A day in Canterbury: My favorite spots

Canterbury and I… it could be a love story. On Saturday morning, my alarm clock went off on an hour so painfully early, I can’t even remember what I did the first few hours I was awake. 3:15am is never a good idea. Around 4, my mom brought me to the bus companies main parking, where a few other people were already waiting and a crew of bus drivers was busy to get a coach ready for the long drive. Exactly on time (4:30am) the bus driver, a Dutch man who liked to wink at me a lot, pushed the gas pedal, and off we went!

The beaches of Calais, a freeriding seagull and first sights of the white cliffs of Dover

A little before 9 we arrived in Calais, France where we had just missed a ferry to Dover. We had to wait an hour on the biggest parking lot I have ever seen, before a new ferry started boarding. But fear not, there was free wifi. Good points for the French! You could see England lying across the sea, a stunning and rare view! At a quarter to 10, our coach finally rolled onto the Pride Of Kent, and I quickly searched for a seating spot near the windows at the rear end of the ferry, so that I could snap pretty photos of the beaches of Calais when we slowly sailed out of the harbor. The dusty windows may have gotten in my way a bit. A seagull teasingly sat down on a pillar near my spot, but it took off just before I could get my zoom lens out. After an hour and twenty minutes of water, a female voice kindly asked us passengers to head back below decks to find our coach or car. The white cliffs of Dover stunned me for a good twenty minutes and then our bus finally set cours to Canterbury itself.

After 7 and a half hours of coach and ferry I finally set foot on the concrete parking near the Sainsbury’s supermarket. As I had never been to Canterbury before, I patiently waited to start my adventure until the bus drivers explained us how to walk. I then still followed a couple of fellow passengers to make sure I wouldn’t get lost immediately. Just a few hundred meters away from where we had parked, I stumbled upon the first thing I had on my checklist: Abbots Mill (St-Radigun’s street). Little boats full of tourists were on the water and butterflies and bees were buzzing from flower to flower. It was such a sweet little garden! Eager to get shopping though, I quickly went on and found my way to The Parade. Apart from Whitefriars this is the street where you’ll find most chain stores, like Office Shoes, French Connection and even a Nando’s Mexican restaurant. Nando’s is awesome.

Sights of Abbotts Mill and a lovely small street leading from the Mill gardens to the city center

I wanted to do some damage, but shopping in England can get quite expensive really fast, so instead of aimlessly browsing the racks at Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Next UK, I decided to get off the main  shopping streets and see what little treasures I could find. On my way from The Parade to the Cathedral, my eyes caught Wisteria (12 Mercery Lane). Their storefront filled with all of the cutest dresses and jewelry lured me in. From gemstone rings to pretty pillows, Wisteria has got it all! I fell absolutely in love with their collection, but with dresses retailing for £50 and more, I decided to stick with two post cards to add to my wall. Though… I can’t stop thinking about a particular navy dress with flamingo print.

Cards by Daniel Mackie via Wisteria

After my visit to Wisteria, I found myself quite thirsty. After a walking through a few back roads, I stumbled back upon The Parade (Canterbury, truly is a small city!) and started my search for a delicious afternoon tea. I came across a restaurant claiming to have the best fish and chips in town and suddenly I felt  a little hungry too! Unfortunately the place was packed with people, but there was a lovely looking tearoom just a few houses down the street that had me at the words “hazelnut coffee”. Tiny Tim’s tearoom (34 St-Margareth’s street) offers an extensive list of teas, coffees and most importantly: home baked cakes. One thing was up though: I was alone. Sitting in a tearoom alone with a steaming hot coffee and a slice of lemon cake (with cream, of course!) feels a bit weird. There were families and couples having lunch all around me and suddenly I felt so incredibly lonely. I wanted someone there with me. A man playing a sad play on the piano behind me wasn’t helping much either, haha. Just when my sadness was about to get the best of me, an elderly lady came in, sat down near me and smiled at me. It gave me the courage to stay and finish my coffee and cake like a big girl. But then I found out that the house the tearoom was build in, is known to be the most haunted place in Canterbury. I ran the hell outta there!

Supposedly selling the best fish ‘n chips in town, this fish bar is located on St-Margareth’s street. At the end of the street, turn right to find the book shop.


With only a few more hours left in the city, I decided to speed up my tempo and go search for the John Dane gardens. I walked in the completely wrong direction though and that’s when some bad things happened. I walked by Fenwick (St-George’s street) and looked at their window displays. I stopped, went in and did some serious damage. My wallet is still recuperating, but I finally have my leopard print flats and the prettiest tin cans this girl has ever seen. Also, if you want to make me happy: this gorgeous little sugar bowl is high on my wishlist as well! After Fenwicks, I decided to go search for the West Gate Gardens, which were not at all hard to find, because they were right next to… the West Gate. Heaven for photographers, and home to many rose bushes and other Flora. I sat down on a bench for a while to enjoy the nearby water and to get a little rest.

 Anne Klein flats (£75) and Orla Kiely canister tins (£22) both from Fenwick

 
The West Gate gardens with their small stream, old housing and English roses. There’s no shortage of greenery in Canterbury!

On to the pride of Canterbury: their cathedral. You have to pay to get on the grounds (£8.50 for students), but it truly is a fabulous site to visit! Because there was a wedding ceremony, I didn’t have the chance to visit the main altar, but there were plenty more rooms that were accessible and I spend about an hour touring the cathedral before I realized it was almost time to go home. I took portraits for other tourists and one for my Instagram (duh!) and then left to find our coach. I picked up a box of blueberries and a small pack of grapes at Sainsbury’s before I took place on seat 44 again. This time in Dover, we had the luck that the Pride of France sailed into port right when we arrived. Being the newest ferry of them all, this one was a true pleasure to sail on. Lots of window seats and free wifi on board!? Even more good points for the French! I feasted on blueberries while reading the last pages of InStyle and I switched my contacts for my glasses when I saw the port of Calais appear on the horizon. They played the movie Ted, but being so far at the back of the coach I wasn’t able to hear or see a thing. I called it a night, and went to sleep. Just like the old man next to me had been doing all day. I arrived home a little past 1 in the night, and immediately made my way to bed. I was exhausted, but it was a good day. I’ll be definitely doing this again. Just not any time soon I think. 7.5 hours of bussing may have been a bit to much, haha! 

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  • I'm so glad you enjoyed Canterbury! It's really nice to see my hometown from a tourists point of view and with such beautiful photographs! You definitely found the best bits, especially Abbots Mill (my favourite garden in the city) and I was in Wisteria for the first time the other day too! If you decide to make a return visit I'd love to show you round the lesser known bits of the city!
    Johanna xxx

  • Looks like you had a great day out in Canterbury! I've never been before, but it looks so pretty (reminds me a little of Cambridge). I love the story of the cafe, I would have ran out screaming haha!

  • Oh wow, that sounds exhausting but fun. I've never visited Canterbury, I've always wanted to though, it looks absolutely beautiful xo

  • Looking at these photos makes me feel like Im there – the trip sounds so amazing! I would wake up that early if I could go there too! 🙂

    http://www.lettersimpromptu.blogspot.com

  • Mooie foto's 🙂 Ik heb ooit eens zo'n eendagstipje met de bus naar londen gedaan, ik was zo kapot na bijna 24u wakker zijn! Maar alles voor een reisje naar de UK 😀

  • Volgende keer kom ik mee! 🙂

    Leuke aankoopjes!

  • Mooie foto's!

  • Bas

    Love this post, your pictures are gorgeous. Yay!
    And some general knowledge for you, Nandos is Portuguese (we have it everywhere in SA) hahaha.

    B xx

    • We don't have a single one here in La Belgica 🙁 England has many! And we had one next to our hotel in Washington last year (where I discovered them!). I Love their food, so you just gave me one more reason to love South Africa 😉 (as if I needed another one, haha)

      Going to try to convince the boyfriend that we need a city trip to Lisbon!

      xo

  • Leuk dagje zo te zien, maar het lijkt mij zo vermoeiend om zo lang op de bus/ferry te zitten en dan ook nog heel de dag rond te lopen. Ik zou er, denk ik, niet zo van kunnen genieten. Al kan een stuk homemade cake de pijn wel wat verzachten.
    En ik ben, zoals te verwachten, jaloers op jouw mooie Orla Kiely tins, ze zijn prachtig!

  • It looks awesome there Nikki! These photos are gorgeous…and love those leopard flats 🙂

    Annie
    The Other Side of Gray

  • Great photos!
    I have been to Canterbury a few times! It's a nice little town!

    http://www.3forfabulousfashion.blogspot.com

  • Wow it looks like such a pretty place to visit, and sounds like you had a great time exploring. I'm glad you stayed and had a leisurely tea and cake in the tea-house even if you did think it was lonely at first 🙂

    Those flats are beautiful too, very pretty!

    Away From Blue

  • I am so jealous! I want to go to England and Scotland and Ireland one of these days. Tht cathedral is gorgeous. I wish we had new here in Utah. I love the architecture and the stain glass! So gorgeous!

    Nightchayde

  • Oh, what a fun sounding trip! So proud too of you going it alone. What lovely adventures to share.

  • Oh I'm so jealous! What beautiful photos you captured. I have always wanted to go to Canterbury 🙂

    Nicole
    http://www.eleganceandclutter.com

  • Wauw, echt prachtige foto's!

  • Mooie fotos!

  • It looks a lovely city! The pictures near the river are simply perfect!
    Thanks for your lovely comment, now following you.

    <3
    http://zazzish.blogspot.pt/

  • ziet er daar echt mooi uit! en die foto's komen precies uit de boekskes! x

  • That's it, I'm moving to England!

  • lovely photographs. I love the Orla Kiely canisters and the cute cards!!
    xo,
    nancy

  • I don't even know where to begin. What an adventure! I love living through your images, you totally take the best photos!

  • One thing you can always rely on when traveling is that you will get lost! But for those adorable flats and fun tins, totally worth it. Canterbury looks just beautiful, glad you had a great day there!
    Chic on the Cheap

  • Gorgeous photos of Canterbury!

  • Such a wonderful post and gorgeous photos! x

  • Wow Canterbury looks adorable. Marvelous pics 😀

    xx

  • gorgeous <3

    beautiful photos

    i'm following u now via gfc 🙂
    hope u will follow me too !

    kisses,

    Matea

  • Mooie foto's! Tzag er een leuk tripje uit! 🙂

  • Ziet er geweldig uit!

  • Heel erg mooie foto's! Dat ziet er daar echt wel leuk uit hoor! 🙂

  • This place looks so beautiful and charming! Love the photos. I hope you're having an amazing trip!

    xoxo Alison
    http://www.stylingmylife.com

  • wat een prachtige foto's! love de luipaard sandaaltjes

  • OOh I really want to visit Canterbury now. I love the way you wrote this and the love story concept is such a cute idea. Great photos and I definitely need to add these locations to my list now that I'm living in Europe.

    xoDale
    http://www.savvyspice.com

  • ben er nog nooit geweest maar daar moet precies dringend verandering in komen!

  • It's so wonderful to hear about your travels so extensively, and I am totally jealous of your trip. Everything about it sounds incredible!!

    Xo, Hannah

    sweetsweetnoir.net

  • Oh GOODNESS your trip looks like it was lovely. Especially, that little town with the river, how magical! I have yet to go to England and your post made me excited for the day I can! I love reading about your travels:)
    Tessa Lynn
    http://www.alavendersea.com/

  • Prachtige foto's, zou ik ook wel eens willen bezoeken. 🙂

  • I didn´t know your blog but I´ve discovered now and it´s so cool! And I really love this photos!!! I love England, so that´s why I love even more all your pics!!
    Check out my blog IF you want! Hope you like it!

    Patry
    XX

    http://littleprp.blogspot.com.es

  • I have visited Canterbury for one day
    many years ago,
    lovely place indeed!

    http://beautyfollower.blogspot.gr/

  • It looks really nice.

  • Oké nu pas gezien dat ik niet gereageerd heb op je Canterbury post. Ben blij dat je Canterbury zo leuk vind. Ik ben er helemaal dol op, ik ben van plan om na mijn studies in Engeland te gaan wonen, liefst in Canterbury. 🙂
    Ik was wel verrast om te lezen dat je alleen bent gegaan, kweet niet of ik dat had gedaan. Ik haat het zelfs om alleen naar t stad te gaan 😉 Leuk om te lezen dat je niet alleen de high street gedaan hebt maar ook de kleinere, minder toeristische dingen. 🙂 en die Fish and Chips zijn inderdaad de beste, wij gaan daar altijd gaan eten eten en ze zijn super! Je moet azijn op je frieten vragen, ik weet dat het kiezig klinkt maar het is echt lekker!!
    Ugh nu heb je me weer doen verlangen naar Engeland. We zijn in jullie nog maar naar Margate en omliggende steden geweest, maar ik wil zo graag terug gaan 🙂

    X Audrey
    Fashionhightea.blogspot.com

  • how amazing!! i'd love to visit canterbury sometime! i cant imagine it anytime soon though unfort. w/ the prices as you say & then the dollar exchange, so it was fun to see a peek through your pics! love the old building and canal.
    Cuddly Cacti
    Mitla Moda

  • Oh dat ziet er daar gezellig uit daar! Voor zo'n dingen hou ik echt van Engeland. Volgende keer wil ik ook wel mee komen héhé 😀