A Weekend in Kent


When I was a child, I had a schoolmate named Emma. I always remembered her because her mother was English, and as a young Anglophile, I was intrigued by that. Fast-forwarding to now, she moved to England with her mother, so I have a childhood friend within an hours train ride away from me. We met up a couple weeks ago in London for a visit, but this time around, she invited me to her home for the weekend, and I jumped at the chance to go outside of London to a much smaller town.countryside7countryside6 The English countryside, to me, is pretty much everything outside of London and the other major cities of England. After my class on Friday night, I hopped on a train at Victoria station and took a 55-minute ride down to East Malling, which is situated in the county of Kent. This area is famous for being the home to Canterbury and the White Cliffs of Dover. We didn't venture to those areas on this trip, but I hope to go back and visit her and perhaps go to these places. This time around, she showed me a bit of this tiny town and I got a lovely taste of a true English village. countryside4countryside1 She wanted to show me a nice shopping area, not too far away, so we got on a train (changed a few times) and in less than an hour, we arrived at Tunbridge Wells. Our first stop was to a little cafe called Juliets, which served some pretty eclectic salads, meals and treats. I tried their haddock and crab cakes, parsnip and carrot salad, as well as a beetroot and fig salad. I was surprised at how much I liked the food, as I am not usually into such a strange mixture to my lunches. countryside5countryside2 We continued to wander around the town some more, found a shopping centre, drank some coffee, and even found an adorable Basset Hound to pet and play with. I love little towns with character, and the further you get away from London, the more of a true English feel you get to experience when you arrive. I do love London, but I want to explore more of this country and see what it has to offer me in terms of my obsession with English culture. I'm happy I got a taste with East Malling & Tunbridge Wells, and know I will be doing a lot more train trips around all of the United Kingdom. Any suggestions of some small towns to go to? countryside3countryside8