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Weekend in Canterbury: 10 Great Things to See and Do

Spend a weekend in Canterbury on a trip to the UK. Discover things to do in Canterbury England on a weekend city break.
From afar, I imagine that Canterbury in Kent, England looks much as it did one thousand years ago with life revolving around the Canterbury Cathedral. 

Canterbury itself is a World Heritage Site and the Cathedral is home to the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the church of England. 

Just under 2 hours from London by train, Canterbury is an ideal weekend break. You can also count Canterbury among the more ambitious days trips from London

Here are ten reasons to visit this most historic of towns.

Things to do in Canterbury: Go Punting

1. Admire the Cathedral from Afar

No matter where you are in town, Canterbury Cathedral rises above it all. Imagine medieval life carrying on in its shadow.
A Weekend in Canterbury England - The Canterbury Cathedral from afar

2. The Cathedral Exterior

Drawing up closer, admire the exterior of the cathedral which is particularly impressive during the Golden Hour. The sharp towers look like they were thrust up out of the earth by supernatural forces.
A Weekend in Canterbury England - The Canterbury Cathedral exterior

3. The Cathedral Interior and Astounding Stained Glass

The interior of the cathedral is equally impressive with columns and arches that seem to go on forever. The interior is decidedly Gothic after the cathedral was rebuilt in 1174. 

I was particularly impressed by the vivid stained glass that adds a pop of color to an otherwise gray space.
A Weekend in Canterbury England - The Canterbury Cathedral interior
A Weekend in Canterbury England - The Canterbury Cathedral stained glass

4. Be a Tree Hugger in Westgate Gardens

From Westgate Gardens you can simultaneously see the imposing gates to the city and punters having a lark on the river. The gardens also features an impressively large Oriental Plane tree imported during Victorian times and purported to be over 200 years old. 

I couldn't help myself and walked up attempting to wrap my arms around its substantial girth.
A Weekend in Canterbury England - Westgate Gardens

5. Solly's Orchard and Mill Park

Solly's Orchard and Mill Park is another green space worth exploring. Converted from an old mill, the park still retains vestiges of its past life. Apple trees dot the landscape in the shadow of the Cathedral.
A Weekend in Canterbury England - Solly's Orchard and Mill Park

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other historic places to visit in England? I recommend:

6. Medieval Canterbury Flair

Canterbury has considerable medieval flare. From imposing gray stone facades to severely tilting merchant shops to historic pubs: just walking along the streets will take you back in time.
A Weekend in Canterbury England - Medieval Architecture

7. Half Timbered Facades

Canterbury also features its share of medieval half timbered facades; many sagging but still functional hundreds of years later.
A Weekend in Canterbury England - half-timbred architecture

8. Eat Imaginative Cuisine

Canterbury is a medieval town but the cuisine is now decidedly modern. CafĂ© des Amis has a French name but features gourmet Mexican cuisine just outside the town gate near Westgate Gardens. It was an ideal spot to stop and refuel for lunch after a morning of exploration. 
A Weekend in Canterbury England - Cafe des Amis Mexican Food

9. Drink Craft Beer and Eat Pub Grub at The Foundry

Another decidedly modern aspect of Canterbury life is the craft brew scene. After dark, we descended on The Foundry for fish and chips washed down with craft beer and local cider. This place is a real gem.
A Weekend in Canterbury England - Craft Beer at the Foundry

10. Walk the Walls

While this tour of Canterbury started at the center at the iconic cathedral it ends on the outskirts. A good section of the town wall is still intact and makes for a lovely walk on a sunny day to work off all the beer and local cuisine. 
A Weekend in Canterbury England - walking the town walls
Canterbury is an ideal weekend break from London for a trip back in time.

Where to Stay in Canterbury

We stayed at the Premier Inn Canterbury City Centre Hotel on New Dover Road. Expect to pay between 80 - 100 GBP per night. We like Premier Inns because they are clean and easy to navigate. 

Don't expect a lot of luxury, but you'll get a comfortable stay with no fuss. There are plenty of boutique hotels in Canterbury if you prefer a more unique stay rather than something practical but "cookie-cutter".

Getting to Canterbury

Head to Victoria Station in London to catch the Southeastern Railway line to Canterbury. We paid 59 GBP per person for round trip off-peak tickets (the Weekender Return fare). 

While you're in Kent, why not also take a day trip from Canterbury to Dover or explore towns along the train line like Faversham and Rochester.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for more ideas for a day out around London? why not:

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A Weekend in Canterbury EnglandWhy Visit Canterbury England

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Weekend in Canterbury: 10 Great Things to See and Do
Weekend in Canterbury: 10 Great Things to See and Do
Spend a weekend in Canterbury on a trip to the UK. Discover things to do in Canterbury England on a weekend city break.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog