There are no two ways about it, travelling is our bread and butter. Singlehandedly, it’s the one thing we all have in common. Whether it’s venturing off to the other side of the world, or getting acquainted with the hidden gems on our doorstep, we’re constantly chatting away about our upcoming holidays. So it probably comes as no surprise, that we then put pen to paper to dish the dirt with you. Natasja, our Marketing & Communications Manager recently got back from Canterbury and we just couldn’t wait to hear all about it.
For anyone looking to go, or about too, here are some of her top highlights. Enjoy!
Tell us where you’ve been…
I surprised my boyfriend the morning of his 30th birthday with a mid-week trip to Canterbury, Kent (best girlfriend ever right?). Ever since studying the Canterbury Tales at school, he’s always wanted to go, so to make his milestone birthday a bit more special, I thought a little jaunt out of the big smoke would make it a memorable one and much more enjoyable than a training day at work – snooze!
We stayed at ABode Canterbury, a stylish boutique hotel smack bang in the middle of the high street. After casually mentioning the big 3.0 prior to our arrival, we were pleasantly surprised with an upgrade to a suite (the best room in the house we were told) at check-in.
What was the highlight of your trip?
We had a nice, relaxing punt on the canal. However, if you’re short on time I would skip this as there wasn’t much to see compared to what you do in Cambridge. But as it was so sunny, we enjoyed the trip with a cup of Pimms in hand.
Westgate Gardens is also lovely for a peaceful stroll and The Goods Shed foodie market was a great find for some artisanal treats.
After realising how small Canterbury actually is, we managed to squeeze in a quick afternoon trip out to Whitstable which was fab. We jumped on the bus and in 15 mins we were in the most quaint and picturesque seaside village. Plenty of cute boutique shops to browse and wander through, good chippy’s and a nice stroll along the promenade really topped off our trip!
The weather was definitely on our side for our 36-hour trip so this was an added bonus!
Any stand-out traditions or cultural observations made in the area you stayed in?
Wondering around, I marvelled at the stone city walls and wondered what stories they could tell. Growing up in New Zealand, I still get amazed at all the history here and I am always blown away by the architecture. We were even impressed at how even all the chain shops and restaurants were made to keep really authentic facades and signage in line with the look and feel of the town.
What and where was your best foodie moment?
Our hotel package included a set meal and we were genuinely blown away by the quality of the food. What the restaurant lacked in an atmosphere (we were one of three tables that night), it made up for in delicious dishes with such finesse. Our surprise Jerusalem artichoke soup amuse-bouche was super tasty and we enjoyed it with a lovely warm bread basket with various types of homemade butter (the smoked one was a hit). Our caramelised cauliflower and confit pork belly starters were simply divine and mains were a mouth-watering braised beef check and pan-roasted cod, although I did find the saffron sauce slightly bitter. Although pretty stuffed we managed to force (yeah, right) desserts down – a creamy tonka bean crème brûlée and a caramelised white chocolate mousse with a rhubarb sorbet. And I have to say their morning buffet was one of the best I’ve had. Delish!
For a healthy bite and a great matcha latte check out Kitch Café on the high street where everything is free from refined sugar, refined flour and processed foods.
The canal-side The Pound Bar was great for a pre-dinner cocktail and also super quirky as it was a former city gaol and police station.
For Whitstable, although I didn’t get to try it on this occasion a friend highly recommended the Whitstable Oyster Company on the beach. But I’ll be back to try that for sure.
For anyone travelling to Canterbury, what can’t they miss?
Canterbury Cathedral is a must. Despite the scaffolding ruining my perfect Instagram shot (#firstworldproblems), it was simply stunning and the crypt was just remarkable.
I would also try to squeeze in a trip to Whitstable while you’re there. I loved it so much and will definitely be back, even if it’s just for a weekend.
Lastly, describe the region in 5 words…
Historic, charming, friendly, small & chilled.
Travel aficionado, passionate foodie, gig junkie and PR guru, Tasj is the woman in the know. And having recently crossed the 4-year mark, she’s an Oliver’s Travels veteran.
If you’d like to get in touch with Natasja regarding PR, social media and other related enquiries, please use the details below:
T: +44 (0)800 133 7904| E: Natasja@oliverstravels.com