Where to go?
In early September, I had a week off where I wanted to use part of the time to go away somewhere to relax and work on my blog. So where to go?
I was looking on Air Bnb for a place to stay in either Rochester or Canterbury. Canterbury was my first choice but I could not find any suitable accommodation through Air Bnb and I did find a place in Rochester. However when I messaged the owner, he could not confirm the nights I wanted until a few days before I was intending to travel. That wasn’t any good for me so I decided to leave Rochester for another trip and search for hotels in Canterbury. I was intending on staying for two nights, heading off on a Monday and returning on a Wednesday.
In my long and frenzied search I discovered the York Lodge Guest House. It is located a ten minute walk away from the centre of Canterbury making it ideal. The lovely photos of the rooms and house interior made this the place I chose to stay. A video with the owner Vicky and opinions from previous guests helped too.
So why Canterbury, you may be asking? Passing through on a couple of occasions on the coach the site of the defensive walls left me wondering, what other historical sites are in Canterbury? Since then it has been on my list of places to visit and the perfect opportunity had come to now go.
Now that I had my accommodation arranged I needed to decided whether I was going to travel o Canterbury by coach or train. Going by coach was cheaper however when I looked at the times available none were suitable. Travelling on a Monday I wanted to reach Canterbury by around 3pm but there were only coaches available in the early morning and evening. Very odd I thought, so I opted for the train.
Canterbury has two train stations Canterbury West and Canterbury East. There are so many trains going to both stations from different London stations. You can get to Canterbury from Victoria, Charing Cross or St Pancras. How long?
The train I booked had the best arrival time for when I wanted to reach the hotel. This meant that I was getting off at Canterbury East. Little did I know that this was the furthest station away from the hotel. So I had to take a longer walk through the centre of Canterbury in the late heat of summer. The good part of getting off at Canterbury East is that you need to cross over a bridge if you are going to the centre of town and this gives you a great view of the defensive wall.
When I reached York Lodge I found Vicky very welcoming. We quite easily engaged in conversation about why I was staying in Canterbury and places to go. My room was cosy but I had to move the dresser to a new spot so I had enough room to use it as a make shift desk to do writing later. To be honest I was just glad to sit for a moment after a long walk from the station. Thankfully on the return trip home I was going from Canterbury West, which is closer to the centre of town and the hotel.
Evening in Canterbury
As the evening drew closer I headed to the centre of Canterbury to get a better impression of the area. Along St Dunstan’s Street there is a rail crossing that I had to take a photo of, as it is something I don’t come across everyday in London. At the south end of St Dunstan’s Street is the Western Towers that has stood for over six centuries. It is an imposing site that leads into high street along Peter’s Street. What fascinated me is seeing the modern restaurant, cafés and retail shops all encased within old architectural buildings. It is such an interested contrast, old meeting new. It feels such a world away from the purpose built shopping centres found in big cities.
I was following a tourist map given to me by Vicky and went to the Christchurch Gate that led to Canterbury Cathedral. I wasn’t going there that evening, but to see it so close was a wonderful site. Nearby I went to Byron Burger for dinner and read more of the How to Read Castle book I had with me. After this I headed back to my hotel room for some late night writing.
The Goods Shed
Tuesday morning began with a cooked breakfast from Vicky to me set up for the busy day of exploring ahead. Next to Canterbury West station was The Goods Shed, a café/ bar set within a farmers market. Its rustic environment is something I enjoy and it inspired me change the look and feel of my blog. It full of people shopping, having a coffee and eating brunch. A perfect place if you want to relax somewhere away from the town centre but still want the rustic medieval surroundings.
The Canterbury Tales
I went to the Canterbury Tales afterwards where I heard about the stories told on a pilgrimage from London to Canterbury. A small group of us were lead through different scenes that were narrated with the sounds and smells of the time.
Dane John Garden
A walk further south told me back to the city wall and Dane John Garden. Here I walked to the top of the mound where you can get an overview of Canterbury. Due to the high rising trees nearly the entire centre of Canterbury is not visible, apart from the cathedral. Still worth a walk up though.
For lunch I went to Patisserie Valerie, where I had an epic Chicken Caesar Salad.
Back along the high street I went to the Tourist centre and looked at the free art galleries available. A painting of a view of Canterbury Cathedral captured romance and beauty perfectly.
The last day
On to the Wednesday, and I was finally going to visit Canterbury Cathedral. My best friend Jane was coming down before 12 so we could experience more of Canterbury together. Vicky cooked the best breakfast that morning, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, yum! Before meeting Jane I took the opportunity to snap a few sites around town.
The Parish Church of Saint Dunstan with Holy Cross
An old telephone box with graffiti
Sun shining over the Western Tower
St George’s Clock Tower
I sat in a café at Waterstones to write postcards. I know, I know my blog says differently but some traditions will never grow old. Not long after I met Jane at Canterbury West station and we were off to the cathedral.
Canterbury Cathedral is a beautiful place with grand interior that makes you gasp at the scale of it. I found the candle where the shrine of St Thomas Becket stood to be of particular interest after hearing the tale about him during the Canterbury Tales.
What amazed me was how many smaller chapels were built into the cathedral. The intimacy of these chapels being along side such a giant altar and congregation space was interesting. The cathedral catered for both, where faith and pray could be experienced together on mass or independently amongst smaller groups.
Tiny Tim’s Tearoom
We went to Tiny Tim’s Tearoom for a late lunch. This was a recommended place that was in keeping with the rustic medieval feel of many places in the city. We sat by a beautiful piano as we discussed our thoughts on Canterbury. The bathroom had an interesting fact and feature too.
The owner was really nice and took photos of Jane and I in front of the tearoom.
Park and Canal
Before we caught our train back to London we looked around a little more and sat in a park next to a canal.
Remains of Canterbury Castle
In the park
Jane and Canterbury Cathedral
And that is the end of my trip to Canterbury. I was really happy that I finally went. I hope my photos showed off the wonderful sites of Canterbury in all its glory. Its rustic and medieval locations made it a beautiful place to visit and I would recommend anyone to go.
Have you been to Canterbury before? What did you enjoy?
Where did you stay?
No need for postcards, feel free to leave a comment below…
Yorke Lodge Guest House – http://yorkelodge.com
The Goods Shed – https://thegoodsshed.co.uk
Tiny Tim’s Tearoom – http://tinytimstearoom.com