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Best things to do & places to stay:

Last updated: 04 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Annabelle Thorpe

Most famous as the home of the Church of England, Canterbury is dominated by the spectacular cathedral, which overlooks picturesque streets dotted with boutiques, cafés and bistros.

It’s a great place to wander; along the banks of the River Stour, around the Roman Walls that surround the city, or along the tranquil 14th-century precincts that back onto the cathedral.

The city boasts three universities, giving the town a youthful, vibrant feel and there’s history at every turn, from Westgate – the UK’s largest surviving medieval tower to the cosy Parrot pub, which dates back to the 14th century.

It’s also the perfect base for exploring the unspoilt Kent countryside that surrounds the town, a landscape of gentle hills dotted with picturesque villages.

The bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination

Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury , Kent , United Kingdom (UK)

One of the most beautiful cathedrals in Britain, with stained glass windows dating back to the 12th century. Home of the Church of England, and the final resting place of Thomas Becket.

Best for ages: 18+ | £14

Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest

Close up of the roof and window of Tudor-style building
Experience

Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

Canterbury , Kent, United Kingdom (UK)

A museum, gallery, library and visitor centre all housed in an elegant, Grade II-listed building, with exhibits including prehistoric artefacts found in and around Canterbury and works by local artists.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Festival-goers in traditional clothes walking down street
Experience

Canterbury Festival

Canterbury , Kent, United Kingdom (UK)

A two-weeks arts festival taking place annually in the second half of October, bringing together live music, theatre, spoken-word events and street theatre.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free | 2 weeks

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Old English pub on narrow street
Experience

Parrot Pub

Canterbury, Kent , United Kingdom (UK)

Pop in for a pint at Canterbury’s oldest pub; a cosy, firelit haunt that has been serving weary travellers – and construction workers on the nearby cathedral – since the 14th century.

Best for ages: 16+ | Free

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Overview >
Tourists punting down narrow stretch of the River Stour lined with Tudor buildings
Experience

Punting on the River Stour

Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom (UK)

Get a different perspective on Canterbury’s historic houses and quiet back streets with a trip along the River Stour; book a guide to do the punting, and sit back and enjoy the views.

Best for ages: 6+ | £10 | 1+ hours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

Official Canterbury Guided Walking Tour - 11.00 Tour

Official Canterbury Guided Walking Tour - 11.00 Tour

Canterbury

Canterbury Guided Tours provide entertaining 90-minute tours for visitors to the historic city of Canterbury. From medieval lanes and pilgri...

£15 | Rating 4.82 / 5 [79 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Official Canterbury Guided Walking Tour - 14.00 Tour

Official Canterbury Guided Walking Tour - 14.00 Tour

Canterbury

Canterbury Guided Tours provide entertaining 90-minute tours for visitors to the historic city of Canterbury. From medieval lanes and pilgri...

£15 | Rating 4.82 / 5 [120 ratings]

Website >

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
The Canterbury Classic Tour

The Canterbury Classic Tour

Canterbury

Come with us and delve into the rich history of Canterbury and explore this amazing city with CT Tours. With your dedicated and accredited t...

£12 | Rating 4.98 / 5 [74 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay in this destination

House of Agnes

Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom (UK)

Wonderful, central 15th century house converted into a stylish boutique hotel with a gorgeous garden. 

Official star rating:

The Abode Canterbury

Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom (UK)

Sleekly-designed hotel in an excellent central location the heart of Canterbury, with great dining options. 

Official star rating:

Canterbury Cathedral Lodge

Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom (UK)

Built in the cathedral grounds, this sleek hotel is quiet, conveniently central and offers unrivalled views of the magnificent cathedral from your bedroom. 

Official star rating:

The Pig at Bridge Place

Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom (UK)

A sexy, sophisticated bolthole with a fantastic restaurant, a stone’s throw from historic Canterbury. 

Official star rating:

When to go

Canterbury heaves in late spring and summer (June to August), when overseas tourists flood in, and is at its most beautiful in autumn (September to October), when the parks are awash with scarlet and gold foliage. The city dresses up for Christmas, but the High Street does get over-run with shoppers, particularly on weekends.

Getting there and away

Canterbury is flanked by two railways stations, East and West; Canterbury West has direct services from London St Pancras that take under an hour. Reaching the city by car is an easy drive down the A2 from London (around 90 minutes). London Gatwick airport is also about 90 minutes away by car.

Getting around

Canterbury is an easily walkable city, with both train stations within strolling distance of the centre. Although there are plenty of car parks, it can be hard to find a space on weekends and in the holidays; coming by train is a better option. The city centre is pedestrianised – and usually busy; much better explored on foot than by bike.