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On your doorstep

Josh Carter
24th November 2021

We’re proud of our county being a hotspot of locally made goods and independent businesses with a beautiful backdrop. With our countryside skyline being dominated by oast houses for drying hops, our alcoholic beverages match the heritage with taste. Equally, our coastline holds a depth of nature perfect for foraging, all the while being tied in with a rich maritime history that can be uncovered in our museums. However you think you know Kent, make the most of the place you call home and delve into our guide of places on your doorstep.

Blé Couture Cakes

An edible experience is how we’d describe Blé Couture Cakes – sitting at the heart of Ashford’s new Elwick Place, for many years the company has been creating cakes for all occasions and parties and runs engaging cake workshops for those Bake Off fans. After their recently opened Cake Parlour started in Elwick Place, Blé has been offering takeaway and dine in cakes, hot drinks right up to a plush high tea. For those who stop by you can watch the cakes being made right before you in their open kitchen, getting an insight into the luxury edible experience!

Crab Museum

When you wander the shores of Thanet you might encounter a decapod either in a rock pool or running across the sands - commonly known as crabs, if you’ve ever wanted to learn even just a little bit more about them and the biology around them, then the Crab Museum is for you. But it doesn’t just stop there, as you’ll learn details about crabs you may never have known combined with a love of the natural world and the odd joke about woodlice… this is a quirky hidden gem not to be missed that holds a serious message about our world under its fun-loving facade.

Goody Ales

Bringing the taste of Heaven to Herne, Goody Ales is a true independent Kentish ale producer. Winning multiple Taste of Kent awards, their beers range from Good Health to Goodness Gracious Me are all available freshly poured in their taproom The Cathedral during the weekday evenings and weekends. If a countryside taproom surrounded by woodland wasn’t enough to bring you to your senses and encourage a visit to this local producer, they are soon to set up a drive-in cinema with plenty of food and drink served at your car (for everyone but the designated driver, of course!).

Louise Hubbard Photography

Photographing for over ten years, Louise Hubbard has been most recently teaching workshops and 1-2-1 tuition sessions with the aim of helping others learn about their camera, the art of composition through to Lightroom & Photoshop classes. The tuition isn’t just walking around your local park, but in top venues such as Rochester and its castle to Chatham Historic Dockyard and Fort Amerhurst so you can rediscover your area through the lens of your camera. Be sure to keep an eye out on Louise’s website as more venues are being added to try out those skills and see Kent in a new light.

Vine and Country tours

A staple of the growing Kentish wine scene, Vine and Country Tours are Visit Kent award and VisitEngland Award for Excellence winners, known for their private vineyard tours and dining experiences. Imagine a full day touring the vineyards of Kent in a private minibus tasting your way through the likes of Gusbourne and Simpsons served with a freshly cooked local feast – bliss! In the near future, there are plans to begin supper clubs and pop-up restaurants in the local Kent vineyards, which will continue to show off the very best of local ingredients.

Simpson's English Wine Estate

Sitting handily just outside of Canterbury in the quintessentially Kentish village of Barham is one of Kent’s finest vineyards, Simpsons. You may well have heard of their wines as they’ve been rather successful, with accolades such as Best in Show Decanter World Wine Awards. If you wish to sample the taste of Kent and its blooming wine industry, take a tour! Year round, including the depths of winter, you can wander the vineyards learning how the vines are planted through to harvesting, get a behind the scenes look at the winery, which then culminates in a tasting of wines in their Glass House tasting room – you may well feel you’re in deepest France!

Wild Feast

Delving into the Kent countryside and quite literally uncovering its nature by hand is one way to understand what’s on your doorstep. With Wild Feast you can forage and taste edible wild herbs, fruits, roots and seeds supplemented by a wild two-course picnic lunch served under cover in the woods with a glass of fizz. You may well feel that foraging is best in the summer, but that is totally untrue! Wild Feast’s foraging journeys seek out wild herbs and greens in early spring, while hunting for hedgerow fruit and fungi happens in the autumn so there’ll always be a chance to taste nature’s bounty that you may usually just walk right past!

The Foundry Brew Pub

Nestled in a backstreet just off the high street in Canterbury is The Foundry, one of the area’s most popular producers, of the finest alcoholic beverages our cathedral city has to offer. Lining the back wall before you enter the actual brewery and distillery is a wall of awards and it’s easy to see why there are so many – if you book onto a tour you’ll be greeted by the co-founder (who is also the head Brewer & Distiller), be shown the processes and invited to taste their handmade grain to glass beers and spirits, of which there are 20! If you don’t live in the city, be sure to take home a few bottles from their shop for that taste of Canterbury later on.

The Canterbury Gift Card

Whether it’s under the glistening Christmas lights or the late summer sales, shopping year-round in Canterbury is something special. With so many independent and recognised stores in the city, giving a local family member or friend a gift card seems like the best bet – but what happens when there’s so much choice? In steps the Canterbury gift card. Whether it’s The Foundry Brew Pub for a bottle of Canterbury Gin or for a night away at Canterbury Cathedral Lodge Hotel, the card can be spent at a whole host of places in the city!

University of Kent

A stalwart of internationalism in Canterbury, the University of Kent is a community sitting atop the hill in Canterbury that gives the city its youthful feel. While you may feel that the university is just lecture halls and libraries, many of its services are open to the public. Take the Gulbenkian for example, which hosts a whole number of events from big-screen and arthouse films to live music and talks from the country’s top creatives and celebrity figures.

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