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Canterbury, Kent, UK A Castle Wall and Castle House B&B

On September 17, 2008

The trip from Snargate to Canterbury was the sort of pastoral England drive that I adore with long stretches of green, quick glimpses of pubs and the hop country addition of oast houses – big barn like structures where the hops are dried that can be easily identified by their cone shaped roofs topped with a bent tip.  I recount these sights largely from the return trip though since I slept my way (hopefully not snored and drooled my way) to Canterbury waking only to act as the lookout for our B&B.

Since I was still exhausted to the point of stupidity it’s lucky that the Castle House Bed and Breakfast was easily located at the edge of what is left of the city walls and directly across the street from

this castle wall.  The castle of which it was once part was built during the reign of Henry I in the 12th century; however, within less than a hundred years it was no longer being used as a castle but as a gaol or jail.

We arrived at

Castle House
28 Castle Street
Canterbury, Kent  CT1 2PT
(01227) 761897

and found that it lived up to its business card appellation as a Superior Bed & Breakfast.  There was only one problem: our amiable host had no record of our reservation; although CH was fully booked for the night, he apologetically offered us the gardener’s lodge for the evening.

The lodge – which appeared to be a renovated garage – was charming and outfitted much more completely than even an en suite B&B room and we ended up spending both our Canterbury nights there.  We had a kitchen sink, refrigerator and microwave plus our car was just outside the door.  (The car park was another not always available B&B amenity and included closed circuit TV coverage of the parking lot which could be viewed on the room’s set.  Like most B&Bs there was very limited television reception.  The closed circuit station was one of only four offered and turned out to be the most interesting  programming but then I didn’t go to England to watch TV.)

Next morning a full English breakfast was served in the main house.  Since full English generally includes sliced pig (and I’m not talking an American slice, I’m talking a hunk), I opted for the graciously offered vegetarian breakfast.  Cereal and juice were also available along with a large and varied selection of daily papers (for reading, not eating). We were surrounded by guests of varied origins and early morning temperaments.  My son doesn’t speak beyond absolutely necessary grunts in the a.m. but I’m still surprised to see people obviously travelling together and sitting at the same table who to all outward appearances would seem not to have met.

Sun poured in through the windows and light classical music played softly in the background.  Breakfast finished, football scores surveyed, we were ready to head off to the Faversham Hop Festival and a tour of the Shepherd Neame Brewery.

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