A Canterbury Weekend Escape
Step back in time and discover a city that’s steeped in history
Canterbury is one of the UK’s most beautiful historic cities. With its wealth of attractions, picturesque medieval centre and award-winning restaurant scene, it’s easy to see why visitors flock from far and wide to explore this Kentish gem.
Take a look at our rated recommendations for the best things to do and places to eat and stay to help inspire your next trip.
Things to do in Canterbury
Perhaps the most effective way of getting a sense of the thousands of years of history that Canterbury has borne witness to is stroll around the remains of the city walls. The city is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Church of St Martin, Canterbury Cathedral, and the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey. The latter lies just outside of the city wall and exudes a tranquillity that makes it a perfect place to spend a peaceful afternoon.
Back in the centre, Canterbury’s magnificent cathedral has stood watch over the city for centuries and, to this day, is very much a working church. This awe-inspiring space with enormous stone pillars and impressive vaulted ceilings has long been a place of pilgrimage – it was these pilgrimages that inspired Geoffrey Chaucer’s epic poem, The Canterbury Tales.
A city with a past as rich as Canterbury’s is of course home to several fantastic museums, several of which are situated in the heart of the historic city centre. Experience England’s largest surviving medieval gateway at the Westgate Towers Museum, where climbing the spiral staircase to reach the battlements will be rewarded with the best views over the city.
Travel even further back in time with a visit to Kent’s only Roman Museum, where you’ll find what is believed to be one of the UK’s only remaining in situ Roman pavement mosaics. Just a short walk along the High Street from here is The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge. This distinctive Grade II listed building is Canterbury’s central museum, library and art gallery and is home to state-of-the-art exhibition galleries, as well as the original, much-loved Bagpuss.
For a further dose of family-friendly fun, visit Howletts Wild Animal Park. Home to the largest herd of African elephants in Europe, the park allows visitors to witness conservation in action – there are lots of fact-filled talks to book on to throughout the day too.