Canterbury, Deal, Dungeness and High weald AONB

March 4th 2023

Having never ventured 'south of the river' before we voted to head for Canterbury as a first stop on our 'South of the river' tour. The journey took us across the QE2 bridge and over the Thames into Kent and we were soon pulling into the Camping & Caravanning club site where we had booked two nights, (£43). We choose a pitch at the end of a row in a quiet area and got hooked up. We already had enough water in the tank as we had been to the Hertford site the night before and travelled with about 40 litres on board.

There was a nice dog walk in a nature reserve right next to our pitch so 'D' was happy. Along the track around the reserve we found hotels for bugs and fairy doors!  The facilities on the Canterbury site were as you would expect at a club site and we both tried the showers and gave them the thumbs up.

Then we got 'Ds' trailer out and walked to the bus stop a few hundred metres from the van and bussed it into Canterbury where we found a nice pub called The two Sawyers and we had some drinks next to a nice hot log burner, (Much nicer than a cold log burner!)

Sufficiently sated we headed back to the bus stop but the bus was full and we couldn't get the trailer on so we had to walk back to the site, up hill...😒

The next morning, Monday we bussed it into Canterbury again but this time we explored the Cathedral before hitting the pubs! The Cathedral was fantastic, so enormous that we can't explain every chamber, chapel and cloister here but check the link here to go to the Cathedral web site. Below are two short video's of our visits.

We needed a drink after walking around the Cathedral for hours so we window shopped around Canterbury until we found The Cricketers where we sat 'people watching' whilst enjoying a pint and a Jameson's before eventually heading to the bus terminus only to find that our bus was a good 30 minutes away. We opted for a taxi and arrived at the site ready for a siesta. 

Tuesday 7th

We were heading even further south today and hoping to see Deal and Dover before settling at an Aire in Dungeness so we left our pitch and pulled onto the service point to empty tanks and take some clean water on board before heading off to Deal. We parked along the front and headed for the fish and chip shop for lunch. 

Well stuffed we walked through the back streets of Deal and window shopped for a while before heading back to the van. 

There is so much to see around this part of the south coast but we couldn't see it all so today we opted to finish off with the White cliffs of Dover, so we drove the few miles to Dover and parked in the National Trust car park. Unfortunately it was raining again so we donned our water proofs and had a quick walk up the hill to take in the views before driving to Dungeness for the night.

Suitably soaked we decided that we wouldn't visit the castle today as we wanted to get to our next park up before dark so we set off for Dungeness and Heron's park Aire (///freezing.formal.driftwood) which we had found on Search4sites.

The was no EHU but all of the water facilities were available. Once we had parked and set up we walked 'D' and settled down for the evening. As there was no EHU we lit the candles and fired up the trusty old diesel heater and caught up with some youtube and Netflix on the laptops until it was time for bed.

Wednesday 8th

What a night! The diesel heater was on for most of the night. High winds and heavy rain made it hard to sleep in late so Andy got up and took 'D' for a drag....up to the end of the road. The wind was cold and painful. We checked the map to plan the day. We wanted to explore Dungeness today before heading for our final nights park up tonight at Rosewood farm in Heathfield. (///crispier.chips.washing).

Dungeness was a strange place, it was rugged and wind swept and not some where that you would expect people to choose to live but it was certainly worth a visit. The power station is being decomissioned, the light house was shut and you are not supposed to take photos so we had to be a bit covert with the snaps! We gave up fighting the wind and eventually sloped off to the 'End of the line' cafe for a hot drink and cake.

We left Dungeness in the rain and made for our next stop.

As we grew closer to our destination we noticed that there was snow on the verges so they had obviously had a sprinkle of snow. We wondered how much and whether more was forecasted?

Having arrived at the farm we got the gates open and phoned the farmer who met us a few minutes later and showed us our pitch. We asked about the snow and he told us that it had covered parked cars and the lanes were treachorous earlier. Thank goodness we had miss it!

Andy was slightly dubious about the pitch as it was at the bottom of a steep slope but we got parked and set up. All facilities including EHU £17 per night.

Once we had got the van set up for the night we had a wet walk around the farmers land and found a lake and the woods that he owned!

Back to the van to dry off and get dinner on. Sue got the induction hob going and we turned the electric heating on too. All was well until Sue started the microwave and then the power tripped! We didn't realise that it was only a 10 amp system. Andy re-set it and all was hunky dory again. We had to be careful not to over load it again. There were no pubs or shops within walking distance so we had a night in.

Thursday 8th

We had a slow start this morning waiting for the rain to stop so that we would have a better chance of getting back up the hill and off of our pitch. We got the van ready for the road and Sue went to open the gates whilst Andy warmed the engine up.

We headed for Bateman's, Rudyard Kiplin's residence and a National trust estate so it is free cos we're members! 😊

We parked in the empty car park and spent a couple of hours walking around the house. Here is a link to the National trust web site so we won't write lots of facts here!

Here is a quick tour around the house. Please use the link above to obtain more information about Rudyard and Batemans as space is limited here.

Back to the van and we headed for our final visit of this trip, Scotney castle and it was still raining!

Scotney castle, "A romantic picturesque garden with a 14th century moated castle and a Victorian country mansion - all in a beautiful wooded estate". Another National Trust jewel.

We had a quick walk around and it was like going back in time, please click on the link below to go to the web site for more information about Scotney castle.

That is the end of our 'South of the river tour'. We jumped back into our Mac shack and headed north and back over the river (Thames). Where will we go next???