Kingston-on-the-cheap

Kingston Travel Blog

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Ahhhh

We reached Kingston at about 7.30pm on Monday and set about working out how to get to the hotel, a 'Super 8 Motel', similar to Travelodges. A shock was in store when we asked the bus driver where the hotel was. "Oh my god, you don't want to stay there, it's full of prostitutes and druggies, I wouldn't be surprised if there're needles in the mattress". Fantastic, so despite decent reviews on TripAdvisor (rapidly becoming our on-line bible) the hotel was a hell-hole. We had a pretty uncomfortable few minutes whilst we tried to work out what to do and the driver suggested better hotels. A few minutes later she called me to the front where she could see the hotel. Turns out she'd made a mistake and was thinking about another hotel in a neighbourhood further out of town.

So, with panic subsided we checked-in and had a quiet night, in a basic but clean hotel.


After spending more than the budget allowed so far, and aware of all the things we wanted to do in Toronto, we decided that we'd have to do Kingston as cheaply as possible. We were only a 30 minute walk from the centre and Lake Ontario so we wandered into town first thing on Tuesday. I had a romantic notion of hiring a car and driving from Kingston to Toronto in two days and stopping off along the way but after visiting four car rental offices it became clear that unless we paid a huge premium for one-way rental it wouldn't be possible. So, we needed to re-think.

Kingston's quite a quiet little town (compared to the others we'd been to anyway) with one main street, some very attractive streets around that and a number of historic buildings including a grand town-hall.

It's on the east end of Lake Ontario at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. It's strategic location meant that that it was once an important military town and even briefly the capital.

We headed through town and towards the Town Hall and tourist info office. Armed with a map and some walks to do we headed off along the lakeside. It was cool but bright and midgies were out in force, which provided me with loads of entertainment with Em flapping away at them. We walked through the very historic and pleasant University area and back towards downtown for lunch. After picking up sandwiches we sat down in the park infront of Town Hall and overlooked the Lake and fortifications.

Across the water from town is the Royal Military College and behind that is Fort Henry, an old British fort.

Solitary confinement
It took about 45 minutes to walk there, stopping off on the way to see the memorial for ex-cadets of the Royal Military College. Fort Henry's quite impressive, with a great vantage point over Lake Ontario and now serves as a military  museum, with an intersting tour of the site and some rooms left as they would have been, and some displays of weaponry from British Army History.

Time was cracking on so we walked back to Kingston for some dinner in The Keg, and had the biggest plate of Fajitas I'd ever seen before retiring (stuffed) to the hotel at about 10pm.

With any romantic notion of driving along Lake Ontario quashed, we decided to stay on in Kingston for an extra day. This wasn't a bad thing at all, we were enjoying a much more relaxed atmosphere in Kingston and saving a bit of money.

  So we had a relaxed wednesday morning strolling back into Kingston. We had hoped that we could fo a cruise around 'The 1000 Islands' and then onto the Penetentiary Museum, so off we went again to the tourist office. One hazard of travelling across Canada is that once you're out of the big cities, tourist attractions don't open until at least May 1st, mid-May in many cases, and neither was operating. The other hazard of travelling Canada in the Spring is the weather, and we were caught in a pretty heavy snow shower.

After seeking refuge and an early lunch in Subway, we found that the snow quickly gave way to sun again and we took the free ferry to Wolfe Island, one of The 1000 Islands. The short trip across the Lake gave us some great views of The Royal Military College, Fort Henry and some of The 1000 Islands, although there isn't much to see on Wolfe Island itself so we stayed on the ferry and headed back to Kingston.

We got back to town, had a wander round a bit more of old Kingston and decided that our frugality allowed the budget to stretch to pint watching the Chelsea-Liverpool Champions league match followed by a burger in a Hockey bar, rounding off a very quiet but enjoyable couple of days in Kingston.

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Ahhhh
Ahhhh
Solitary confinement
Solitary confinement
Town hall
Town hall
Wolfe Island
Wolfe Island
Attack of the midgies
Attack of the midgies
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
Memorial to ex-cadets of the Royal…
Memorial to ex-cadets of the Roya…
Kingston