Canterbury, Herne Bay and Whitstable
Visit Canterbury and discover why this beautiful, ancient city is one of the jewels in Kent's crown. The historic city is less than an hour from London by train, and just 10 minutes from some of Kent's beautiful beaches, and is the perfect city break for anyone in the mood for gorgeous medieval streets, great food and drink, and cultural getaway.
At the heart of the walled city is the iconic Canterbury Cathedral, parts of which date back to the 11th century. The stunning structure welcomes visitors all year round, who come to gaze at the remarkable architecture and visit the very spot where Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in 1170. The cathedral remains a popular pilgrimage site and is an calm oasis in the bohemian city - though you're never far from bustling bar or great restaurant.
Along with the Cathedral, nearby St Augustine's Abbey and St Martin's Church form a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so take advantage of one of the many walking trails and a guided tours with Canterbury Guided Walking Tours to fully appreciate the city's extraordinary architecture, boutique shops, malls, and key attractions.
Those looking for more things to do in Canterbury can while away their time about the fun-filled Chaucer-themed Canterbury Tales, visit the Norman Canterbury Castle, delve into the past at Canterbury Roman Museum, or explore treasure-filled Canterbury Heritage Museum (home of Rupert the Bear creator Mary Tourtel). The recently refurbished Beaney House of Art and Knowledge hosts numerous exhibitions, and you won't want to miss a chance to see Canterbury’s hidden gems by boat with the award winning Canterbury Historic River Tours.
Hotels in Canterbury also guarantee a great night's rest, including the fabulous Abode, the superbly-sited Cathedral Lodge and the Holiday Inn Express. Feeling hungry? When it comes to restaurants in Canterbury, you will be spoiled for choice. Try fine British dining at Deesons, or The Goods Shed - a restaurant-meets-farmers' market that flies the flag for seasonal, local food. Or simple prowl the winding, cobble streets where you will find scores of great restaurants and foodie outlets to satisfy your cravings - and there are plenty of great pubs and bars serving real ale, cocktails and fine wines.
Canterbury's boldly modern Marlowe Theatre, built on the river bank is emerging as one of the South East’s top theatres. And you won't need a trip to Africa to see big cats, elephants, rhinos, and cheeky monkeys, when they are all a short drive away at the Howletts Wild Animal Park. While out and about, stop off at nearby Goodnestone Park Gardens discover the place where Jane Austen penned parts of Pride and Prejudice in 1796.
Just ten minutes from Canterbury, you can find bohemian seaside town of Whitstable, famous for its oysters and shingle beaches. This charming port has been dubbed the Pearl of Kent, and is brimming with seafood restaurants, picturesque lanes, artisanal bakeries, boutique shops and art galleries. Soak up the atmosphere in a welcoming pub such as The Old Neptune on the shingle beach or The Black Dog 'micropub'. The Oyster Festival each July is a fabulous celebration of music, molluscs and much more. Or why not roam one of England's largest ancient woodlands at The Blean or cycle the nostalgia-rich Crab and Winkle Way, a tranquil 7 mile route linking Whitstable with Canterbury?
Just two miles east, a few surprises await at characterful seaside town of Herne Bay. A hit with visitors since the Victorian era, that legacy lingers in the bandstand, fragrant seafront gardens and distinctive 80ft Clock Tower and a great independent town with a plethora of shops and restaurants. Further east, the Reculver Towers and Roman Fort cling to sandstone cliffs, and the two 12th-century church towers sitting amid the remains of a Roman 'Saxon Shore' fort.
You will never be stuck for things to do in Canterbury, and its numerous attractions, hotels and restaurants will keep you coming back again and again.
Discover more at www.canterbury.co.uk.