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Canterbury (Ready Camp)

UK England South East England Kent

Bekesbourne Lane, Canterbury, Kent CT3 4AB

Glamping as close to Canterbury as you can, without declaring yourself a pilgrim!
Few places in the UK are more packed with history than Canterbury – inhabited since prehistoric times, living out its Roman years as Durovernum Cantiarorum and forever imbued with Christianity after St Augustine’s arrival by order of the Pope. In 842 Canterbury also witnessed its very first campsite. Sort of. At its perimeter, beyond the stony city walls, a patch of countryside was punctuated by the canvas rooftop of countless pop-up tents. The swathe of camping abodes, musky with the smell of billowing wood-smoke, was the army of invading Danes who used what is now the Kent Downs to stock their wood and keep those cosy campfires glowing.

Today campers on the doorstep are coming for more convivial reasons. A chance to tread the streets, reflect beneath the cathedral arches and dip into the endless history – perhaps broken up with a café stop or three. But it is still possible to camp within a Danish catapult’s sling of the city centre, thanks to the tongue twistingly named Canterbury Camping and Caravanning Club Site.

If you fancy that full canvas feel too, you can pitch in your own tent or take their ready-made safari tent option. They do lack the Danish wood-smoked interior and the clutter of spears and armour, but it’s much made up for in modern day comforts. The tents feature the likes of double beds, sofas, dining furniture and a fully stocked kitchenette, so when you return from your own city touring conquest everything is ready and waiting.

While facilities onsite are excellent, it is location that’s the real showstopper. A 20 minute walk through the edge of town leads you to Augustine’s Abbey, 7th century ruins in a scenic grassy space, and a further five minutes get you as far as the world famous cathedral and the city centre that thrives within its shadow. The campsite's proximity does have its drawbacks, of course. Next door to the hospital and with over 200 pitches it does somewhat forego that small-time rural feel, but in a city as compact as Canterbury walkability is the real key. You could snooze within a safari tent and explore the area for days without ever needing a car. Indeed, the fastest mode of transport may well be punting along the river Stour that lazes quietly through the centre. Lie back, let your fingers dangle in the water and listen to the chime of church bells. It's as quintessentially English as they come, with just a touch of Danish camping thrown in.

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