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Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - What's On - - FOOD & DRINK -

Want to go with the flow this sum­mer? A new cafe has opened in cen­tral Maid­stone this week and it gives vis­i­tors a chance to watch the world go by - by boat.

The Old Boat Cafe opened on the River Med­way be­tween Maid­stone Bridge and St Peter’s Bridge on Tues­day.

It has been cre­ated from a 1911 for­mer horse-drawn FMC nar­row­boat called Vi­enna/ver­bena, af­ter lov­ing restora­tion by Chris and Keira Stu­art-smith.

It will be open seven days a week, be­tween 10am and 6pm dur­ing the sum­mer months, with cus­tomers able to sit back and re­lax as they watch boats, ca­noeists and swans drift slowly by. Its open­ing is also just ahead of the Maid­stone River Gath­er­ing on Satur­day, July 28 and Sun­day, July 29, a scaled down ver­sion of what was the Maid­stone River Fes­ti­val.

The Old Boat of­fers a range of cof­fees, teas and cold bev­er­ages along­side lo­cally-sourced, fresh or or­ganic food, cater­ing for healthy and eth­i­cal food di­ets.

The cargo hold, which still has many of its orig­i­nal fea­tures, has been decked out with ta­bles and chairs, with the boat’s old top plank now a breakfast bar with panoramic views across the river. The local food and drink of­fer­ing also in­cludes cof­fee roasted in Rochester and tea blended in Sit­ting­bourne, to ap­ple juice pressed in Lam­ber­hurst and cheese churned in Can­ter­bury. Keira said: “We wanted to share our pas­sion for this boat, our love of food and this won­der­ful river. The Old Boat is some­where the whole com­mu­nity can come and en­joy. A space to talk or to dream.

From hours of painstak­ing ren­o­va­tion, our dream is now a re­al­ity and we’d love ev­ery­one to share in that and keep this work­boat work­ing.”

You’ll find the Old Boat Cafe in the cen­tral river­side area in Fairmeadow.

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