As neither of us really know Kent, we’re keen to get exploring our new home county. Everything we’ve seen so far looks beautiful and promising for some good adventures.
One of the first places we visit is Folkestone. We’ve heard rumours of a Dutch food stand on the harbour arm, so we have to go and check it out. It’s a lovely, sunny day and there are lots of people about. The harbour arm is a hive of activity with lots of food stalls and a great atmosphere. It’s a nice walk to the end of the arm, where the lighthouse is made into a champagne bar with Jazz music. We find the dutch food stall, but unfortunately it isn’t the most authentic dutch. We don’t mind though, as it’s a lovely place to be. We wander into the artistic quarter from the arm, where there are a variety of independent shops and businesses. The place has a lovely vibe to it; there is clearly a very creative, enterprising community in this area and it’s great to see!
The next place we visit is the lovely town of Sandwich. This little town has so much character and charm, it’s a real pleasure to amble around. Importantly, the first place we look for is a nice cafe for a good cup of coffee, and we’re not disappointed. We find a cafe called ‘Goats that Dance’; it’s a very small little cafe with quirky furniture and a feel as if you’re sat in someone’s living room. The lay out really encourages people to chat with everybody, giving the cafe a real inclusive, community feel. The coffee is some of the best we’ve had, and the owners are lovely people too. But Sandwich has more to offer than this gorgeous cafe. You can go on river tours here to see the seals in the estuary, or you can visit Pegwell bay for beach walks (approach by car is via a rather expensive private toll road, but you can walk, or better yet, cycle, for free. Throughout the summer, there are a number of festivals in Sandwich, and we visit the Sandwich Food Festival. There are food stalls everywhere, and some of the pubs have bands on. It’s a fabulous day out, and definitely one of our favourite places in East Kent.
Our next excursion is to the White Cliffs of Dover. We’ve seen these many times before, from sea or from the air. Visiting the cliffs however, is a totally different experience. When we arrive, we realise quite how close up we are to the Port of Dover. You can sit on the top of the cliff and watch the busy coming and goings in the Port. We never know quite how many ferry movements there were in Dover. It’s quite amazing. The Cliffs are a National Trust property, and you can walk along them to the lighthouse near St Margarets at Cliffe. The walk is a few miles there and back and you can follow different paths. There are some great views and on clear days you can see France and the Duex Caps of France. At the lighthouse, there is a little cafe with a large field which is a great stop for lunch or a cream tea, or even your own picnic. We enjoy a lovely walk in the warm sunshine and have lunch at the lighthouse. As we start walking back, we can see a sea-mist rolling in from the North Seam into the Channel. It looks like a really cold fog so we try to out walk it but it’s too fast for us. But to our surprise, it doesn’t rise above the cliffs. So we stay nice and warm in the sunshine while the weather for the boats in the channel gets cold and dark in the thick, thick fog.
We have some quick visits to Faversham, Herne Bay, Margate, Fordwich, Deal and Walmer. There is some lovely seaside in Walmer with the fishing boats waiting on the shingle to go out to sea. Fordwich proudly claims to be the smallest town in England, and it certainly is tiny. It’s also really quaint and certainly worth a visit, with two nice pubs by the river for a refreshing drink or some food, as well as some watersports and river trips available. We also take a drive out to Hever Castle to walk along the gallery where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn courted.
Our final visits in Kent are to Broadstairs, Whitstable and Reculver, just outside Herne Bay. The lovely Viking Bay is in Broadstairs; a beautiful stretch of sandy beach, protected by a harbour arm. The windy roads and lanes in the town lead down to the beach and will take you passed lots of pubs and restaurants, giving Broadstairs a vibrant feel. Whitstable has similar good vibes about it, with the gorgeous oyster quays, the harbour market and the high street with plenty of independent shops. Lastly, we spend some time at Reculver, which is very different to Broadstairs and Whitstable as it’s a historic site where once stood a roman fort and a monastery. We spend some time here taking photographs, watching the sunset and walking in Roman footsteps.