There are a lot of things to do in Canterbury, which is a city in Kent, England. Canterbury’s enormous appeal may be attributed in part to the city’s stunning Gothic Cathedral and quaint mediaeval streets. The region has a younger atmosphere because of the large student population, which hails from a wide array of ethnic origins. This demographic also plays a key role in keeping the area’s many charming pubs and thriving café culture alive and well.
Along with the charming ancient buildings and beautiful open spaces, the Great Stour River, which flows through several of the city’s districts, provides a stunning backdrop. In the city’s shopping areas, where residents and visitors alike may peruse anything from department stores in Whitefriars to tiny artisan boutiques on the King’s Mile, you’ll find a lot more activity. Canterbury is surrounded on all sides by beautiful scenery and attractive tiny villages within a short distance from the city centre.
Let’s see what Canterbury has to offer, and some of the things to do in Canterbury are:
The imposing structure of Canterbury Cathedral, the seat of the Anglican Communion, is visible from miles away. A main tower that soars 72 metres into the air and is the landmark of the city is visible from far and wide. Its lush green precinct takes up a significant portion of the city of Canterbury.
There are both contemporary pilgrims and visitors from all over the world visiting the cathedral nowadays. You can find a little French Protestant chapel in the cathedral’s crypt, and to this day it still holds services once a week in French, something that many visitors don’t know about.
Great things to do in Canterbury is to visit Westgate Gardens. Even though Canterbury is hardly the most frenetic of towns, a visit to the tranquil Westgate Gardens might help you relax and unwind. These gardens begin next to the preserved ancient Westgate Towers and extend along the tranquil waters of the River Stour, only a 5-minute stroll from Canterbury West railway station.
The biggest tree you’re ever likely to see provides shade for a picnic or ice cream on the well-kept grounds here (an ancient plane tree). Aside from the quacking of ducks, the colourful flower beds provide some visual interest and make particularly pleasant Instagram backdrops. If you like what you see, you may keep walking down the riverfront route, which leads away from the bustle of the city and into a tranquil nature preserve.
Whitefriars is home to the St. George’s Clock Tower, which dates back to the 15th century, and you can find it near the ancient city wall and Dane John Gardens. However, that’s not the main draw for the region now. Whitefriars has recently become the most modern and upscale part of Canterbury’s retail scene.
Whitefriars is home to a variety of eateries, cafes, and shops selling anything from jewellery to clothing. There are always a good number of people milling about the neighbourhood, whether they be visitors, students, or residents, and this is true every day of the week. And if you’re shopping at Fenwicks with children, go down to the basement, where you’ll find a large toy store with loads of interactive displays.
The Great Stour River may not be as impressive as its name indicates, but it is nevertheless a charming addition to the city of Canterbury. The calm currents of this river follow two separate paths through the heart of the city, under High Street and past Westgate. Visiting this river is a must-do things to do in Canterbury.
Perhaps a guided punt tour of the city would be the best way to take in the serene waters of the river and the stunning landscape along its banks. Get that ideal Instagram image, but watch your step so you don’t fall in. There are gorgeous gardens, historical structures, and a tunnel that is 50 yards long. A replica of a mediaeval ducking stool, which was used to expose witches and punish others by plunging them into the river, is also on display.
Canterbury’s King’s Mile is where the city really starts to stand out from the crowd. Located behind the cathedral, these old streets are home to many of the city’s unique and independently owned businesses, including restaurants, bars, and stores. You may find everything from homemade fudge to local craft brews in this area, from vintage books to handcrafted jewellery.
Sir John Boys House is the most picturesque and unusual building on the King’s Mile. The entrance door of this home and business from the 17th century is angled at an odd angle with respect to the doorframe, and the building itself leans dangerously close to collapse.
Commonly referred to as “The Beaney,” the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge is an authentic museum of oddities. To begin with, the structure itself is interesting to look at; the distinctive Tudor restoration façade makes it stand out on Canterbury’s High Street.
The museum houses a wide range of objects from different time periods and cultures, such as works by Old Masters and local painters (most notably William Sidney Cooper), archaeological finds, children’s TV and literary characters (albeit mostly from a few generations back), and contemporary photography exhibitions. Thankfully, modern kids are also catered to at The Beaney. Kids are encouraged to explore the museum with the help of a guide and to get their hands dirty with a digital microscope and other hands-on tools.
The busy Whitefriars neighbourhood has a tranquil counterpart in Dane John Gardens. Located among the city’s main thoroughfares, this park provides a welcome oasis in the middle of busy Canterbury. In addition, a footbridge leads directly to the railway station at Canterbury East.
The towering city walls that surround the park are a unique feature that may be used to gain a great perspective of Canterbury. But from the top of Dane John Mound, you can see the cathedral and the countryside beyond the city, making it the greatest vantage point in the park. This hill has served as more than simply a lookout point throughout the years; it has also housed a Norman castle, a Roman cemetery, and an arsenal. When you go back down to ground level, you may get a snack from the kiosk and then take a walk through the vibrant flower gardens, elaborate fountain, and a Victorian bandstand.
If you’re a cricket fan from England, one sure thing you have to do in Canterbury is visited The Spitfire Ground at St. Lawrence. The Spitfire Ground St. Lawrence is probably familiar to you. It is located to the east of the city centre along Old Dover Road and has been the home of the Kent County Cricket Club since 1896.
The cricket field was famous for a large lime tree that stood in the middle of the field. A younger and, for the time being, smaller tree has been planted in its place after the previous one perished a few years ago. While the Spitfire Ground certainly has a rich history, it isn’t always the picture of gentlemanly cricket on days of major matches. When Kent plays their regional rivals, Surrey or Essex, the crowd may become rather rowdy.
Fordwich is a rural village on the River Stour, about 2.5 miles from the heart of Canterbury. It even says that it is Britain’s “smallest town,” even though it has one of the lowest populations for a recognised municipality in the country.
Fordwich is not only a great destination to visit on a beautiful day but also a great trivia answer. The Stour, which runs through the area, is popular with anglers and kayakers because of the scenic trails and riverbanks that run beside it. The town’s Fordwich Arms gastropub is a must-stop for every visitor. The elegant, wood-panelled dining area and serene riverside location of this establishment contribute to its rising star status among foodies.
It’s perhaps not surprising that the history of Britain’s top fictional spy is shrouded in mystery. If you look carefully enough, however, you’ll see that James Bond really spent a good chunk of his youth in the little community of Pett Bottom, which is located south of Canterbury. There is no truth to the rumours about Bond’s origin. Pett Bottom does exist, though, and the author of the James Bond series, Ian Fleming, really spent time there. The author drew a great deal of inspiration from his time spent in the area around his homes in Bekesbourne and St. Margaret’s Bay.
In the majority of the Moonraker novel, Bond’s high-speed automobile pursuit with supervillain Hugo Drax took place in the countryside near Canterbury. The number of the London-Dover coach route has remained at 007 to this day, so even James Bond’s famous codename derives from an unexpectedly mundane local source.
Canterbury has a lot to offer, and there are many things to do in Canterbury. You can choose from among the many we have mentioned here and make your trip a success.
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