Canterbury Park and RideJanuary 2 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C
Feeling shell shocked at both the loss of our dog and a trip to A&E for Will on New Year's Eve, we said our goodbye's to Will's sister and her family on New Year's Day. We'll be forever grateful to them for looking after us through this difficult time.
With a few tears we made our way to the motorhome aire at Canterbury. It is incorporated into the city's Park and Ride complex, is one of only a handful of dedicated motorhome facilities in the UK and probably the largest, with capacity for over 70 vans. We'd been keen to make use of it for a while and having a few days to spare before our ferry from Dover, made now the ideal time.
We are not planning to get another dog while touring, so had decided to donate Poppy's effects to Dogs Trust Canterbury. It was only once we'd entered the aire via the barrier that Vicky found the kennels were closed the following day. She therefore packed up Poppy's things and we whipped out to drop them off. We made it back with just enough light not to have to use our headlights, which Will had switched for continental ones at Orpington- phew!
The aire is a quiet place, which is usually something we value, but on New Year's Day it was near silent and Poppy's absence was all the more obvious. Vicky had resorted to cleaning and tidying to keep her mind occupied and the van felt far too sterile without our very furry friend.
For £3.50 per day (charged midnight to midnight) the aire provides fresh water, bins, waste water and toilet emptying facilities as well as unlimited passage for up to 6 people into and out of Canterbury city centre on buses that run every 8 minutes.
The following morning dawned with venus and a waning crescent prominent in what promised to be a blue sky. Vicky did half an hour of pilates (for the first time in several months) and we rode into Canterbury. Will needed to take things easy as he was still recovering from his operation and the complications that followed, but we strolled slowly around the city's streets, soon finding our way off the main stretch to the cobbled lanes, where we found a range of interesting shops. On the King's Mile we discovered Unboxed; a small grocery store whose products, from rice to tomatoes, were all free of packaging. The sun was shining on the wall of the cathedral courtyard but with a fee to enter, we admired from afar.
After a while we came accross Lily's Bistro, an ethical café advertising seasonal, locally sourced food with zero waste and vegan options. We chose a table in the little bay window and watched the people go by. Our toast with toppings tasted great and we chose to buy two 'pay it forward' soups to be given to the homeless, some of whom we'd seen earlier huddled in a doorway. As we were moving on to tea and apple crumble cake a couple came in with a French Bulldog. It had been years since Poppy was well enough to explore cities on foot and we would usually only leave her for up to 2.5 hours. Now it is just the two of us we have a whole lot more freedom but we would swap it in a second to have our Poppy happy and healthy with us.
We really enjoyed visiting Canterbury's characterful lanes and would definitely make use of the aire again. Prior to leaving we used our credit card to pay the machine £10.50 for 2 nights and the barrrier opened automatically when it read our number plate. An easy to use and effective system. Next stop Dover!Read more