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Holly Loftus
11th July 2023

The beautiful city of Canterbury, a destination that’s home to a depth of Kent’s history, magnificent attractions, and accommodations that welcome visitors far and wide to experience the Canterbury lifestyle. Whether that’s the peaceful riverside views and pretty gardens, the range of eateries that line the streets perfect for al-fresco dining in the summer, the museums, stunning hotels to B&B’s, or transport links. If you’re looking to venture out the city towards the coast then you’re simply a stone’s throw away from the popular seaside towns of Whitstable and Herne Bay. Grab an ice cream, wander the coastline, and explore the seaside offering.

It’s in Canterbury’s Nature to create unforgettable experiences and lasting memories of your visit - so let’s get stuck in on what the area can offer…

Discover the history...

Canterbury Cathedral

Did you know the city is home to three UNESCO World Heritage sites which of course includes the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral? The Cathedral has over 1400 years of history to be uncovered so, step back in time and discover the historic routes of the city from the Black Prince’s achievements to the story of Thomas Becket. Unravel the Inside Story of the site that is known as the mother church of the Anglican Communion as told by one of the informative tour guides or wander the grounds at your own leisure and witness the stunning architecture, stained glass, and wonderful collections.

The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

Speaking of Canterbury’s history, another great attraction to visit in the heart of the city is The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge and it’s free! The Beaney is home to heaps of information uniting art, heritage, books, ideas, information, and collections. And, with a variety of events scheduled throughout the year from historical toys and games to interactive tables and artist easels, what better time to bring the kids for some educational fun! Whilst we’re on the topic of history be sure to check out Canterbury Roman Museum. Did you know the museum is quite literally on the remains of an original Roman Town House, and you can even see the mosaic pavement that was found in the aftermath of the blitz bombings? Now that’s something you and the little ones need to witness, along with all the fascinating collections that represent over 2,000 years of history.

Westgate Towers

Take a walk to England’s largest surviving medieval gateway, Westgate Towers. Built during the One Hundred Years’ War to defend Canterbury from foreign incursion, Westgate Towers is now a popular city attraction with exhibits covering four themes including City Wars, Crime & Punishment, Westgate Through History and Magna Carta & The Maquettes. You’ll also find the Museum and Viewpoint with spectacular city views, The Pound bar & kitchen, and Escape in the Towers, the towers own escape room experience in the old city jail and police station!

Explore more of Canterbury...

Corkk

Nestled within the city walls, you’ll find all your sipping and swirling needs met at Corkk, the English Wine Specialists. Just a few doors down from the Cathedral, you can settle here and enjoy an evening that will delight the senses. Sample a fantastic wine selection, hand-picked by a master sommelier that spans the county and beyond. With Thursday Wine Tastings to celebrate the arrival of the weekend, a menu that will have your mouth watering before you can say “charcuterie board”, and “Meet the Vineyards” evenings, this is one spot that you won’t want to miss out on visiting.

Simpsons

And why not go the extra mile (literally) to meet the vineyard, with a visit to Simpsons Wine Estate? Boasting fantastic views of Kent’s North Downs, all factors here combine to create the perfect viticulture environment. Get stuck in and discover their wonderful creations at an unmissable event this year. Simpsons is waiting, how will you enjoy it? A sunset session to call in the summer, an afternoon in the Glass House Tasting Room to feel like an expert, or a winery tour and tasting experience for that extra special treat?

More places to visit

Whilst you’re in the city let’s look at some of the other things you can get up to. As we already know, it’s in the nature of Canterbury to highlight its wonderful attraction. From cobbled medieval streets and amazing independent shops, its range of foodie options and city attractions like the 3 different river boat tours (which is one of the best ways to see some city views!). So have a browse, grab a drink, and fill up on a delicious lunch from a popular brunch spot. There’s just so much to do, the only thing you need to worry about is fitting it all in!

Canoe Wild

Stepping away from the heart of the city, it’s time to get your paddle gear on and join in the fun with Canoe Wild. With sites at both Grove Ferry and Fordwich, Canoe Wild provide amazing water experiences, from kayaking and canoeing to SUP hire and raft building – there’s something for everyone! Providing you with all the equipment so all you need to do is rock up and get ready to go on an adventure. You can take a paddle along the river at either of the sites for 1 hour or take the paddle from Fordwich to Grove Ferry which will take you 2-3 hours. Don’t forget to stop and get the camera out to capture some selfies and shots of the stunning wildlife and nature along your route! If you do opt for this adventure then you’ll be pleased to know that they offer a free lift back to cars after your paddle – it’s an easy decision if you ask us! Make a day of it and bring a picnic, or head over for some lunch at the Grove Ferry Inn!

Stay the night...

Canterbury Cathedral Lodge

Luxury, comfort, rich history, are all things you can expect when spending a night at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge. With a backdrop as iconic as this one, this is one overnight stay that you’ll never forget. Wander the grounds on a peaceful morning before the public arrives, spend quality time with a loved one at the Lounge Bar, or simply relax in your room, fit with 42inch TV, mini fridge, en-suite bathroom, and just about everything else you could ask for.

The Falstaff

Once a coaching inn dating all the way back to 1403, this Canterbury hotel is a fantastic blend of traditional and modern, with cosy interiors welcoming you in for a relaxing stay just minutes from all those iconic sites. Wake up to a hearty breakfast, treat yourself to an evening cocktail, and even indulge in a luxury afternoon tea. And with the whole city on your doorstep, you can sleep in peace knowing you’re right in the heart of the excitement.

More accommodation options

There’s a wealth of accommodation options in the city, from 15th century coach houses and B&Bs to modern apartments in the heart of the city. Not only that, but the two universities, University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church both offer an excellent range of accommodation options.

The University of Kent is in a fantastic location overlooking the city making it an increasingly popular choice for groups or independent travellers on a leisure break. Offering a range of 4-5* VisitEngland campus graded accommodation, from en-suite B&B single or double rooms to self-catering flats and houses all set in a beautiful campus overlooking the historic City of Canterbury, its famous Cathedral and the hills beyond.

Also in the city is Canterbury Christ Church offering a range of excellent quality accommodation across five locations in Canterbury, as well as standalone student houses across the city. From standard and en-suite bedrooms to self-catering apartments and houses with different options suitable for individuals, groups, and families.

Head to the coast...

Herne Bay

As we previously mentioned Canterbury’s surrounding towns make for the perfect trip to the coast when you’re looking to head out of the city, and the small town of Herne Bay has plenty in store for your visit. The Seaside Museum is a wonderful little attraction packed with collections of the town’s history, from the Dambusters prototype Bouncing Bomb to Roman Reculver. 

Go for a wander and head towards the seafront where you’ll find plenty of things to do, especially if you’ve got the little ones. The pier has something for everyone whether you’re looking to grab some lunch, let the kids burn off some steam on the old-fashioned fairground horses, or zoom down the helter-skelter or you might just want to have a peaceful wander and browse the numerous retail huts. Why not plan your visit around Summer Nights on the Pier with a variety of music acts set to perform throughout the summer. Don’t forget to change up those notes and get the pennies out for some good old family arcade fun. You can also play a round of mini golf and it wouldn’t be a trip to the seaside without an ice cream now would it. 

Whitstable

Onto the next town now and we’ve arrived at the beautiful harbour town of Whitstable. Well known for its oysters and breath-taking sunsets, explore the town for the day and you’ll come across independent shops, quirky coffee spots and other delicious foodie options. Speaking of foodie options, the South Quay Shed is a must-visit, where you can enjoy delicious food from multiple outlets. Or explore The Shed and shop from a range of independent retailers offering gifts, fashion, homewares, and souvenirs that reflect the artistic culture of the town.

What else can you get up to? It wouldn’t be a trip to Whitstable without a wander along the harbour, exploring the Harbour Market, soaking in the views of the coast, and trying an oyster (or two!). This scenic town has many Insta-worthy photo opportunities, so if you’re look to capture the memories of your visit, be sure to bring your camera and snap away with a perfect Instagrammable shot around every corner!

Travel sustainably...

Stagecoach

You’re about to let out a little sigh of relief, because travelling around the city and the surrounding towns could not be easier. Travel by bus with Stagecoach and catch the Triangle, in case you hadn’t guessed it already, this route will take you through Canterbury, Herne Bay and Whitstable! Although, if you’re looking to explore them all (which is no surprise if you are) then you might need a couple of days to fit everything in.

Southeastern

With train stations located in Herne Bay, Whitstable, and Canterbury, why not get to and from your destination by train. The link between Herne Bay and Whitstable is direct and will take you just under 10 minutes. Who said you can’t go from one seaside town to another? Or, if you’re coming from further afield then the High-Speed route whisks you from London St Pancras to Canterbury in 56 minutes, and Whitstable and Herne Bay in around 1hr 20mins. Also, have you heard of their Kids for a Quid tickets? That’s right, pay just £1 each for up to four children when you travel with them Off-Peak on Southeastern services – all year round!

So, our Canterbury highlights have come to an end, but your visit is only just starting. Experience the lively city or tranquil seaside towns for yourself, whatever you decide to do, it’s in Canterbury’s Nature to make your experience one to remember.