Canterbury is a beautiful, historic city that has not one but three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Walk within its city walls and find a place rich in culture and history. Its buildings, statues and historic sites are just a few of the many reasons why it is so popular. As a tourist destination and busy working city it is lively and thriving, yet there are many quiet spots to relax in, riverside parks and wildflower fields for those oases of calm from the hustle and bustle. This juxtaposition is highlighted in a wonderful mix of old and new peppered around the city. An example of this is at Westgate Towers, England’s largest surviving medieval gateway, where you can experience fantastic views and also an escape room adventure.
Its cultural heritage and modern influences can be found in its many museums, such as the Canterbury Roman Museum with remains of a Roman courtyard house. At The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, there is a vast collection of paintings, objects and lots more. With the art gallery showcasing more modern works, the Grade II listed building itself is indicative of the architectural importance of the city.
Canterbury Cathedral, the first cathedral in England, is one of the trio of UNESCO sites to be found here. People have made their way there since the Middle Ages. From gate to vaults, it is rich with tales of pilgrimages and mysterious deaths. It is easy to see why Chaucer had such rich sources for his Canterbury Tales. You can see a statue of this literary genius in the town, along with several other famous people from past and present. Take a guided or self-tour around the city to learn more of its famous faces and many facts – sculptures and statues all within the city walls that you can still see today.
You can also take a punt to see some sights, or even go further afield by taking a bike or boat ride to discover more of this town’s natural beauty. There are plenty of guided tours, ghostly and historic, to find out more about this beautiful city and beyond.
Visit St Martin’s Church, the oldest in England, and the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey, the two other UNESCO sites not to be missed in this cultural city. Then, once you have done your sightseeing, relax in the central parks such as Westgate Gardens, where you can sit by the river with a picnic or walk into the fields along the water. For younger visitors, there is the Toddlers Cove play area, with lots of different areas to explore.
For shows and events there are a host of theatres and venues, including The Marlowe theatre, with its touring West End shows and productions, and the Gulbenkian, showcasing comedy, theatre, dance, and cinema and much more.
With many galleries, market stalls and shops around the cobbled Canterbury streets, it is easy to see why it is one of the most visited places in the county. Old and new coexist perfectly in this vibrant cathedral city. A perfect example of this is the King’s Mile area of the city.
Further afield there are lots of places for lovers of nature and wildlife, sports and activities. The Grove Ferry Picnic Site for alfresco dining and boat trips, canoe and paddleboarding, or for animal attractions visit Howletts Wild Animal Park – a conservation zoo home to nearly 400 animals.
Add to that its many festivals and a packed diary filled with events of exhibitions, theatre and live events, Canterbury has something for everyone.
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Picture credits top to bottom © See Kent Ltd © One Pound Lane Ltd © Canterbury Punts.
Its buildings, statues and historic sites are just a few of the many reasons why it is so popular. Busy with life and yet with many quiet spots to relax, such as riverside parks and wildflower fields, it is also an oasis of calm.