5 Things to do in Canterbury
If you've never been to Canterbury then you should put it on your list, like now. It's technically a city as it has a Cathedral but it's probably more like a town so it's really easy to see pretty much everything in a day. It also means it's got that nice friendly cute feeling that historic places tend to have, plus it's only a 50 minute train ride from London on the HS1 and only a 10 minute drive to Whitstable which is super cute. I absolutely love love love living so close to Canterbury and it's really claimed a place in my heart. It's the kind of place that suits me right down to a T, it's not too small so there's always something new to see or do, and it's not too big so hasn't got that gross traffic air you get in some places. Although traffic in Canterbury can be a total nightmare, but I think that's true of most places now. Canterbury has a nice mix of independent shops and restaurants as well as your usual chain places, so you can generally find what you're looking for when you head into town. So lets get to it, the 5 things you should probably do when in Canterbury, or not, whatever!
The most obvious one, get it out the way early on in the list! Canterbury Cathedral was a major player in medieval pilgrimages so it's got a lot of history to it. Also it's the place where Thomas Becket was murdered (more history) if you remember learning about that at school, if you ever did. It's also really beautiful and the grounds are lovely, especially in nice weather. You might also see some Kings College students (super posh) wandering around the grounds on their way to class or whatever as the school is located on the Cathedral grounds too. You do have to pay to get into the Cathedral unless you're going to a service there, but after opening hours you can still walk around the grounds. You can find more info here.
Right, so if you're interested in history and have already seen the Cathedral you might also be interested in seeing the ruined Norman Castle. It's pretty much just a shell but you can climb up a bit of one of the towers. While there you can then walk along the city walls which gives you a nice view over the Dane John Gardens and over part of the city. It's free to look around the Castle and you can find more information about it here.
Yup, not just in Oxford and Cambridge but Canterbury too. Actually you can probably go on river tours in most cities that have a river running through them! Anyway, you have a number of choices when it comes to river tours in Canterbury. You could go for the Canterbury Historic River Tours , these are the people you usually see on the high street by the Old Weavers pub trying to persuade you to hop in a boat. Alternatively there is Westgate Punts which you can find on the river by Westgate and opposite Cafe des Amis (YUM). Finally you might like to try Canterbury Punting Company which is located by Water Lane Coffee (very hipster but great coffee and cool atmosphere).
There are a lot of really pretty gardens in Canterbury. Westgate gardens are particularly lovely as you can sit beside the river surrounded by the flowers and watch people in river boats. Also slightly along from the gardens there's a great big children's play area which even has some of those outdoor exercise machines. The Dane John Gardens are also really nice, especially during the Food Festival! Greyfriars Gardens is also quite nice, but it's surrounded by houses and is mostly used as a cut through and there aren't many flowers. BUT there is a semi-secret area of the gardens which can be accessed through the Grayfriars Chapel. Alternatively you could take yourself up to the Kent University campus which has a really great view across the whole of the city.
Again, back to the history side of things! There are quite a few museums in Canterbury so you're pretty spoilt for choice. The Beaney is free and has an interesting collection plus they have touring exhibitions too which have included the Photographer of the Year and a Star Wars toys exhibition. The Roman Museum details Canterbury's Roman past, and The Canterbury Heritage Museum has an eclectic mix including displays on Rupert the Bear, and at one point they even had a display case of items to do with Orlando Bloom. Unfortunately a little while back changes were made so now the Heritage Museum has some funny opening times, so check before you go.
This was originally going to be a list of 10 things, but I've waffled on for much too long now so I think I might make a separate food, drink and shopping list which could be pretty endless! Let me know if you take a visit :)
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