Having been in England for about six weeks now, I’ve tried to visit as many places as I could while spending the least amount of money. Fortunately for myself and other fellow students, traveling around Kent is quite cheap and usually easily accessible by bus. The following places were all perfect for a day trip, especially when the weather was cooperative.
My friend and I had heard many good things about the seaside towns on the outskirts of Kent, and on the first sunny day of the week, we took a bus 20 minutes north, excited to see the ocean for the first time since arriving.
While I think our expectations had been a bit too high as a result of living in California, the beaches of Whitstable were a close-enough substitute. The nice weather meant a lot of people were out walking their dogs or with their families, and it made for some cool pictures as well.
We ended up walking along the main streets in the town, eventually finding a farmer’s market and even a small castle tucked up on a hill.
On our way into town, my friend and I had counted 11 different fish and chip shops, each boasting that they were the best in England. While we didn’t get a chance to judge a winner, we were impressed by their confidence.
Herne Bay was much like Whitstable: a small, charming seaside town with a Chinese takeaway on every corner. Located about 30 minutes to the north, we spent £2.90 round trip to hang around for a few hours.
The main attractions to the town seemed to be the pier and the boardwalk, where vendors sold shaved ice and waved us over to ride bumper cars. While I’m sure the carnival atmosphere is more inviting in the summer, the near-empty boardwalk did feel a bit sinister to us at the time.
Thanks, Stephen King.
Nevertheless, it was fun to order gelato at the seaside café and take pictures of the nearby pretty buildings. Definitely worth the cheap ride.
White Cliffs of Dover
I don’t remember where I first heard about this place; I think it was from reading old Victorian novels where people would throw themselves from the cliffs in fits of despair.
Naturally, this was the trip I was most excited for.
Taking the bus 40 minutes south from our university, my friend and I arrived in the town center with absolutely no idea as to where these cliffs actually were.
Because we didn’t want to spend money on another bus or taxi, we asked for directions and then set off walking along the freeway, eventually finding a footpath up the side of the cliffs. Two hours of hiking later, we finally reached the top.
Good thing the view was worth it.
My friend and I must have taken over a hundred pictures between us; not only were the cliffs beautiful in themselves, but because of the clear skies that day, we could also see France across the channel.
To anyone visiting Kent, these cliffs are a definite must-see. But please, learn from our mistakes and take a car to the top; our legs were sore for days after.
Sydne Aguilar is studying English and film. She is studying abroad in Canterbury, United Kingdom during the 2016-17 academic year.