WE’RE in the second half of February, which means we’re almost there. Yes, spring is almost upon us and most people are gleeful at the thought.
But before anyone gets too carried away with the euphoria of it all, let’s make sure we grab the last opportunities to grab some of the many opportunities that winter offers.
1. Take a bracing walk. There’s quite like strolling along Herne Bay or Whitstable seafront with a raw breeze biting at you. And you know how attractive you look with those red cheeks.
2. Our part of the world is blessed with some of the finest pubs in the world. Choose one with a roaring fire and be sure you (politely!) snaffle a table by it. You can even help the landlord put on extra logs to get the flames really going.
3. Winter is arguably the best time to enjoy the theatre. It might sometimes be a struggle to head out into the cold, but once you’ve made the effort the rewards can be tremendous. Try The Marlowe in Canterbury, The King’s Hall in Herne Bay or the Horsebridge in Whitstable.
4. Likewise, many of us feel it is just not right to go to the cinema on a lovely summer’s evening. But winter? There’s no stopping you then. There’s the Odeon, Gulbenkian and Curzon in Canterbury, the Kavanagh in Herne Bay and the Royal in Faversham.
5. Naturalists travel to Kent from across the country to watch its wonderful wildlife, particularly birds. Its winter specialities include swans, geese and swans from northern Europe and wading birds in their thousands. Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve near Canterbury, Oare Marshes on the outskirts of Faversham and Reculver near Herne Bay are among the best spots.
6. Although football edges into spring – and in World Cup years into the summer – it is, as we all know, a winter sport. And with Canterbury City, Herne Bay, Whitstable Town and Faversham Town all plying their trade in the area, there’s no excuse not to pull on your woolly hat and cheer on your local team.
7. Talking of outdoor gear, there wasn’t much point in spending all that cash on your thermal leggings, was there, if you’re not going to use them! So pull on all your thick, functional and maybe even sometimes flattering clothes and get yourself out into the elements.
8. And there’s nowhere you’ll need that warming attire more than if you like sitting by a riverbank looking to hook into a specimen fish. Winter fishing has an appeal all of its own – just ask someone who’s battled a pike, one of the most ferocious predators of these islands. Head to the River Stour or one of the many lakes and ponds in the area.
9. Fishing isn’t combined to freshwater, of course, and in this corner of the country, with our lengthy coastline, we are extraordinarily blessed with options for the sea angler. The two disciplines are not mutually exclusive and many fishermen take advantage of both forms. However, those who line the beaches of Reculver, Herne Bay and Whitstable tend to consider themselves a particularly hardy breed.
10. Eat curry. Nowhere in the country has witnessed the explosion of culinary choices that has occurred in east Kent. The place is a veritable foodies’ paradise and you can savour dishes from all corners of the globe. But does anything really match up to a hot curry on a winter’s evening? It’s a rhetorical question and you know the answer. Herne Bay, Whitstable, Canterbury, Faversham and indeed many of the villages all have excellent Indian restaurants. You are blessed.
11. Well, we didn’t see much of it this winter – although there’s still time – but by and large it never snows in summer. Snow is surely the most iconic feature of winter and when the white stuff does choose to grace us with its presence there can be few areas that look as good. If you don’t believe us, stroll up the hills overlooking Canterbury and look down towards the cathedral. Our glorious city never looks finer.
12. And, finally, we can’t avoid the fact that February is the month of love. The ghost of St Valentine doesn’t only spread his warming spirit on the 14th, you know. You can feel the love throughout the season, so take the hand of your soulmate and stroll along the beach… the pebbly shoreline of Reculver is a particular favourite of ours. Alternatively, stroll the cobbled streets of our cathedral city to the background of ringing bells. If fortune is really smiling upon you, snowflakes will be settling all around you. Winter… there’s nothing quite like it.