The Goods Shed Showman's Wagon
The Goods Shed Showman’s Wagon, Badlesmere Court, Badlesmere, Kent ME1 30NL
The folks who founded The Goods Shed, one of the South East’s most renowned indoor markets, certainly know a thing or two about breathing life back into old spaces. Since it opened back in 2002, the “draughty old railway goods shed”, as The Guardian once described it, with its high ceiling and “vast Victorian windows” has been the talk of Canterbury town and is now home not only to a famous array of artisan food producers, procurers and proliferators, but also a multi-award winning restaurant. It’s no surprise, then, to learn that their first foray into the world of glamping offers quality and history in equal measure. No surprise, either, that it’s set for similarly great success.
Set around 10 miles from Canterbury, on the edge of the Kent Downs, The Goods Shed Showman’s Wagon is a wonderfully preserved and restored 1930’s travellers dwelling. Inside it still features original gaslight fittings and a log-fuelled range, while the dark wooden finish and patterned windows cement its 30’s era feel. An old-style kettle waits to be boiled on the hot plate, a simple pleasure that invites you to cocoon yourself away for hours here in winter months, while during summer, it’s the gorgeous setting that excites. Apple trees shade the outside water tap, chickens cluck along the edge of the nearby hedgerow and, from your perch sitting in the Wagon doorway, glampers have a beautiful view across the meadow, shared with six grazing Southdown sheep.Poor weather pastimes here are one of the pleasures of this cosy heritage abode. Kicking back on the antique patterned sofa with a good book, stoking the toasty fire or lying in the double bed listing to raindrops on the roof are all a joy, while a drive to Faversham (four miles) reveals a slew of antiques shops you can dip in and out of with Canterbury’s famous cathedral not too far beyond. On fair weather days, punting is one of Canterbury’s great highlights – tours are available as well as hiring your own punt to test your skills – while romping across the local footpaths from the Showman’s Wagon is an easier outdoor option. Directly opposite a small dairy farm, the open, agricultural surroundings offer excellent footpaths and wonderful access to the best of the Kent Downs. It’s a Showman’s dwelling with a doorstep onto the best of Kent and a place where the county’s ‘Garden of England’ title makes total sense.