital.

There are plenty of places to visit around the Gatwick area and car rental makes it easy to discover what is on offer...

The glorious countryside of the southern counties of Surrey, Sussex and Kent are ideal. Kent, often referred to as the Garden of England, is also home to the famous cities of Canterbury and Rochester and here you will also find the splendid coastal resorts of Herne Bay and Whitstable. Rochester is also home to the great Guildhall History Museum.

Surrey also has some great landscapes but more importantly for some (especially the kids), it also has Thorpe Park and the Chessington World of Adventures. Thorpe Park features attractions such as the Nemesis Inferno, an inverted rollercoaster with interlocking corkscrews and Colossus, a record-breaking, multi-looping rollercoaster. The park is situated in Chertsey, which is about 25 km clockwise on the M25 from the M23 junction. Chessington includes both a zoo and a theme park and is just 20 km from Gatwick via the M25 and A243.

The county of Sussex also has its attractions. It shares the magnificent South Downs with its neighbouring county, Hampshire. The South Downs consist essentially of chalk hills, which extend over 260 square miles from the Itchen Valley to Beachy Head in east Sussex. Regarded as one of the foremost landscapes in England, the South Downs National Park is certainly a must-see.

For an entirely different experience, however, take the short trip (28 miles from Gatwick) to Britain's favourite bohemian city, Brighton. Here you will not only find some of the most interesting and colourful people in the country but also plenty of culture and fine dining, with the splendid Pavilion as perhaps the greatest highlight.

If you don't mind travelling a little further, you could always take a day trip to the fascinating Isle of Wight. It can be reached by ferry either from Portsmouth (to Ryde or Fishbourne), Southampton (to Cowes) or Lymington (to Yarmouth). The ferry journey takes between 40 minutes and an hour.

The island is home to some of the most exceptional wildlife in the country and is said to be one of the richest areas for dinosaur fossils in the whole of Europe. It also tends to have a much milder climate than the mainland of Britain. Cowes, Ryde and Shanklin are perhaps the best and most interesting of the isle's many towns.

These are just a few examples of the areas you can explore when flying in to Gatwick Airport.

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