Things to do in Canterbury

Jenessa Williams

A pilgrimage site of the Middle Ages, Canterbury is a city with an ancient past. Concealing much character within it’s roman walls and cobbled streets, it’s perfectly located for a last-minute weekend away. Write your own Canterbury tale with our must-see locations

Stay

Historical yet quirky, ABode Canterbury provides the perfect base to lay your head at night. Mere steps away from the cathedral, the 72-room hotel holds a gym and delicious restaurant within it’s sprawling corridors and wings, with plenty of options for families and large groups. 

For a taste of true luxury, book yourself into the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge. Owned by the Dean & Chapter of Canterbury, it’s situated within the cathedral grounds—a UNESCO World Heritage Suite. Wake up to views of peaceful green outside your window, and be sure to admire the gothic architecture of the building on your way to breakfast. 

 

Eat

Start your day off right with a visit to Kitch café. Whether you’re going all out on a full English breakfast or sipping on a revitalising charcoal latte, they pride themselves on their healthy approach, with all meals free from refined sugar, refined flour or processed ingredients. 

For a fine dining experience, take the short trip outside of Canterbury to nearby village Sturry to eat at Kathton House. Indulge in venison loin and peach pie on their lunch service or opt for pan fried John Dory with salt-baked vegetables and pistachio soufflé at dinnertime. 

Vegans and vegetarians are well catered for with specific menus that don’t skip any of the fun—you’ll find no bland bruschetta here. 

 

Learn

A trip to Canterbury simply wouldn’t be complete without taking in the splendor of Canterbury Cathedral. Mother church of the worldwide Anglican community, it remains one of the most visited places in the country—plan your trip out of season to avoid any potential crush. Once inside, admire the stunning stained glass artwork, embark on a ticketed guided tour or simply take a moment of quiet and reflection.


 
To view more works of art (albeit in smaller form), The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge has a revolving calendar of events and exhibits that make ever visit a unique one. Celebrating art, books and local heritage, there are plenty of interactive parts to keep kids engaged. Those with childhood still in their heart may also spot a familiar friend in the Bagpuss exhibit—numerous props from the original show in the galleries first floor. 

 

Get outdoors

Breathe in the fresh air at Blean Wood National Nature Reserve. With a designated dog-walking route away from the natural wildlife, you can choose the route that best suits your needs, whether it’s a quick spurt or a meandering stroll around it’s 25 mile circular walk. Visit in summer to spot rare butterflies.

For something a little more leisurely, try a hand at Punting on the river Stour. Choose between a chauffeured vessel or give it a go yourself—all trips are first come first served and assisted by friendly oarsmen and women. 

 

Shop

In need of some souvenirs? Head straight to Canterbury Pottery. Established in 1963, the husband-and-wife team craft beautiful handmade pieces that would make a delightful gift. 

Continue the quest for knick-knacks in Queen Bee Home, a three-floor emporium of unusual trinkets and decoration. 

For all the usual brand names, Whitefriars is Canterbury’s main shopping district, with over 70 familiar brands in an easy-to-navigate, open setting.