Medieval half-timber houses beside Stour River in Canterbury Old Town

Things to do in Canterbury

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The old English charm of Canterbury is evident in every corner, from the cobblestones on its streets, to the ancient Roman city walls, and the magical centrepiece - a World Heritage Site cathedral.

Canterbury lies in the heart of Kent, between the countryside and the coast, it is the very best of what the county has to offer and no matter what time of year you visit, unmissable experiences await. It’s a 44-mile drive from our Kent Coast Holiday Park down to this historic city, well worth it for the gems within it. There are so many things to do in Canterbury: you can explore religious landmarks, browse the shops along the King’s Mile, cruise down the River Stour, or enjoy a gastronomic trip sampling delicious Kent fare. We've put together this list of the best historic sites, most beautiful gardens, and the finest eateries that the city has to offer. Browse the list now and plan well ahead so as not to waste a single minute in the medieval fairy tale that is Canterbury.

Visit the majestic Canterbury Cathedral

Visit the majestic Canterbury Cathedral

This World Heritage Site is naturally one of Canterbury’s main attractions. As old as the day is long, there has been a place of worship here for over 1500 years. For the last 850 years visitors have flocked to the famous shrine of medieval archbishop and martyr, Thomas Beckett, who was murdered by knights of King Henry II. 

When you visit Canterbury Cathedral, you will come face to face with mind boggling architecture and a storied history. Take in the tranquil ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church, marvel at the beautiful medieval stained-glass windows and stand on the exact spot where, in 1170, Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered. With all this historic significance and scenic beauty, it’s easy to see how it became one of Europe’s most important pilgrimage centres.

Explore the curiosities of Westgate Gardens

Explore the curiosities of Westgate Gardens

The beautiful Westgate Gardens is one of England’s oldest parks, and one of its most serene. The park is flanked by a river on which visitors float past on punts along with mallards and their ducklings. With flower beds full of vibrant colours, and plenty of open spaces, there is nowhere else in the city so making it perfect for a picnic.

Dotted around Westgate Gardens are beautiful curiosities – the Victorian Tower House in all its grandeur, the medieval Westgate looming nearby and the Physic Garden, filled with all types of plants and flowers that were once used in medicine. You won’t run out of things to discover at this tranquil oasis in the centre of the city.

Browse local Kent produce at The Goods Shed

This farmer’s market is unlike any other. Situated in an impressively old building, it is home to an on-site restaurant that uses locally sourced produce. Conveniently located next to Canterbury West station, the restaurant operates alongside a great produce market during the day and is lit by candlelight after the market has closed in the evening. For those who like good food and want a bit of a different experience to a standard restaurant, The Goods Shed is a must. 

For foodies and casual consumers alike, there can be no better place, especially if you are interested in where your food comes from. The market specialises in hand-reared ingredients, and you can be sure that everything is not only super fresh, but locally sourced. Here you can purchase the perfect items for an al fresco meal or even a few local specialities to take back to your caravan with you.

Learn about Canterbury’s Roman past

Learn about Canterbury’s Roman past

Canterbury, or ‘Durovernon’, as the Romans called it, is strewn with remnants of its Roman history, so it comes as no surprise that the Roman Museum is a must for anyone wanting to know about the city’s past. Built around the remains of an original Roman town house, the museum includes significant Roman finds, including a horde of silver, as well as an exquisite 2,000-year-old mosaic pavement that was discovered after the bombing of Canterbury in World War Two.

The museum teaches you about Canterbury’s Roman history with an interactive timeline that tracks the journey backwards in time from present-day Canterbury to the original Roman settlement. As you go, you'll learn how the town was built, and visit reproductions of a marketplace, and a dining room where you can handle authentic replicas of Roman items. Guided tours are available for groups but these need to be booked in advance. There are also workshops and educational programs available for the kids.

Discover breaks in Kent

Kent Coast beach

Kent Coast, Kent

4 nights from £55

Become engrossed in the Canterbury Tales

Become engrossed in the Canterbury Tales

Join this immersive experience and travel from the Tabard Inn in London to Canterbury Cathedral in the company of costumed characters who will immerse you in what is perhaps the most famous piece of literature from Medieval Britain. Chaucer’s collection of tales and his band of pilgrims will be introduced to you through a handheld audio guide as you traverse a stunning recreation of England in the Middle Ages.

The tales have something for everyone - unrequited love, attempts at cheating death, and bawdy infidelity – the drama is enough to match any modern-day soap opera. This is an essential item on your list of things to do in Canterbury. So, join the fun and you’ll find yourself just as engaged as an audience of 600 years ago.

Sample Kent hops at a local pub

The pub scene in Canterbury is vibrant and varied. There are pubs with jukeboxes and live music like The Lady Luck, or pubs where you can watch the inner workings of the brewing process like at the Foundry. But for us, the pick of the bunch has to be the Parrot.

Housed in one of Canterbury’s oldest buildings, The Parrot was built on Roman foundations in the 14th-century at around the same time that the city’s famous cathedral was being built nearby. This pub is tucked away down a picturesque, cobbled street and the ancient architecture is still on show with naked wooden beams, enormous oak floorboards and authentic open fires that provide a truly medieval backdrop to the excellent food and drink that’s served there. Indeed, it’s not just history and heritage that makes this a special spot, there’s genuinely first-class fare to savour and for ale aficionados, there are up to six real ales at the bar at any one time, including award-winning local beer from Kent brewer Shepherd Neame.

Be bowled over by the Spitfire Cricket Ground

Be bowled over by the Spitfire Cricket Ground

St Lawrence in Canterbury, or the Spitfire Ground as it’s commonly known as, is the home ground and HQ of Kent County Cricket Club. This sporting venue dates all the way back to 1847 and is famed for the lime tree on the pitch which gives the ground a unique appearance.

Kent CCC makes a big effort to make the most of their resources and fashion a fantastic day out for all the family. There are good views from all angles, and the small playing area makes for an excellent match atmosphere, particularly under floodlights at an evening T20 game. Alternately go and spend the day at a County Championship match and make the most of the drinks tent! There is no car park designated for the ground itself, but there are plenty of suitable car parks nearby.

How to get to Canterbury from us

Canterbury is around a 44-mile drive from our Kent Coast Holiday Park. As a result, it will require a little time on the road to get there, but it’s well worth the drive. Here’s how to get there:

  • Heading west out of Kent Coast, take 2 right turns to get onto Avery Way

  • Get on the M2 in Kent via the Ratcliffe Highway, A228 and A289

  • Follow the M2 to the Boughton Bypass/A2 in Boughton-under-Blean

  • Take exit 7 from the M2

  • Continue on the A2 and follow the signs into Canterbury city centre

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