Arts & Culture

10 things to do in Canterbury

Located in Kent, the county known as the ‘Garden of England’, Canterbury is a charming and picturesque historic city in England that has something to offer everyone.

Canterbury is a fantastic destination for anyone looking for a mix of history, culture, and entertainment. With its stunning landmarks, fascinating museums, and various attractions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this charming city.

From its intriguing heritage to its bounty of cultural landmarks, discover why you should visit Canterbury on your next trip to England.

Visit the Canterbury Cathedral

Considered the most important cathedral in the Anglican faith worldwide, Canterbury Cathedral is the city’s biggest draw. With the central ‘Bell Harry Tower’ dating back to 1498, and a crypt that dates back to the 11th century, it has built up a fascinating history. 

The cathedral has been the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Beckett and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The cathedral’s stunning architecture, intricate stained glass windows, and rich history make it a must-visit attraction.

Explore the Canterbury Castle ruins

Believed to be one of the oldest castle ruins in Britain, the Norman Canterbury Castle originated around 1070, when William the Conqueror established three castles in Canterbury, Rochester and Dover. Today, visitors to the ruins can climb part way up one of the towers while exploring the ancient ruins.

Immerse yourself in the Canterbury Heritage Museum

By stepping inside this 14th-century site, which lies alongside the River Stour, visitors can gain insight into the history of Canterbury through the museum’s interactive exhibits, which span a diverse range of topics from the Anglo-Saxons to the Tudors and even Rupert Bear.

Visit the Canterbury Roman Museum

The Canterbury Roman Museum is a fascinating attraction telling the story of the Roman settlement that once stood there. After the 1868 discovery of a Roman floor mosaic came the further discovery of the remains of a Roman Town House many years later.

Now, this museum aims to preserve these extraordinary finds. The museum offers a range of exhibits, such as mosaics, pottery, and artefacts from the Roman era.

Explore St Augustine’s Abbey

Dating as far back as AD 597, this World Heritage abbey was initially built as a burial site for Kent’s Anglo-Saxon kings. Having been founded by St Augustine in the late 6th century, it is said to have marked the rebirth of Christianity in southern England.

A museum containing artefacts from across the centuries tells the story of this historic site. The abbey was destroyed during the Reformation, but you can still explore the ruins and learn about its fascinating history.

Westgate Towers Museum & Viewpoint

Having been built in 1380 and as England’s largest surviving Medieval Gateway, Westgate Towers proves significant in Canterbury’s long and rich history and is considered one of the city’s notable landmarks. Standing at 18 metres, a climb to the top also rewards visitors with views across the city.

Take a stroll along the River Stour with Canterbury Punting

The River Stour runs through the heart of Canterbury and provides a beautiful backdrop for a stroll. You can walk along the riverbank and enjoy the scenery or take a boat tour to see the city from a different perspective.

Punting is prevalent in these waters, and the tours are among the most rewarding ways to explore the area. Many punting boat companies offer trips through the historic city centre.

Shop at the Whitefriars Shopping Centre

The Whitefriars Shopping Centre is Canterbury’s premier shopping destination. The centre has a range of shops, including high-street brands, independent retailers, cafes, and restaurants. Ideal spot for a family break during or after a long day exploring!

Beaney House of Art and Knowledge

Located within a Grade II listed building, Beaney House of Art and Knowledge is a must-see site when you visit Canterbury, encompassing an art gallery, library, museum and visitors’ centre.

The Explorer and Collectors gallery brings together artefacts from across the globe, collected by great explorers. At the same time, the People and Places exhibition focuses on artworks of notable people and places around Canterbury.

Catch a show at the Marlowe Theatre

The Marlowe Theatre is a modern venue that hosts a range of performances, including plays, musicals, and comedy shows. The theatre has a packed schedule throughout the year, so there’s always something on.

Now that you know what to do in Canterbury, why not add other exciting destinations to your journey in Kent? Beautiful countryside, quaint villages, and other historic towns surround Canterbury.

We offer an incredible Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral & Dover day tour from London, making your trip to England even more memorable.