15 Best Things To Do In Canterbury, England

best things to do in canterbury uk

If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of a fast-paced life, Canterbury is a good destination to get some much-needed peace. Everyone needs a break at some point. Each of the activities here can be undertaken at your own pace. Known as the nerve center of the Church of England, Canterbury’s age is one the city conspicuously displays. It’s seen in its centuries-old architecture, buildings that have withstood the vagaries of time to remain standing to date, eager to narrate tales of the past. If you love history, then you’ll adore Canterbury. Planning to visit. Read this article to learn about the best things to do in Canterbury, the UK.

1. Witness a towering medieval city gate at Westgate Towers Museum & Viewpoint

Westgate, Canterbury
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user DeFacto used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The last surviving of the seven Medieval gates in Canterbury is Westgate Towers, built to defend the city from foreign invasion and later used as a jail when the war was over. Now, this 60-ft (18-m) imposing gatehouse operates as part of a museum, well-protected because of its historical significance. Made of Kentish ragstone, Westgate Towers allows you to appreciate Medieval architecture in its fine glory, complete with a draw bridge, battlements, and gun loops. Discover more features and stories when you visit.

Westgate Towers Museum & Viewpoint

Address: 1 Pound Ln, Canterbury CT1 2BZ, United Kingdom

Opening hours: 11am - 4pm (daily)

2. Ride a boat at the riverside Greyfriars Gardens

Canterbury - Greyfriars Chapel
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pam Fray used under CC BY-SA 2.0

A boat ride may be what you need after a long, stressful week. At Greyfriars Gardens, a riverside park on Stour Street, you can either take a tour to get that dreamy boat ride or treat yourself to a nice walk in its peaceful, delightful setting. It has benches where you can lounge and read a book. And boy, your classic novel does come off vividly romantic in this lovely garden, where a river cuts through the grassy land and an old chapel sits somewhere above the waters. A quick stroll in the serenely beautiful Greyfriars will already relax your nerves.

Greyfriars Gardens

Address: 72 Stour St, Canterbury CT1 2NQ, United Kingdom

3. Enjoy a family day out at Toddler's Cove Playground

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Toddler’s Cove Playground is a great family destination in Canterbury. You’ll find play equipment ergonomically designed for kids and outdoor exercise installations for adults. Bikes, swings, slides, climbs, and even zip lines are constructed with optimum safety for the youngsters. Even babies can safely crawl and frolic under the sun at Toddler’s, which features large grassy areas, mostly flat. Meanwhile, you get to stretch, flex and bend muscles using the park’s outdoor gym facility. What a lovely family day out you’ll have at Toddler’s Cove Playground.

Toddler's Cove Playground

Address: Whitehall Rd, Canterbury CT2 8BQ, United Kingdom

Opening hours: 12am - 12pm (daily)

4. Grab your favorite chips at the family-run Poppies Restaurant

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Every town has its favorite fish-and-chips restaurant that people go to for comfort food. In Canterbury, Poppies Restaurant on St. Peter’s street is easily a local favorite for takeaways. Drop by to have your quick fix for that tasty burger and fries craving you’ve been having all week. If value for money is a priority in selecting meals or snacks, then you better check out Poppies Restaurant’s menu.

Poppies Restaurant

Address: 52 St Peter’s St, Canterbury CT1 2BE, United Kingdom

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 6:30pm; Sun: 10am - 5pm

5. Admire the imposing presence of the first church of England, Canterbury Cathedral

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<i>Canterbury Cathedral: south side</i>. State 2.</div>
Source: Photo by user Wenceslaus Hollar used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The Canterbury Cathedral is a really historic structure, going back as long as 6th century AD. Beautiful stained glass windows add to the artistic appeal of the architecture.

Canterbury Cathedral

Address: 11 The Precincts, Canterbury CT1 2EH, England

Website: Canterbury Cathedral

6. Walk by the riverside at Westgate Gardens

Canterbury Westgate - 1
Source: Photo by user Necrothesp used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Capture the mesmerizing beauty of flower beds and well-maintained plants and trees at Westgate Gardens. Visitors have always enjoyed taking a lovely walk here. It serves as a very good spot not just to capture photos but also to have a relaxing picnic.

Westgate Gardens

Address: Westgate Grove, Canterbury CT1 2BQ, England

Website: Westgate Gardens

7. Feed and watch animals at the Wingham Wildlife Park

Agapornis roseicollis -Wingham Wildlife Park-8
Source: Photo by user Keven Law used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Hundreds of animals are waiting to be observed at the Wingham Wildlife Park. There are indoor and outdoor play areas as well that are open year round. However, one of the restaurants on site may be shut during the winter. You can indulge in a variety of activities here including feeding some of the animals. All animals are well cared for and the park as a whole is very neatly organized.

Wingham Wildlife Park

Address: Rusham Road, Wingham, Canterbury CT3 1JL, England

Website: Wingham Wildlife Park

8. Take a stroll through the vast expanses of the Howletts Wild Animal Park

Loxodonta africana group in Howletts Wild Animal Park (edited)
Source: Photo by user CT Cooper used under CC BY 3.0

Howletts Wild Animal Park is another treat for wildlife lovers. The park is very spacious and they have good facilities for those who have special needs.

Howletts Wild Animal Park

Address: Bekesbourne Road | Bekesbourne, Canterbury CT4 5EL, England

Website: Howletts Wild Animal Park

9. Relax while you watch memorable shows at The Marlowe Theatre

Marlowe Theatre Canterbury
Source: Photo by user Adam Bishop used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Marlowe Theatre is one where you won’t have any reason to complain about the leg room. It has very comfortable seats and good views of the stage to ensure that you have an excellent experience of enjoying the show. Before booking tickets, do check out the reviews of the particular show that you are planning to attend.

The Marlowe Theatre

Address: The Friars, Canterbury CT1 2AS, England

Website: The Marlowe Theatre

10. Exercise your grey cells at The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

Beaney House of Art and Knowledge 2015
Source: Photo by user Geni used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge is the perfect place for inquisitive and curious minds. Whether it is an art gallery of exhibits, a library of well-maintained books, or even a café to have a cup of coffee, this place has it all. You can be sure to discover mind-boggling treasures of information and heritage upon visiting this place.

The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

Address: 18 High Street, Canterbury CT1 2RA, England

Website: The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

11. Discover ancient ruins at St. Augustine's Abbey

Augustine Abbey
Source: Photo by user Willhsmit used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

St. Augustine’s Abbey is one of the most peaceful places in Canterbury. The ruins illustrate the long history of the heritage of England. Don’t forget to make use of the audio guide, which will help you in your exploration. It may not be a particularly good choice for kids or those with limited mobility, because some areas are not flat enough for using a pram or wheelchair.

St. Augustine's Abbey

Address: St. Augustines Abbey Longport

Website: St. Augustine’s Abbey

12. Relive Roman history at the Canterbury Roman Museum

Roman Museum 001
Source: Photo by user Storye book used under CC BY 3.0

Canterbury Roman Museum was the result of certain accidental discoveries of artifacts that occurred in recent history. At this place, you will discover glimpses of life in Britain under Roman rule. There is even a marketplace here for buying souvenirs. Be it kids or seniors, there is plenty to do and learn here.

Canterbury Roman Museum

Address: 11A Butchery Lane, Canterbury CT1 2JR, England

Website: Canterbury Roman Museum

13. Discover how pilgrims stayed at the Eastbridge Hospital

Canterbury - Eastbridge Hospital of Saint Thomas the Martyr von 1176
Source: Photo by user ABrocke used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Don’t take the name Eastbridge Hospital too seriously. The word hospital here stands for hospitality. It is a place where pilgrims used to stay overnight. There is a small entry fee. The staff here are very well-informed and will be glad to show you around.

Eastbridge Hospital

Address: 25 High Street, Canterbury CT1 2AZ, England

Website: Eastbridge Hospital

14. Discover freemasonry at The Kent Museum of Freemasonry

Kent Museum of Freemasonry Entrance
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pre36sunbeam used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you ever wanted to find out about freemasonry, The Kent Museum of Freemasonry is the place to be. Here you will come across extremely welcoming staff who will educate you about the history of freemasonry. You can tour the museum at your own pace. On top of that, entry is free! It is located just a 5-minute walk from the cathedral. There is also a shop from where you can buy masonic merchandise.

The Kent Museum of Freemasonry

Address: St. Peter’s Place, Canterbury CT1 2DA, England

Website: The Kent Museum of Freemasonry

15. Get a glimpse of the old city at Canterbury Norman Castle

Canterbury 20-2-07 068
Source: Photo by user Neddyseagoon used under CC BY 2.5

The walls and masonry of the Canterbury Norman Castle have been recently crumbling, so don’t be surprised if the attraction is closed for visiting as it can be dangerous. The ruins do offer some idea about how the castle must have looked during its glory days. Parking is available nearby and you can get a good view from the parking area too.

Canterbury Norman Castle

Address: Castle Street, Canterbury CT1 2PR, England

Explore the best that Kent has to offer in Canterbury!

With its deep historical background, there are plenty of churches and museums to see in Canterbury. You can even go on a boat ride through the river if you like. Kids will find the gardens here to be a perfect place to expel some energy. Take all the time you need to explore this city at your own pace!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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