This Weekend Josie and I (and Dexter!) decided to explore somewhere new and journey out of London to the historic Canterbury. It’s something we have both tried to focus on this year, exploring new places and in particular within the UK. There is a big love for travelling abroad, yet we are surrounded by so many photogenic and interesting places in Old Blighty.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that with Southeastern Railway the journey time is just over an hour from St Pancras International, quick and easy and perfect for a day trip.
Canterbury is a great escape from London with its beautiful and historic Cathedral and architecture -it’s a City that feels much more like a small Village, with its boutiques, small coffee shops and cobbled streets.
We arrived into Canterbury West with rumbling stomachs so rushed to the nearest dog-friendly cafe for some avocado on sourdough and poached eggs with smoked mackerel, it really hit the spot! The Refectory Kitchen is just a short stroll from the station and a perfect first ‘pit-stop’, whether it be for a tasty brunch or a good coffee.
With my ‘H-anger’ satisfied, we headed off to explore the city and the shops. From cute boutiques and traditional sweet shops to antique markets, Canterbury has a wide variety on offer and is perfect for a day of exploring. We even managed to find a shop that sold a whole range of sausage dog related products – you know you are getting old when this sort of thing gets you excited (!)
Dexter was very patient but clearly he needed a good run around, so we headed off in search of a park and somewhere he could be his usual hyper self. For most of this trip we utilised Instagram as our ‘search’ tool and with a quick search of #Canterbury we stumbled across some stunning pictures of Autumnal landscape – Westgate Gardens – a real hidden gem right in the centre of the city.
With all the leaves falling around us it was the perfect place to get some good shots in, firstly of Dexter; what a handsome chap he is! If you aren’t already following him on Instagram, it’s a must for all dog lovers! (@ItsDexterTheDachshund)
Spending time crunching through the colourful leaves made me realise how much I love Autumn and the changing of the landscape. It’s by far my favourite of all the seasons in the UK, with the crisp air and often (!) sunny clear skies.
Westgate Gardens is a blogger’s dream for outfit shots and Josie was in her element! We managed to squeeze in a few shots of me for once; here I’m wearing my new favourite wool Pea Coat from Joules, with Nudie Jeans and ultra comfy Tommy Hilfiger suede boots.
After a few hours of exploring the gardens and chasing Dexter around to tire him out (!!) we re-visited Instagram and searched for some hearty winter food for a late lunch. There are some great restaurants in Canterbury but sadly very few allow dogs, with the pubs being the main option. However, after delving through Insta, we came across a highly rated gluten free restaurant: Oscar & Bentleys.
With the day having a very ‘British’ feel, I felt inspired and went for the typically British dish of beer-battered fish and chips, which was scrumptious. Whenever there is risotto on offer it’s an easy choice for Josie; this one was a walnut and squash combo; perfect comfort food after a chilly few hours walking around.
One final hidden gem we stumbled across whilst heading back for our return train was the Goods Shed, a warehouse like building full of farmer’s treats and wares. From fresh veg and butcher’s meat, to baguettes and freshly made soup, there was lots to feast our eyes on. Well worth a visit for lunch or even an afternoon snack; I was tempted to buy food for our evening meal and there was definitely a better selection of vegetables than what’s available in London.
It was great to be able to spend a day away from the hustle and bustle of London without having to use up all that much time travelling and with the added bonus of being able to take Dexter with us!
Canterbury is a great place to visit for the day if you are looking to escape the stresses of London or other major cities and experience some truly British moments.
Thanks to Southeastern for the speedy journey!
Where are your favourite places for a day trip in the UK?
Are there any Hidden Gems you have discovered when exploring?
Share your hidden gems on social with the hashtag #SEhiddengems and find some more here.