Thursday, 2 June 2016

Storming the castle

This past weekend Geoff and I spent a very enjoyable, and sunny bank holiday weekend in Canterbury and Whitstable.

We stayed very close to the castle ruins, and set off to explore them after we had put our bags down where we were staying.  The castle was built in about 1070 and was a prison for much of its useful life, eventually being a ruin sometime in the 17th century.  It’s quite accessible – you can wander in, climb most of the way up a tower and marvel at how small it is inside as those stone walls are incredibly thick.  

During what shaped up as a gloriously sunny afternoon, Geoff and I meandered along the ‘Great Stour’, a trickle of a stream that does not deserve either the moniker ‘great’ nor ‘river’.  We had a delicious lunch from The Goods Shed, and ate cake and drank coffee in the sunshine.  The Goods Shed was positively laden with local produce, gleaming red strawberries, luscious asparagus and heavenly smelling bread and biscuits, and we partook across the board. A pity it was not open on Monday, as we would have liked to taste more of the offerings.

We attended the Choral Evensong service at the Canterbury Cathedral, and enjoyed the choir and surroundings.  The Cathedral is undergoing significant repair, and likely will for some time, so the scaffolding impinged on the view of the Cathedral as a whole, but it was lovely to explore nonetheless.  We were on the hunt for the most recently buried person, but couldn’t come up with anyone in the last 500 years!

On Sunday we took the bus to Whitstable, about half an hour away from Canterbury and on the seaside.  It’s difficult to describe it as the beach, as it was mostly rocks in place of sand.  A very crowded boardwalk runs between the fisherman huts and the boats, and the tide was a long way out when we arrived.  We explored the little marketplace at the harbour, and enjoyed some delicious oysters, as well as a milkshake and donut (Geoff can be relied on to find them).  Finally we worked up enough of an appetite to enjoy simply delicious fish and chips at a little cafe on the beach – a piece of cod, a piece of skate, and very freshly cooked chips that were nice and crispy.  Skate is a tricky fish to eat deep fried, but we managed to enjoy it rather inelegantly!

Monday was the only let down, weather wise, but we enjoyed our overcast walk, nice coffee and delicious lunch before heading back to London. 

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