On Friday, I noticed another trip posted for Saturday for the Meet Up group I had previously attended with my co-worker. She was out of town on vacation, but I saw that another girl, Hui, who we met at the last activity was going and it was the same group leader, Mark. After a brief period of social anxiety, I messaged her if she was still going and decided to go for it!
I also signed up for a membership to English Heritage to force myself to see more things.
The group was quite small this time. Other than me, it was 2 girls, 2 boys, and a couple who brought their young children in a double stroller. We ended up walking over 10 miles that day so kudos to the parents!
We started off bright an early for the 8:30AM high speed train to Dover from St Pancras Station.
We started by exploring Dover Castle. Mark is actually a professional tour guide. He set up the trip for research for an upcoming tour he was professionally guiding for a high school group.
After heading in, we went straight for the underground war tunnels. Normally, he said the wait can get over an hour so I’m glad we did that first. It was super cool to learn about the history, but no photos allowed in the area.
Hui and I tried to explore most of the Castle, but it’s huge! Definitely a whole day thing. We left at 1:30PM and headed over to Canterbury.
Canterbury is another historic sight and the Archbishop of Canterbury is the highest position in the Anglican church – other than the monarch. Before heading to the Cathedral, the most iconic landmark, Mark took us on a little detour.
He showed us Love Lane – a quirkly colorful street in town. Then, he took us to St. Martin’s – which I thought was even better than the Cathedral. By the time we got there, it was supposed to be closed. The sweet old groundskeeper had forgotten his keys to lock up, however, and had sent his son to drive them over. Meanwhile, he let us in and told us the story of St. Martin’s. Legend has it that St Martin’s is the oldest English speaking church in history. The illiterate pagan English king had fallen in love and married a French Catholic princess and had given her that area so she could worship. The groundskeeper excitedly told us that they found proof that this actually happened and showed us photos of old coins that had the legendary priest that the princess brought over’s name on it. It’s actually a small, understated building, but I love this type of thing.
After visiting the Cathedral, which was awe inspiring and grand, we ended the day with dinner based on the recommendation of a local. The Good Shed is set up as a farmers market and a restaurant that only used local ingredients. I had the duck and it was to die for. Forgot to take pics though. I will say that the homemade ginger beer was a bit too strong on the ginger for me but it was an excellent meal. Would do again.
White Cliffs of Dover
Underground War Tunnels
Straits of Dover – France is on the Horizon!
View from the Keep
Sheep of Dover
Canterbury Cathedral grounds
Canterbury Cathedral Stain glass
Thomas Becket Shrine
Canterbury Cathedral grounds