The Goods Shed, Canterbury, Kent
Next to Canterbury Station, you’ll find The Goods Shed. It’s an all-in-one farmers’ market, food hall and restaurant all housed in a beautiful brick-built shed that was previously used to store coal and railway engines. Come here for a taste of Kent, a region that is known as ‘The Garden of England’.
I simply love places like The Goods Shed in Canterbury. It’s on my list of foodie day trips from London and best places to eat in Kent. Its location next to Canterbury West train station means that you can easily whizz down here by train for a relaxing Sunday lunch followed by an afternoon stroll around the historic city of Canterbury.
What makes The Goods Shed unique as a food destination is that it combines a restaurant, food hall and farmers market in one stunning building. The beautiful arched windows flood the space with light and the bare brick walls remain a testament to its former days as a Victorian coal shed. I have no doubt that Kevin McCloud would sing its praises.
If you’re staying in nearby Whitstable, hop on your bike and cycle or walk the Crab and Winkle Way to Canterbury and reward yourself with lunch on arrival. Make sure your bike has panniers as it’s impossible not to buy some of the amazing Kent produce that’s on display. You could also easily get everything you need here for a delicious picnic to enjoy on your way back.
The Goods Shed, Canterbury
The vision of farmer’s daughter, Susanna Sait, The Goods Shed in Canterbury originally opened in 2002 as a farmers’ market. It has since evolved into an amazing food hall, packed to the rafters with the very best in fresh local produce. It was previously a disused building and had been used for storing coal and then for railway engines that went up and down the Crab and Winkle railway line between Whitstable and Canterbury.
Shop For Local Kent Produce at the Farmers’ Market
You’ll find everything here – cheese from Cheesemakers of Canterbury, bread from Enzo’s bakery, charcuterie, British bottled beers and an excellent selection of wines at Press Wine Services (with bottles from local vineyards in Kent and Sussex). There’s a fantastic choice of meat including game and mutton and a fish stall, too, with daily collections from Broadstairs for the freshest catch.
The Veg Stall is in the heart of the market. Every day they go to the local farms and bring the produce to Canterbury so they’re able to tell you exactly where it’s come from. They source spray-free vegetables, fruit and herbs from an aptly-named Mr Parsley. He grows vegetables for the animals at Howletts Zoo where the Aspinall family are adamant that the animals should eat only the best produce.
Eat Lunch in the Goods Shed Restaurant
You can buy food and drink from the various stalls and eat at the communal tables dotted around the food hall or you can book a table in the restaurant upstairs. It’s run by Spanish-born chef Rafael Lopez.
With such a wealth of fresh produce available, the menu is seasonal, rustic and enticing. Start with Rafael’s pink gin (a delicious concoction of rhubarb, gin, orange and cardamon) and order a portion of fresh peas to pod as an appetiser. It will take you back to podding peas in your granny’s kitchen (although my granny didn’t need the gin).
Follow it with a starter, main course and dessert that all positively chirp of spring – asparagus served with truffle butter sauce and croutons, lamb loin with grilled aubergine (more peas) and aioli, and to finish, rhubarb tart. Celebrating a special occasion? Order a bottle of the Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2010 to go with it. It’s exquisite.
What’s lovely about Rafael’s restaurant is that it’s on a mezzanine platform so you can look out over the food hall as you eat or watch the trains pass by through the giant arched windows. Pine tables and chairs and an open kitchen give it a rustic feel making Rafael’s one of the best restaurants in Canterbury for dining with the seasons in a vibrant but relaxed and informal setting.
Have Brunch and a Glass of Wine at The Wild Goose
Another lovely option is to eat at The Wild Goose. It serves small plates which are ideal for sharing over a glass of wine with friends. Sit on a stool at the bar and you’ll feel like you’re on holiday in Spain enjoying a lazy tapas lunch.
Come here early in the morning and they’re open for breakfast serving eggs benedict and eggs royale with their homemade hollandaise sauce, or plates of creamy scrambled eggs with chorizo. Order a strong coffee, read the paper and you’ll be set for the day.
- The Goods Shed is closed on Mondays
- Parking at The Goods Shed is free (that rare luxury)
- Walk in to the centre of Canterbury to see the Butter Market opposite the cathedral. Now a pedestrianised courtyard, it has served as a focal point for more than 800 years
Look out for Kentish cobnuts which are a type of hazelnut. You can buy them at The Goods Shed and use them in cakes or buy cobnut oil to drizzle over salads.
Local Kent cheese – Ancient Ashmore, a hard cheese, is aged for a minimum of 15 months. The Canterbury Cobble, a semi-hard cheese is popular and Chaucer’s is an award-winning Camembert-style cheese.
Duskin apple juice – Duskin presses over 35 different varieties of Kent apples to make their delicious single variety juices.
Where to Stay
If you’re basing yourself in nearby Whitstable, try:
The Hotel Continental – a 3 star hotel directly facing the beach (ask for a sea view). It’s a 10 minute walk into the centre of Whitstable
See All: Best Places to Stay in Whitstable
They tell me that Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Registered Assistance Dogs are welcome in The Goods Shed restaurant.
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The Foodie Travel Guide
Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.