Canterbury is one of England’s most famous cities, and rightly so. It’s full of historical charm, and has some great old pubs, shops and restaurants. It’s a special place for me, as it’s where I was born and lots of my family live in and around the city.
How To Get There
From London, it’s only an hour on the fast train from St Pancras, or you can take slower trains from Victoria or Charing Cross. There are two stations into Canterbury; Canterbury East and Canterbury West, although they aren’t very far apart, so it really doesn’t matter which one you come into. If you arrive at Canterbury West, make sure you stop at The Goods Shed, next to the station. This old barn has been transformed into a farmers market, and has some great local produce as well as a few restaurants inside, including one of my favourites – The Wild Goose.
What To Do
I love wandering around the old streets in the city centre, stopping for a drink or two in an old pub (of which there are many). There are some great shops too, including quite a few independent stores.
Canterbury’s most famous icon is the Cathedral and it’s really worth visiting. Inside, you can easily spend an hour or more wandering through the nave and down into the crypt. On the other side of the Cathedral is the Kings School – the oldest extant School in the UK. Although you can’t enter it, it’s nice to have a nose at the grounds and buildings.
After the Cathedral, take a punt down the River Stour, passing The Old Weavers House, The Kings Mill, and the Dominican Priories. This is especially nice on a sunny afternoon.
Where To Stay
Canterbury doesn’t have many big hotels, but quite a few smaller family run places – particular in the centre. I like The House Of Agnes, a B&B just outside the city walls. The rooms are named and themed after a different country and there is a huge garden out the back. They also have an honesty bar with a huge chess board and loads of board games to finish off the night.
There are great bars and restaurants throughout the city, like The Pound Bar and Kitchen, which is set within the former city gaol, and has views out over the river.
If you have time, there are lots of lovely villages and seaside towns within 30 minutes of Canterbury, including Broadstairs, Whitstable, Sandwich, Herne Bay and Margate. All accessible by train. And if you like walking, you are moments from the beautiful Kentish countryside with lots of tracks and bridal paths to explore. Or you can just spend the afternoon with a glass of local ale from the Shepheards Neame brewery in one the cities ancient pubs!