Remember all those amazing travel resolutions I made back in January? So thus cycling trip was an effort at following through on those. A colleague told me how he went cycling in Kent for a day. It sounded really fun so I made him send me his itinerary so we could take a cycling trip of our own. We had to change the itinerary around a little bit but it was such a fantastic day out to Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay – till the hailstorm hit.
This is the itinerary to follow which covers parts of the Oyster Bay trail and the Herne Bay link where you cycle through Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay:
1. We went to London Bridge and took a train to Canterbury (about an hour).
2. Hired cycles in Canterbury. Mind we had already booked the cycles and just needed to pick them up. Don’t expect to go there and find cycles since they do seem to get booked out early. Another option is to book cycles from London Bridge itself and take them on the train with you. We thought it was more economical and made more sense to take the cycled from Canterbury when we actually need to start cycling.
3. From Canterbury we cycled to Whistable. This is quite a lovely cycling route. In the beginning you cycle through Kent University campus. Warning: some of which is quite uphill. But even after you move out of the university campus you follow a designated cycling route so it’s really safe. Its lovely cycling through fields.
4. Stop for lunch in Whitstable.
5. Cycle on to Herne Bay. I thought this was the most spectacular part of the cycling route as well as the most painful. Painful because a hail storm started as we were on our way to Herne Bay!
6. Now for options depending on your enthusiasm:
- You can cycle onwards from Herne Bay onto Reculver.
- You can cycle back to Whitstable or Canterbury depending on your energy levels.
- We took the easiest (and laziest) way out since it it became really cold after the hail storm and returned our cycles in Herne Bay and went back to Canterbury in a bus.
There is a lot of history in Canterbury so if you manage you time your trip well you can check out the cathedral and some more sights before you pick up your cycles. I do want to go back to Canterbury to have a proper look around.
On the way to the station there is a cool Korean and Japanese grocery store, Kukki. Of course we were intrigued and went in. The store has every kind of noodle and ramen imaginable along with some super cool Japanese candy. Of course we went in and made the store guy give us recommendations on soups and noodles to buy. I also managed to score some of the cutest looking candy – panda biscuits with melted chocolate inside.
Summary: we went to the town with 1000 years of English history and bought Japanese candy. Totally makes sense. (But I am definitely going back to Canterbury).
This was the cutest town. I mean you don’t need to take my word for it just see the pictures- have you seen cuter stores?
We wanted to go to the Old Neptune Pub by the sea for lunch but it was packed. So sadly we walked into a random restaurant called Farm & Harper which had space and let us park our cycles – and had an amazing lunch! After we walked around a bit checking out the stores and then went off on our cycles again towards Herne Bay.
Also make sure you go by the docks – beautiful views.
Summary: cute town to walk around in but reservations at restaurants highly recommended.
The cycle route to Herne Bay is beautiful. You cycle along with water and see (crazy…brrr) people swimming or water skiing with all the parachutes in the sky which is amazing. I could not believe this is barely an hour or so from London – you feel so far away!
It started raining on our way to Herne Bay and once we reached the town we decided to drop off the cycles.
Summary: there are lots of options once you reach Herne Bay so do what takes your fancy. If you have the energy go onto Reculver or cycle back to Whitstable or Canterbury whatever you fancy.
We hired our cycles from Kent Cycle Hire. The cycles were ordinary, nothing particularly great but they pretty much did the job. It was very convenient though since we had a lot of option on where we could pick up and drop off the cycles. Our total trip costs including cycle hire, train tickets (with a Two Together Rail card), snack, coffee and lunch was about £150 for the two of us. Of course you can make this cheaper by bringing your own snack, lunch and coffee which would be about £80 only. Definitely not bad for a whole day out exercising and seeing a new part of the country!
Let me know if you have any tips for great cycling or other day trips in the UK and I would love to give it a go. And of course if you end going cycling around Canterbury, Whitstable or Herne Bay let me know how your trip turned out. I already maxed out on the pictures here so will put up more pictures from this trip on Instagram (we also have a UK Travel highlights on our Instagram) so make sure you check that out. And of course, if you are looking for something outside the UK out whole travel section is wide open for inspiration. Happy Monday and happy travel planning – only thing that keeps me going!