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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Kent Creative!

Travelling to England … Great Nostalgia. British Weather. Fish’n’Chips. Whatever the case may be for you, I have to say I just love hopping over here. Be it for an all-time visit to the exciting capital city of London, where I happened to have spent almost a year as a 19-year-old, to exploring something completely new like the “Garden of England“, Kent: I simply, really enjoy being here among the Brits! “Ladies and gentlemen, we are shortly due for landing at London Heathrow Airport … the outside temperature is 28°C …” Lovely !!! So much for the cliché about the British summer: When stepping off the plane, I am met with the same sweltering heat as back home in Austria. Mistral summer winds up here ??  Luckily, I am headed for the “cool” Garden of England, Kent, this time, exploring both Whitstable & the Kent Creative Coast project launched by local artist & tourism expert Catriona Campbell, as well as the iconic mother church of England, Canterbury Cathedral. Let’s start with the latter. I am impressed, I must tell you. Definitely head out here if you can: Canterbury West for instance is only 50 minutes by high-speed train from London St. Pancras station.

Peaceful atmosphere to greet me upon my arrival to Canterbury: Punting is offered on the local Canterbury river!

Peaceful atmosphere to greet me upon my arrival to Canterbury: Punting is offered on the local Canterbury river!

Canterbury, the Venice of the North?!

Canterbury, the Venice of the North?!

Asking for directions to the cathedral at the train station, kind local teacher Mick becomes my “greeter for the morning” taking me all the way to the iconic World Heritage Site and talking to me about his town.

Asking for directions to the cathedral at the train station, kind local teacher Mick becomes my “greeter for the morning” taking me all the way to the iconic World Heritage Site and talking to me about his town.

The entrance to the cathedral is right off the main street & square.

The entrance to the cathedral is right off the main street & square.

Can you spot the naughty little detail put in by a stonemason after not being paid for his work? ;)

Can you spot the naughty little detail put in by a stonemason after not being paid for his work? 😉

Walking onto the cathedral grounds, I take a minute or two to appreciate the mighty appearance of the so-called Mother Church of England. It is impressive.

Walking onto the cathedral grounds, I take a minute or two to appreciate the mighty appearance of the so-called Mother Church of England. It is impressive.

 

An old saying goes: You either open your purse or your mouth. In my case, it was the latter: Meeting charming Therese Heslop at the RDA tourism trade show in Cologne, we quickly agreed I had to come and see beautiful Canterbury Cathedral if my intention was to come to Kent anyway and meet my creative tourism network partner Catriona. And so it was. Thank you, Therese, for setting me up with your wonderful colleague Colin, my very own guide for the morning : He just made all the difference on my visit out here, feeding me intriguing, fascinating & sometimes gruesome “historytelling” on the origin of Canterbury Cathedral, the history of the Church of England as well as the ongoing power struggle between the Church and the Kings. If you love exploring history story by story, this is the place, and person, to go to.

Looking up at the fascinating roof inside the cathedral.

Looking up at the fascinating roof inside the cathedral.

This cloister looks back on some 600 years of eventful history …

This cloister looks back on some 600 years of eventful history …

… being a scene for murder, persecution as well as spiritual enlightenment all at once! As it happened.

… being a scene for murder, persecution as well as spiritual enlightenment all at once! As it happened.

Wonderful play of light inside the mighty heart of Canterbury Cathedral.

Wonderful play of light inside the mighty heart of Canterbury Cathedral.

This statue made entirely of nails was put up by the figural artist Gormly commemorating the martyr death of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, during the 15th century.

This statue made entirely of nails was put up by the figural artist Gormly commemorating the martyr death of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, during the 15th century.

Advantage of going with the likes of personal storytelling guide Colin: You really get behind the scenes, either by opening secret doors or showing you what else is there, hidden from (normal) view.

Advantage of going with the likes of personal storytelling guide Colin: You really get behind the scenes, either by opening secret doors or showing you what else is there, hidden from (normal) view.

Really enjoy visiting Canterbury Cathedral for its mighty history. I shall vote in favour of putting it among the top 50 places to see next to Cologne Cathedral!

Really enjoy visiting Canterbury Cathedral for its mighty history. I shall vote in favour of putting it among the top 50 places to see next to Cologne Cathedral!

 

The Kent Creative Coast: “Escape To Create” with Catriona Campbell

“I have booked a table at Jojo’s restaurant for 1.00 p.m. Would that suit you?” Yes of course: Sounds lovely! Arriving to the charming and peaceful seaside town Whitstable for the first time, it certainly is a good idea to start with one of the town’s best restaurants. (At least by my “gourmet” standards :D). “We really like to come here often”, Catriona and her husband give me a heartfelt welcome in their blue Volkswagen Beetle convertible. “So lucky to always travel with the locals!” I think taking in the views and feeling the wind pull on my hair, smiling.

Arriving at Jojos Restaurant just opposite the beachline of Whitstable.

Arriving at Jojos Restaurant just opposite the beachline of Whitstable.

The waiter does a great job of explaining the local menu to us, recommending beautiful tapas dips for starters and delightful seasonal fish.

The waiter does a great job of explaining the local menu to us, recommending beautiful tapas dips for starters and delightful seasonal fish.

Dig in, everyone!

Dig in, everyone!

I love the dessert … “lemon posset”, a term I have never heard of but it certainly does melt in your mouth.

I love the dessert … “lemon posset”, a term I have never heard of but it certainly does melt in your mouth.

Cruising along the “Kent Creative Coast” … Thank you so much, Catriona & Adam, for taking me out for the day!

Cruising along the “Kent Creative Coast” … Thank you so much, Catriona & Adam, for taking me out for the day!

 

The Kent Creative Coast campaign was initiated by Catriona Campbell three years ago. Catriona meanwhile has focused more on creating her own art, but the name has stuck and helped to shape and reflect the identity of Kent’s coastline as being a hub for creativity and the arts. “The hashtag #kentcreativecoast is increasingly being used on Twitter for example … it has really snowballed off around here, as more and more people start getting involved”, Catriona is saying. Similar to many other creative tourism ventures around the globe, she too tells me of the struggle to balance the world of the artists with that of the tourism stakeholders: “I started my career at Contiki Travel before moving to the London TourisT Board where I was Marketing Director for 10 years. I understand how it can sometimes be difficult to encourage tourism businesses to collaborate with creative professionals but increasingly people from both sectors are keen to work together.” I am impressed with Catriona’s know-how and stories, having chosen to move from London to charming seaside Whitstable and launching creative tourism in the area. We definitely feed off each other’s passion for travelling “the creative way”, learning something new through hands-on workshops with the local people such as cooking, painting or … opening oysters. “That’s our local heritage”, Adam chimes in laughing, “in fact, it really is. The Whitstable Oyster company is the oldest limited company in the whole world, and Whitstable Oysters are said to have been traded as far south as Rome in 300 AD.”

Luckily I have arrived in time for the city’s annual Oyster Festival, then, taking place each year at the beginning of August. Meet local Whitstable, their famous oysters and just how the British love to spend a day by the beach …

Travel with the Locals: Meeting the local Whitstable harbour master who according to Catriona has a most relaxed job? ☺

Travel with the Locals: Meeting the local Whitstable harbour master.

Catriona and I chatting away happily about creative travel, living in Kent and else.

Catriona and I chatting away happily about creative travel, living in Kent and else.

Now that’s what I call a happy marriage of sports and the arts: Printed sails in an August sailing event.

Now that’s what I call a happy marriage of sports and the arts: Printed sails in an August sailing event.

The “Kent Creative Coast”, in Whitstable, at low tide ..

The “Kent Creative Coast”, in Whitstable, at low tide ..

I love oysters. Do you?

I love oysters. Do you?

He managed to get in with the oyster shells …

He managed to get in with the oyster shells …

… the oyster fishing company, Adam tells me, is the oldest limited company in the world dating back to the 1860s.

… the oyster fishing company, Adam tells me, is the oldest limited company in the world dating back to the 1860s.

Remember it!

Remember it!

Remember it!

Remember it!

Thank you, Catriona and Adam, for a wonderful day out in Kent and for sharing your passion about living in this area and creative tourism!

Thank you, Catriona and Adam, for a wonderful day out in Kent and for sharing your passion about living in this area and creative tourism!

Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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4 Comments

  1. Magdalena

    Great post Elena!! It makes me want to spend a summer day in Kent, hopefully soon!
    Abrazo from Mendoza.
    Magdalena

    Reply
  2. Elena

    Hola Magdalena,

    Thank you very much for your comment! I have really enjoyed travelling in Kent, especially concerning creative tourism!

    Stay tuned here: http://www.creativelena.com/en/travel-blog/creative-travel

    Best wishes, Elena

    Reply
  3. cameron paul

    Thanks for the excellent photos of Canterbury Cathedral, as an architectural historian and having travelled extensively to all continents it gets my vote as the finest building in the world!

    Reply
    • Elena

      Dear Paul,

      I agree with you, it was certainly one of the highlights of my visit to Kent … The Cathedral continues to impress me even now, and I want to go back and share it with my friends next time!

      Best wishes and thanks for checking out blog!

      Elena

      Reply

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