So much to see and do in Canterbury!
CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL This magnificent cathedral will undoubtably be the highlight of your stay in Canterbury and has been welcoming visitors and pilgrims since the 597AD. The cathedral is one of the grandest ancient buildings in the United Kingdom, parts of which date back to over a 1000 years.
Visitors can book one of the daily guided tours which are offered in 9 European languages, and discover the rich history of this UNESCO world heritage site. It was here that the arch Bishop Thomas Becket was famously murdered in 1170AD
The cathedral houses a Romanesque crypt and is home to some of the most beautiful and important stained glass in the UK.
Throughout the year visitors can enjoy various concerts, exhibitions, talks and walks in the cathedral and its grounds.
ST AUGUSTINES ABBEY
This wonderful monument is also part of Canterbury’s world heritage site. It was once one the most important monasteries in medieval England and was created as a burial ground for the Anglo Saxon king of Kent. Over the years that followed it was used for a number of purposes, including a royal palace, a poor house and a prison. Today can explore the interesting grounds and in the museum visitors can don virtual reality headsets and stroll through parts of the ancient monastery.
ST MARTINS CHURCH makes up the third part of the world heritage sites in Canterbury. This church was the first to be founded in England and is the oldest English speaking church in the entire world.
AWARD WINNING RIVER TOURS CANTERBURY Not to be missed!
The pretty river Stour runs right through Canterbury’s historic city centre, and from March to October visitors can take a guided river tour on board a punt or small boat. From the comfort of your vessel you can enjoy a unique view point of some of Canterbury’s most beautiful and important architecture. As you meander through the city, parks and gardens you will learn about Canterbury’s rich heritage from your boating chauffeur.
Some companies offer luxury tours complete with champagne and Pimms and also special sweetheart tours for couples. Our nearest punting company is located just a few minutes walk from st Edmunds cottage.
THE MARVELLOUS MARLOWE THEATRE
Canterbury is the cultural hub of Kent and is extremely fortunate to be home to the fabulous Marlowe theatre, which is one of the UK’s leading theatre venues.
Throughout the year it hosts a fantastic program of shows, plays, concerts, comedy acts and major West end musicals. Not forgetting of course the traditional Christmas pantomime!
CHAUCER’S CANTERBURY TALES MUSEUM
Set in the historical st Margaret’s church this charming attraction will appeal to visitors of all ages.
Here, costumed guides provide fun interaction and where you can experience the sounds, sights and smells of medieval England whilst you walk alongside Chaucer’s characters on their pilgrimage to Canterbury.
There are audio guides in 6 foreign languages and children can dress up in medieval costumes.
PARKS AND GARDENS
The medieval city of Canterbury is blessed with many wonderful green spaces and Greyfriars garden and chapel are just a five minute stroll from St Edmunds cottage. The utterly charming chapel, which also serves as a bridge across the river, is all that remains of the original 13th Century Franciscan monastery.
Westgate towers & gardens. The handsome Westgate towers, built during the 100 yrs war, are thought to be the UK’s finest and largest surviving medieval gateway. Explore the fascinating museum within, making sure to climb to the top of the towers to experience the wonderful views over the city. Spreading out from the base of the towers are the westgate gardens, which are made up of 4 beautiful spaces flanking the river Stour. These landscaped gardens and park are a wonderful place to stroll through at any time of the year. Don’t forget to admire the 200 year old Plane tree.
SHOPPING & MARKETS CANTERBURY
Canterbury offers some of the best shopping in Kent with its vast and varied mix of shops and market stalls.
Close to the cathedral and in the shadow of its ancient spires lies the King’s Mile. A maze of narrow streets and home to a collection of independent shops and traditional traders; offering anything from handmade chocolates, vintage clothing, second hand books, antique and modern artwork, to artisan cakes and cheeses.
Whitefriars is Canterbury’s modern and award winning shopping centre where visitors can shop for alongside well know high street names and lifestyle brands.
And to help you remember your wonderful visit to Canterbury the museum shops offer the opportunity to shop for unique souvenirs and gifts, including Chaucer themed gifts and even Archbishop teddy bears!
For super fresh local produce visit The Goods Shed indoor market close to Canterbury West train station. This daily market is packed with delicious goodies, including fresh fish, artisan cheeses and great bottled beers. The Goods shed also house a popular restaurant and nice food hall.
Other weekly markets – Wed & Fri – can be found in St. George’s street. Here you can shop for anything from local organic produce to gifts and flowers.
EATING AND DRINKING IN CANTERBURY
As the cultural hub of south east England, Canterbury offers visitors an exciting fusion of flavours with something to please just about everyone!
COFFEE HOUSES AND CAFES
Coffee Curiosity – a few minutes walk, just around the corner in Tannery Square. Serving amazing coffee and fab snacks & cakes.
Garage coffee - is another great coffee house and only 4 mins walk on Stour street.
Café Tourquoise – a small and charming Patisserie serving fab coffee, tea, hit chocolate and fabulous cakes.
BREAKFAST & LUNCH
The Saffron cafe – just around the corner in castle street, this family run restaurant offers fabulous breakfasts, tasty lunches and good value for money.
The Naughty Egg – offers a wide range of eggy dishes, amazing home fries and load of other delicious goodies all day!
The Skinny Kitchen – offers an interesting menu from breakfast onwards. Including good veggie choices, pancakes, chicken burgers and great shakes.
Kitch - great healthy food including vegan options, for breakfast lunch, great smoothies and cakes.
Canteen – for outstanding salads, Sandwiches and wraps.
Canterbury has many great pubs, so here are just a few to mention
The Foundry microbrewery – a few minutes walk down Stour street brings you to this great venue; offering unique craft beers plus a great bar & restaurant with an informal and relaxed atmosphere.
The Old Butter market – a traditional character pub offering real ales and good pub grub!
The Parrot – a gastro pub with oak beams, real fires and modern pub food.
There are simply too many good ones to mention here so I have listed just a fraction of them.
Pinocchio’s – just around the corner in Castle street, offering traditional and superb Italian cuisine with a real Italian atmosphere!
The Ambrette – a few minutes walk onto Beercart lane and you arrive at this fabulous, Indian inspired fine dinning restaurant where the emphasis is on local and sustainable produce.
Café des Amis – located near the westgate towers offers the best Mexican food in Kent with traditional flavours and a friendly and informal atmosphere.
Corner House – a superb restaurant located within a 16th century coach house, priding them selves on excellent local ingredients and offering amazing Sunday lunches plus a good kids menu.
The Korean Cowgirl – not Korean but delicious slow cooked and smoked American BBQ!
Pork & Co. – offering free range pork dishes and so much more, plus excellent craft beers and a section for takeaway food.
Oscar & Bentleys – a lovely bistro housed within a historic building and offering amongst other things, 100% gluten free meals.
Tamago – offering authentic Japanese cuisine in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
Chapman’s – a popular and highly rated seafood restaurant serving the best local seafood.
OUT AND ABOUT – DAY TRIPS FROM CANTERBURY
If you fancy heading out of the city for the day then there are plenty of interesting places to visit within easy reach of Canterbury.
NEARBY FORDWICH is a mere 10 minutes by car or an easy 15 minute cycle or 1 hour walk along the signposted Stour Valley walk; taking in woods and fields and runnings alongside river Stour from Canterbury to Fordwich.
This charming hidden gem announces itself upon arrival as Britain’s smallest town. It may well be small but the village is packed with some wonderful historic buildings including the beautiful, tiny village hall the parish church of St Mary’s.
After exploring the village enjoy a welcome drink or delicious lunch at one of the villages two excellent pubs. The traditionally elegant George and dragon or the stunning riverside Fordwich Arms, recently voted as one Britain’s best pubs and now awarded a Michelin star.
Other activities offered at Fordwich include canoeing, self hire or guided tours and boat trips up the river Stour.
The Kent coast is dotted with pretty seaside towns & villages with Whitstable being the closest to Canterbury at 30 minutes by car or bus. A wonderful little fishing town with pastel painted beach huts and shopfronts and a huge array of excellent cafes and restaurants and also a thriving arts scene. The fantastic annual Oyster festival at the end of July is not to be missed.
HERNE BAY & RECULVER
Herne Bay is the quintessential Victoria seaside town. Home to a stunning clock tower, sea front gardens, traditional bandstand and animated pier – once the longest pier in the UK. From here you can walk the picturesque cliff paths and wild flower meadows to end up, within the hour, at the remains of a Roman fort and 12th century church at Reculver.
The 2 mile stretch of beach between the two is also a great place to hunt for fossils at low tide – such as prehistoric shark’s teeth, sea urchins and coral.
HOWLETTS WILD ANIMAL PARK
Dedicated to conservation, this interesting wildlife park is only 20 minutes drive from St Edmunds cottage. Home to over 400 animals including a large troupe of gorillas, tigers, leopards and monkeys and the UK’s largest herd of African elephants. The park offers a really great day out for visitors of all ages.
For more tourist information and ideas please do visit Canterbury’s fantastic visitors centre at 18 high street Canterbury.