University of Kent Hospitality – campus the place to stay

Tuesday 16th April 2013

One of the added pleasures of watching Kent cricket at the St Lawrence Ground is the opportunity to sometimes stay overnight in Canterbury, and however many times you have visited the City there is always something new to do or discover.

Finding accommodation can often be quite difficult and expensive, but there is a gem available for those supporters seeking somewhere to stay, especially during cricket week when rooms are at a premium.

Just out of the City, on the road to Whitstable, is the University of Kent, which for a number of weeks in the summer, when the students are away on holiday provides hundreds of rooms to stay in at the various colleges on campus at a reasonable price.

I have made it my base for a number of years, along with a small group of other supporters who are regulars, and we often meet up with each other at breakfast for a chat over the weather, and the previous day’s play.

There are a number of colleges within the University to pick from and I have always stayed at Rutherford’s, which happens to house the Refectory, so I do not have any distance to go to eat.

The standard rooms are in a series of corridors with a communal shower and toilet. They are clean and comfortable, fairly large with a bed, desk, wardrobe and wash basin. Towels are provided. There are a also a large number of single and double en-suite rooms available, at a slightly higher rate in Keynes College and Tyler Court.

The main visitors during the summer are foreign students and tourists but I have never known the college to be completely full, except last year for the Olympics, when a couple of the teams were staying, testimony to the quality of the accommodation.

A full English breakfast is included in the price but the rooms do not have televisions or telephones as the students take those away with them when they leave for their summer break.

The campus has plenty of facilities to use including a Convenience Store, a Sports Bar with a plethora of television screens, and the famous Gulbenkian Theatre, which stages a wide and varies selection of entertainment. There is also a Medical Centre which can be used by visitors staying on site. During Canterbury week last year I had a serious foot problem and without any hassle was able to see a doctor with an immediate appointment.

Travel to the University is reasonable easy. Buses go from the City terminus to inside the campus, and all round it, with a number of stops available. On its way there is also a stop a short walk from Canterbury West station.

By car it is a 10 to 15 minute drive to the St Lawrence ground, depending on the traffic and part of the route is one way. The only downside of using your own transport is parking within the University. Beware!

Parking, whilst free, is strictly controlled by the University security team and visitors will be issued with a free parking voucher, on request, when picking up their room key. I actually got a parking ticket once whilst I was booking in. I got it rescinded later after appealing, but be careful when parking inside the campus.

Staying in the University is a pleasure not to be missed at a very reasonable price and with great views over the City from most rooms as the campus sits on the top of a steep hill.

Kent Cricket supporters are able to claim a 10% deduction on Kent Hospitality bed and breakfast bookings, with prices from £40 per night. Visit www.kentbandb.com and enter KENTCRICKET when booking to take advantage of this discount.

Peter Burrowes, retired sports journalist