We set off on a Bank Holiday Monday for a long weekend in Kent that wasn’t at the weekend. Technically, it probably wasn’t very long either, but apart from that, it was “holiday rules” and it felt like a weekend because none of us was working.
The journey through “not Kent” in the morning was fairly uneventful. We had planned this as a mini-holiday rather than just a trip for a running event, and so we’d allowed ourselves a full day to get there and another full day before Kas’s race, so we had plenty of time to do a bit of touristy stuff on the journey down.
We chose to go into Canterbury, which is famous for having a very large cathedral, for being the home of the Church of England’s top dog, and of course for being mentioned in the title of one of the greatest works of English lterature (and the bane of many a school student), after being written by some bloke called Geoff.
As soon as we arrived we felt the need for a late breakfast, early lunch, general refresher break, which we had in a small independent cafe in the centre of town.
After that we focused our attention on the cathedral. It’s sort of difficult not to. You can’t miss it. It’s impressive but rather expensive to get into.
Once we’d been inside, we wandered around the outside attempting to collect information for the associated Church Micro geocache, and then we drove for a mile or so to go and fetch the thing before heading off in the direction of Dover.
We were still quite early when we arrived in Dover, so we headed off to a nearby park where I’d solved a couple of puzzle geocaches. The girls had a quick play/chill on the grass while I did a five minute walk across the grounds to do the doings.
We’d booked ourselves into a Premier Inn in the countryside halfway inbetween Dover and Folkestone, which was apparently a popular place for staying prior to jumping on a cross-channel ferry. It proved to be quite popular with us, mainly because it had a restaurant and we couldn’t be bothered to go anywhere else.
Tuesday morning and early afternoon was dominated (at least for me an Ami) by doing a load of geocaching along the cliff tops between Folkestone and Dover (see White Cliffs) while Kas and Izzy engaged themselves doing a bit of mooching about in the sunshine.
Later on in the afternoon we scooted over to Dover Castle for a couple of hours. It’s obviously had several phases of occupation for various purposes over the years, which gives it a bit of a muddled feel, but if you can manage to get your head around compartmentalising various bits of the site into different ages then it’s interesting to visit and there is quite a lot to do.
As it was getting on 3pm when we arrived and they close quite early, we decided to buy a year’s family membership of English Heritage rather than pay for a single day, thereby allowing us to come back the following day without paying full whack again. We’d also be allowed to enter any other English Heritage site free for the following year and a bit, but in the end, I am fairly convinced that we didn’t actually make use of that at all. Ho hum ! We’re National Trust members too and we rarely use it. I guess it’s a kind of charity donation.
Back at the plot, the kids enjoyed a good wander around the main keep in the centre of the site (which is just as well, because that’s the main place we went to).
After we’d finished we decided to look in Dover for something to eat. It proved to be a bit of a painful experience. We were too early for a number of places and there really wasn’t much around anyway. Eventually though we found a perfectly tolerable Italian restaurant in the middle of town who were more than willing to take our custom. Ideal pre-race scoff.
The race Kas had entered involved running repeated loops around Samphire Hoe until you fell over, or something similar. Except Kas fell over at one point and then got up and kept running. It’s only a flesh wound. How bad can it possibly be. And anyway, Kas’s running trips invariably result in some sort of injury as a result of encountering some unexpected kind of underfoot conditions.
While Kas was busily doing the do, the kids and me walked a full circuit whilst collecting a couple of geocaches that are down there. It was a bright and sunny day but not especially warm, so we enjoyed some excellent light for taking photos and we got a bit sunburned on the top of the head (Well I did. The kids have hair), and generally enjoyed the gentle patter of increasingly exhausted runners coming past us. One of those runners was obviously the good lady wife.
The event ended with some drinking, eating, and handing out of awards.
It was only lunchtime really when Kas had finished and they’d done all the awards, and we were in no particular hurry to get home, so we decided we had time for a return journey to Dover Castle. This time we had a pop at the old WWII bunkers, which was definitely a very different experience to the “Medieval Zone” up in the old keep. The area is accessed by going downhill to a walkway that’s essentially halfway up a cliff and overlooking the Port of Dover. It was so exciting inside that Ami tried to use one of the “old skool” phones to tell someone else about it, but they weren’t home.
And that was more or less the end of the trip, aside from the fact that we had to drive all the way home again, which we managed to do without incident. Well, there was a queue trying to get through the Dartford Tunnel, but that seems to be a permanent state of affairs, and hence not worth a mention. We got home to discover that the house was where we’d left it.