A charming blend of city, coast and countryside
anterbury is definitely worth a pilgrimage, whether to meet Chaucer’s colourful characters, explore fascinating history, visit the shrine of Thomas Becket, or just to eat, drink and merrily shop till you drop. Beyond the charms of the heritage city, you’ll find rugged coastline, the traditional seaside resort of Herne Bay and yet more fascinating history so come on, pilgrim, get travelling.
History and Heritage
The centre of English Christianity since 597 AD when Pope St Augustine did some serious reconverting, Canterbury is full of fascinating history. Between St Martin’s Church , St Augustine’s Abbey and the Cathedral where Thomas Becket was gruesomely murdered back in 1170, there’s plenty of past to delve into. If you want to go even further back in time then head to the Roman Museum .
Arts and Culture
With rotating exhibitions, talks and workshops, Sidney-Cooper Gallery allows you to really experience art and the Lilford Gallery showcases national and international contemporary fine art. For independent cinema and cutting-edge theatre the University of Kent’s Gulbenkian is the place to head. The Marlowe Theatre delivers the biggest and best plays, operas, ballets and bands, whilst nurturing new talent .
Must See Attractions
Complete your own pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket and admire the Cathedral’s gothic splendour before completing the World Heritage experience with a look around St Martin's and St Augustine's Abbey. Or take in the historic sites in style with a river tour along the Stour before heading to Herne Bay for sand beaches and seaside fun.
Food and Drink
Canterbury is Kent’s culinary capital. With restaurants serving the best grub from across the globe including Morocco, Thailand, and Spain but also inspirational local produce like Whitstable oysters on offer, it’s a tasty prospect. For seasonal produce bursting with flavour visit the Goods Shed restaurant followed by the surrounding farmer’s market.
Canterbury is not your average shopping city. From the starlings chatting in the lime trees along the High Street to the maze of cobbled side streets rife with hidden gems, it’s a unique brand of retail therapy on offer. On the historic streets of King’s Mile you can find independent shops whereas Whitefriars Shopping Centre has more high street shops than you can shake a credit card at.
The golden oldies may dominate the city - Chaucer, Thomas Becket, St Augustine and Christopher Marlowe are all pretty big acts to follow - but Hollywood heartthrob Orlando Bloom proves that the city still delivers the goods. For a dose of childhood nostalgia meet the Clangers and Bagpuss at Canterbury Heritage Museum before reacquainting yourself with Rupert Bear, whose creator Mary Tourtel was born in the city in 1874.
Let Chaucer’s pilgrims take the kids back to medieval England at Canterbury Tales which is alive with the sights, sounds and smells the C14. Kids don’t care that Leeds Castle is the loveliest – they want to tackle the maze, watch birds of prey and let off steam in the Knights Realm playground. For a really wild show, Howletts Wild Animal Park has apes, big cats and rhinos.
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More about... Canterbury
Visit Canterbury - The official tourism website for Canterbury.
Things to do
From events and attractions to fine dining and nights out; discover things to do in Canterbury.