15 Best Things to Do in Canterbury, England

15 Best Things to Do in Canterbury, England

By will

There’s something special about Canterbury, England that draws travelers from around the globe.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an adventure-filled family vacation, there’s something for everyone in this ancient city.

With its old-world charm and modern amenities, it’s no wonder that Canterbury is a must-see destination for those seeking a little bit of freedom.

Here are 15 of the best things to do in Canterbury that will have you feeling like you’ve stepped back in time.

1. Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral
Photo by Colin Smith

Canterbury Cathedral is a must-see for those visiting England’s historic county of Kent.

Nestled in the heart of Canterbury, this stunning cathedral has been the spiritual center of the Anglican Church since its founding in 597 AD.

The imposing Romanesque architecture and iconic spires stand tall in the city skyline and have seen some of England’s most significant historical moments.

As such, it is one of the most visited attractions in all of England, drawing thousands to its sacred grounds every year.

Inside this awe-inspiring building visitors will find an incredible collection of stained glass windows, ancient tombs, and monuments, as well as many other artistic works that mark its long history.

Take some time to wander through the cloisters or gaze up at the intricacies of the ceiling’s vaulted stone arches.

It truly is a sight to behold and will leave you with a sense of awe and admiration for all that has taken place here over so many centuries.

After exploring these sacred grounds, you’ll be sure to take away a newfound appreciation for England’s past and present culture.

2. St Augustine’s Abbey

Canterbury - St Augustine's Abbey
Photo by Colin Smith

St Augustine’s Abbey is an absolute must-see on any itinerary to Canterbury.

This ancient Benedictine monastery was founded in 598 AD by Augustine of Canterbury and continues to be a major pilgrimage site today.

It’s located just outside the city walls and can be easily accessed on foot or by car.

The abbey offers a wealth of history, with remains that date back to the 7th century.

Visitors can explore the ruins, which include St Martin’s church and a cloister.

The abbey also features several beautiful gardens, including an ancient rose garden and herb garden, as well as an image of St Augustine himself.

For those who are looking for some spiritual respite, this is definitely the place to go.

The abbey provides visitors with a unique insight into medieval life and culture, as well as inspiring them with its sense of serenity and peacefulness.

Exploring the grounds is a great way to take in the beauty of Canterbury while getting away from it all at the same time.

A visit here will leave you feeling inspired and free from everyday worries – something we could all use more of!

3. Westgate Gardens

Westgate Gardens, Canterbury
Photo by pam fray

Westgate Gardens is a must-see when visiting Canterbury.

Located along the old city wall, the gardens boast beautiful floral borders, elegant lawns, and picturesque lakeside walks.

The gardens are full of life and provide a peaceful sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Visitors can find plenty to do here, including a tranquil boat ride on the lake or a leisurely stroll through the landscaped grounds.

There are plenty of benches for relaxing and taking in the views, as well as a cafe for refreshment.

Kids will love feeding the ducks, while adults can take in some local history with visits to the ancient chapel and gatehouse nearby.

Westgate Gardens is an ideal spot to enjoy some fresh air and reconnect with nature in this historic city.

4. The Refectory Kitchen

If you’re looking for an authentic, hearty meal in Canterbury, look no further than The Refectory Kitchen.

It’s a cozy spot with a relaxed atmosphere located in the heart of the city.

You’ll find all your favorite British pub grub here, like fish and chips, steak pie, and bangers and mash.

And the menu has plenty of other options as well – from vegan dishes to Indian curries to mouthwatering desserts.

The portions are generous and the prices are reasonable too.

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What makes The Refectory Kitchen stand out is its commitment to using fresh, local ingredients.

Everything is prepared on-site with care and attention to detail. So when you dine here, you know you’re getting something special that’s made with love.

And the staff are friendly and attentive – they’ll make sure your meal is delicious!

Whether you’re looking for an intimate dinner or a casual lunch with friends, The Refectory Kitchen is a great choice.

An evening spent savoring their delicious fare will be one of your fondest memories from your time in Canterbury!

5. Beaney House Of Art & Knowledge

Next up on our Canterbury tour is the Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, a cultural oasis located in the city’s historic center.

The building was originally built as a Victorian library in 1899, and today it stands as a vibrant hub for arts, culture, and learning.

From interactive exhibitions and workshops to live music events and theatre performances, there’s plenty to keep visitors entertained.

Inside the Beaney, you can find a wide range of collections – from natural history to archaeology – which are sure to captivate those with an appetite for knowledge.

Its art gallery is filled with works from local artists, while its theatre hosts some of the best theatrical performances in town.

With something for everyone here, it’s no wonder why the Beaney has become such an integral part of Canterbury life.

So why not take some time out to explore this vibrant space? You won’t regret it!

6. St Martin’s Church

St Martin’s Church is a must-see when visiting Canterbury.

You’ll find the church overlooking the River Stour, which snakes its way through the city.

The church dates back to 1067 and provides an insight into the past of this vibrant city.

It has a beautiful Romanesque-style exterior, with its colorful stained glass windows adding to its historical charm.

Inside, you’ll find a variety of artwork, including 16th-century wall paintings depicting scenes from the life of Christ.

The church also houses a number of ancient artifacts, such as medieval manuscripts and historical documents.

The best part about visiting St Martin’s Church is its rich history and vibrant atmosphere.

Whether you choose to explore inside or outside, it’s sure to leave an impression on you that will last a lifetime.

It’s not just a place for tourists; locals come here too to appreciate the beauty and serenity of the area.

Taking in all its glory while breathing in the fresh air – it’s what freedom feels like!

7. Cathedral Precincts

Leaving the awe-inspiring St. Martin’s Church, it’s time to explore the Cathedral Precincts of Canterbury.

This ancient site offers visitors a glimpse into a fascinating and often turbulent history that stretches back over six hundred years.

From the magnificent Norman façade of the Cathedral to the charming ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey, these precincts are an incredible journey through time.

The vast grounds of Canterbury Cathedral provide a tranquil haven in which to wander and explore.

The beautiful cloisters, each with their own unique story, will captivate and excite any visitor.

And while exploring, why not take a moment to sit in one of the many gardens dotted around the precinct?

Here you can look out across this ancient site and marvel at its magnificence.

As well as being incredibly peaceful and serene, there are also several interesting attractions to be found within the precincts such as St Anselm’s Chapel and the Great Hall.

With so much beauty to soak up, it is easy to see why this area has been attracting visitors for centuries.

Exploring Canterbury Cathedral Precincts is sure to leave you feeling both inspired and enlightened by their rich history, beauty, and tranquillity – all perfect ingredients for an unforgettable day in England’s oldest city.

8. Old City Of Canterbury

The old city of Canterbury is a sight to behold.

From the ancient walls that surround it, built by the Romans over two thousand years ago, to the cobbled streets and beautiful architecture, there’s so much to explore here.

You’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants too, giving you a chance to sample some delicious local delicacies.

If you’re looking for an adventure, check out the Canterbury Cathedral.

This stunning building dates back to 597AD and is one of the most important religious sites in England.

Take a guided tour for an insight into its history or wander around on your own – either way, you won’t be disappointed!

The cathedral grounds are also home to St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church, both worth a visit if you have time.

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Canterbury offers something for everyone; whether it’s exploring historic sites or simply experiencing life in a vibrant city, there’s something special waiting here.

Plus, with great transport links from London and beyond, getting here couldn’t be easier!

So why not take some time out from your busy schedule and come discover this charming corner of England?

9. Beaney House Of Art And Knowledge

Canterbury is home to some of the most unique cultural attractions in England, and the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge is one such experience.

Located on Stour Street in the city center, this fascinating building houses an impressive collection of art, artifacts, and books.

It also hosts regular events that explore all aspects of local culture.

Visiting The Beaney House will be a treat for those who love to learn.

Its incredible exhibits are full of intriguing objects from across the world that tell a range of stories about history and science.

You’ll find ancient artifacts, rare books, and artworks from different time periods.

There are also interactive displays so you can engage with the collections in a hands-on way.

The Beaney House is a great place to discover more about Canterbury’s rich heritage – from its Roman past to its later medieval prosperity.

With plenty of activities for children as well as adults, it’s sure to be an educational yet entertaining day out.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to explore Canterbury’s culture – come visit The Beaney House today!

10. Canterbury Castle & The City Wall Trail

Leaving the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, take a stroll through the cobblestone streets to Canterbury Castle.

Erected in 1070, this medieval castle is an important part of Canterbury’s history.

With views that stretch to the White Cliffs of Dover and its city walls, it’s easy to see why it was so important during the Middle Ages.

Explore its ancient rooms, chapels, and dungeons – all while learning about its turbulent past.

Next on your journey is The City Wall Trail.

This two-mile trail takes you along the medieval city walls, offering breathtaking views of the city below.

Along the way, you’ll find historic sites such as St Martin’s Church and Westgate Tower – both of which are great spots for a photo opportunity!

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for some local wildlife too; you may even spot some rare birds or butterflies nesting in nearby trees!

When you reach your destination, be sure to grab a cup of tea from one of Canterbury’s traditional tea shops before heading off on your next adventure.

11. The Marlowe Theatre

The Marlowe Theatre is a must-see spot for a day of entertainment in Canterbury.

This iconic theatre opened in the 1930s and has been entertaining locals and visitors since.

From musicals to children’s shows, the venue offers something for all ages.

The charming Edwardian building is home to an impressive auditorium, with seating for 1,200 guests.

With its grand balconies and ornate chandeliers, this theatre is an unforgettable experience.

The Marlowe Theatre also hosts comedy nights, late-night films, and live music performances from some of the country’s best acts.

There are plenty of dining options available before or after the show, including a bar that serves light snacks and drinks.

There’s even a gift shop stocked with souvenirs so you can take a piece of your visit home with you!

Whether you’re looking for a fun night out or just want to soak up some culture, The Marlowe Theatre is the perfect place to spend your day in Canterbury.

12. Wildwood Discovery Park

Wildwood Discovery Park is a great day out for all ages.

Located in the heart of Canterbury, it’s an ideal spot to explore and learn about Britain’s wildlife.

With over 25 acres of parkland, there are plenty of activities to keep everyone busy.

The forests, ponds, streams, and meadows provide plenty of opportunities to discover local wildlife such as deer, badgers, and foxes.

There are also a variety of trails that can be followed around the park allowing visitors to observe the stunning scenery and landscapes.

The park also offers activities such as bird watching, educational talks, and guided walks.

For those looking for more adventurous activities, Wildwood provides an array of adventure play areas with climbing frames, swings, and trampolines – perfect for kids looking to let off some steam!

Visitors can even enjoy a picnic in the park’s designated picnic area or take part in one of their fun-filled workshops or events.

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With so much to see and do in this beautiful location, Wildwood Discovery Park is sure to be an enjoyable experience for all visitors no matter what age they are.

Whether you’re looking for peace and relaxation or adventure and exploration – this is the place for you!

13. Howletts Wild Animal Park

Next on the list of top things to do in Canterbury is Howletts Wild Animal Park.

Located just a few miles from the city center, this family-friendly attraction promises excitement and thrills for all ages.

Here, visitors can view more than 400 animals from over 50 species in their natural habitats.

From majestic elephants and tigers to playful monkeys and lemurs, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.

The park also offers plenty of interactive activities such as animal encounters, Keeper Talks, and even educational programs that teach people about conservation efforts happening around the world.

It’s an amazing opportunity to learn more about the wild creatures right here in Canterbury and the work being done to protect them.

Whether you’re looking for a fun day out with the family or want to get up close and personal with some of your favorite animals, Howletts Wild Animal Park is sure to provide a memorable experience!

14. The Buttermarket

The Buttermarket in Canterbury, England is a must-see for any traveler in the area.

Located right next to the Cathedral, The Buttermarket is a bustling hub of shops and restaurants.

It’s an ideal spot to grab a bite to eat or find that perfect souvenir.

The Buttermarket dates back to 1670 and is filled with character and history.

With its cobbled floors, wooden beams, and old-fashioned feel, it’s easy to be transported back in time when visiting this charming marketplace.

You can find anything from vintage clothing boutiques to an array of cafes and restaurants offering delicious local cuisine.

It’s also the perfect place for picking up some unique gifts; there are plenty of artisan stalls selling handmade crafts, jewelry, antiques, and more.

After exploring The Buttermarket you can take a stroll around the Cathedral grounds or simply admire the impressive architecture from outside.

With so much to see and do here, it’s sure to be one of the most memorable stops on your trip!

15. Canterbury Festival

After exploring Canterbury’s bustling Buttermarket, travelers should make their way to the Canterbury Festival.

This annual event takes place from October to November and celebrates all things creative – from theatre to music, art, and literature.

The festival program is an eclectic mix of events that cater to every kind of traveler, whether they’re looking for a family-friendly outing or an evening full of live performances.

The most popular attractions are the outdoor performances in Marlowe Park.

There, visitors can enjoy musical acts, theatre shows, comedy, and more against the stunning backdrop of the River Stour and its surrounding gardens.

Those seeking something a little more unusual can check out one of the many themed nights on offer throughout the festival.

From firework displays and silent discos to silent film screenings with live accompaniment – there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes!

Plus, each year also sees special exhibitions from local artists as well as workshops for those who want to get involved in making art themselves.

Whatever you choose to do during your visit, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Best Things to Do in Canterbury – Final Thoughts

The majestic Canterbury Cathedral is the city’s most iconic attraction, and it’s easy to see why.

It’s a must-see for any visitor to this historic city.

But Canterbury has plenty more to offer.

Whether you’re looking for culture, outdoor adventure, or just a great night out, you won’t be disappointed.

From the Refectory Kitchen to Westgate Gardens, St Augustine’s Abbey to Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, and beyond – there are so many incredible sites to explore in Canterbury.

Adventure seekers will love Wildwood Discovery Park and Howletts Wild Animal Park while those looking for some culture should make sure they check out the Buttermarket and Canterbury Festival.

Canterbury truly is an unforgettable destination with something for everyone – so why not book your trip today?

You won’t regret it!


What are the best things to do in Canterbury with kids?

The best things to do in Canterbury with kids are visiting Canterbury Roman Museum, Wingham Wildlife Park, and Wildwood Discovery Park.

What to do during the day in Canterbury?

The best things to do during the day in Canterbury are visiting Canterbury Cathedral, St. Agustine’s Abbey, and Beaney House Of Art and Knowledge.

Is Canterbury worth visiting?

Yes, Canterbury is worth visiting because it is one of the most historic cities in the country and is home to UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.