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10 Best Things To Do In Canterbury, England – Hand Luggage Only

Nestled in the countryside of the south of England, Canterbury is a city that’s steeped in history and a perfect place to visit when in England. Plus, so many of the best things to do in Canterbury are all within walking distance in and from the city centre. This makes it a perfect city in England by foot; well, once you get there that is.

Over the years, we’ve visited Canterbury countless times; and it has steeped in history. For instance, people have lived here since Paleolithic times and, even in more recent years, the Romans. This all makes it a perfect city to visit if you’re interested in British history.

Not only that, Canterbury is a mere stone’s throw from London, taking around 70 minutes by train.  This all means you can easily visit for a day whilst visiting the best places in London

So, to help you on your way, I’m sharing the top places in Canterbury that you have to visit. This way, you can focus on the all-important exploring. Have an amazing time visiting Canterbury. 

1.) Canterbury Cathedral

After arriving at either Canterbury East or West train station, make sure to stroll into the centre of the city and visit Canterbury Cathedral. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Canterbury, especially if you want to explore some of the Norman history from the city itself. 

Now, you will need to grab these tickets to enter Canterbury Cathedral but it’s worth it for sure. Not only that, you’ll get to explore Chapter House and the Great Cloister with this ticket. 

Once inside, you’ll get to visit the northwest transept where Thomas Becket was martyred and Trinity Chapel, which dates back almost 1,000 years. 

A visit will take around 90 minutes and is well worth visiting whilst in Canterbury. 

Read more: Best places in the south of England

2.) Westgate Gardens River Walk

Westgate Gardens is a beautiful place for a stroll, that’s right on the banks of the Great Stour River. It’s so beautiful and the grounds are kept pristine.

Now, a walk around Westgate Gardens will take about 20 minutes. It’s quite small, but perfect if you want some time away from the historic streets of Canterbury itself. 

Don’t forget, you can easily partner a visit to Westgate Gardens with Westgate Towers Museum. It’s a great place to learn more about the city’s defences, especially from the 1300s. Plus, you can get some lovely views from the tower. itself. 

Read more: Best things to do in London

3.) Canterbury Roman Museum

Not too far from the Cathedral, visiting the Roman Museum is one of the best things to do in Canterbury if you’re exploring the city’s, you guessed it, Roman history.

Nestled away on Butchery Lane, the Roman Museum is a great little spot for all the family. Once here, you’ll get to see the remains of the under-floor heating that Romans perfected., Plus, you’ll get to see so many Roman mosaics that are incredibly well-preserved. 

A visit will take around 75 minutes and can easily be visited whilst walking the city centre of Canterbury. 

Read more: Best things to do in London

4.) St Augustine’s Abbey

Built back in the 6th Century, the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey can’t be missed when visiting Canterbury. Now, entry costs around £7-10 but it’s so worth it whilst in the city, especially as this is the very point where Christianity ‘started’ in England.

Honestly, even if you’re not religious, it’s a site that can’t be missed as it’s one of the most important religious sites in all of Great Britain.  Once here, you’ll get to wander around the ruins and learn so much about the abbey’s influence and importance across all of England.

Read more: Best things to do in Cambridge

5.) St Martin’s Church

After exploring the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey, make sure to visit nearby St Martin’s Church. Yes, it might be small and quite quiet, but this site is hugely important; historically at least. 

Dating back to the 6th Century, it’s the oldest, continually-used, English-speaking church worldwide.  

A visit will only take around 10 minutes and easily be visited after exploring St Augustine’s Abbey.  

Read more: Best cities in England to visit

6.) Canterbury City walls

Once upon a time, long ago, Canterbury was a protected city with vast walls that kept its residents safe. Nowadays, the ruins of Canterbury City Walls are well worth seeing, especially if you’re already near Canterbury East train station. 

Today, you can stroll the paths around the City Walls and even head across the city to Westgate, the last surviving gate which is steeped in history (and just shy of Westgate Gardens). 

Read more: Best cities in England to visit

7.) Beaney House of Art and Knowledge

Tucked away on the High Street, the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge is easily one of the best things to do in Canterbury. 

You see, you’ll be able to head inside this 1800s building that houses heaps of local and international artist exhibits that are totally free to see.

It’s the perfect little spot to visit, especially if you’re already in the city centre of Canterbury. Visits will take around 30 minutes.

Read more: Best things to do in Shrewsbury

8.) Canterbury Castle

I know I keep harking on about historical sites in Canterbury, but there are honestly so many to see; especially the Norman castle that’s ruins still stand within the city itself. 

Perched on Castle Street, visiting the castle is one of the best things to do in Canterbury when walking from Canterbury East Train Station. It’s a few minutes walk away and you honestly can’t miss it. 

Built almost 1,000 years ago, Canterbury Castle is steeped in history; being a designated Royal castle of Kent. There were originally only three of these, with Canterbury being one of them. 

Just a heads up, at the moment, there is lots of work being undertaken to make the ruins safe to visit. This means you won’t be able to go inside the grounds and you might be greeted with some scaffolding.

Read more: Best castles in England to visit

9.) Canterbury Punting

Okay, so you can’t visit Canterbury without heading out on the Great Stour punting. It’s similar to Punting in Cambridge, where you’ll get pushed with a stick on a boat trip around the historic centre of Canterbury. 

Now, if you’re visiting at peak times, make sure to book your punting experience online before visiting. They only have a limited number of punts and you don’t want them to be sold out when you visit.

You can easily choose to join a shared punt (around £10-30) or opt for a private punt (around £100-£150). Both are great options, it just really depends on what type of experience you want. 

Read more: Best places in the south of England

10.) Chilham

If you’re visiting the wider area around Canterbury, make sure to stop off at Chilham. It’s a quaint, and very small village that’s a perfect stopping point at lunchtime.

Filled with timber-framed houses and a few little streets, you’ll easily stroll around the whole village within 15 minutes. That being said, it’s lovely and quaint and they have some great places for lunch, too.

Once here, stop off at the Church Mouse Tea Rooms for their delicious, homemade, scones. It’s so cosy and one spot not to miss if you’ve worked up an appetite. 

Also, don’t forget about the White Horse for a local brew. It’s a cosy, and pretty quirky little spot that’s perfect for whetting one’s whistle.  

Read more: Best places in the south of England

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