Things to do in Canterbury

About Canterbury

Visitors should not miss the awe-inspiring Canterbury Cathedral, the historic St. Martin's Church, the captivating Canterbury Tales, and the ancient Canterbury Castle. Each landmark offers a unique glimpse into the rich tapestry of Canterbury's heritage.
Canterbury offers family fun at The Canterbury Tales attraction, adventure at Howletts Wild Animal Park, and interactive learning at the Canterbury Roman Museum—each providing an engaging experience for children.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy punting on the River Stour, exploring the Blean Woods Nature Reserve, and relaxing in Westgate Gardens, each offering a scenic experience amidst nature's beauty.
For indoor adventures, the Canterbury Heritage Museum, the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, and the Marlowe Theatre are exceptional choices for cultural and historical discovery.
Canterbury's best tours include the self-guided audio tour at Canterbury Cathedral, The Canterbury Tales tour, and the historical exploration of Canterbury Castle, among others.
The Canterbury Roman Museum, The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, and the Canterbury Heritage Museum are among the city's revered cultural institutions.
On rainy days, visitors can opt for the Canterbury Cathedral audio tour, the immersive experience at The Canterbury Tales, and the educational journey through the Canterbury Roman Museum.
Short but enriching tours include the historical highlights tour of the Canterbury Cathedral, the Ghost Tour, and the Canterbury City Walls walk.

Best Things to Do In Canterbury

Discover Canterbury's captivating heritage and picturesque charm with our curated selection of attractions.

Canterbury: The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

What is it?
An inspirational arts and knowledge hub with a museum, art gallery, and library.
Why you should go?
Located in the heart of the city, The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge is a fusion of cultural treasures and learning experiences. This beautifully restored building offers an array of exhibitions ranging from historical collections to contemporary art. Its vibrant educational programs, interactive activities, and cozy reading spaces make it a perfect attraction for any visitor interested in the arts, history, and literature, providing an insightful peek into Canterbury's diverse cultural fabric.

Canterbury: Blean Woods National Nature Reserve

What is it?
A sprawling ancient woodland reserve, home to an abundance of wildlife.
Why you should go?
For nature enthusiasts, Blean Woods National Nature Reserve represents an enchanting escape into the great outdoors. One of the most significant areas for conservation in the UK, these woods boast well-marked trails for tranquil walks or bird-watching escapades. The sounds of the forest and the rustic charm make it an ideal couple’s retreat or a calming family hike. This natural sanctuary showcases the verdant side of things to do in Canterbury, offering a breath of fresh air from the historical city centre.

Canterbury: Fordwich Town

What is it?
The smallest town in Britain, rich in history with a charming riverside setting.
Why you should go?
Fordwich may be minute in size, but it's an unmissable spot for anyone seeking tranquillity and a taste of rural England. A short journey from Canterbury, Fordwich lures visitors with its quaint streets, historic Town Hall, and idyllic views over the River Stour. The town offers a peaceful respite from the usual Canterbury excursions, perfect for a quiet afternoon of exploration and reflection on the simpler pleasures of life.

Canterbury: The King’s Mile

What is it?
A distinctive shopping district with independent shops, boutiques, and eateries.
Why you should go?
The King's Mile is where history meets the boutique charm, offering a unique shopping experience with a lineup of independent shops. From artisanal crafts and designer fashion to gourmet food and vintage collectibles, it's the heartbeat of Canterbury's retail diversity. Roaming these historic lanes allows shoppers to find one-of-a-kind items while supporting local businesses. It stands out as a ‘must-stroll’ area among things to do in Canterbury for those who cherish individuality and creativity.

Canterbury: Chilham Village

What is it?
A quintessential English village square, surrounded by timber-framed houses and a historic castle.
Why you should go?
Step back in time with a jaunt to Chilham Village, a picturesque spot that boasts a charmingly preserved medieval square. Often used as a filming location for its unspoiled historical backdrop, Chilham offers a cinematic stroll around its fairytale-like castle and through its lanes lined with age-old dwellings. Visitors here can absorb the architectural beauty and history while enjoying the ambient village life, making it a storybook addition to the best things to see in Canterbury.

Canterbury: Westgate Towers

What is it?
England's largest surviving medieval gateway and a former city prison.
Why you should go?
Standing sentinel at the entrance to the city, Westgate Towers is not just an iconic landmark but a gateway to the past. Ascend to the battlements, and you're rewarded with panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside. Inside, you can explore the museum that delves into the tower's history as a defensive stronghold and its time as a prison. The experience is a mix of education, sightseeing, and stepping back in time, making it a must-visit attraction in Canterbury.

Canterbury: Dane John Gardens

What is it?
A historic and beautifully maintained public park within the city walls.
Why you should go?
Escape the bustle of city life in the tranquil Dane John Gardens. Stroll along tree-lined pathways, admire the well-kept flower beds, and climb the mound for spectacular views of the city. The gardens also feature a bandstand that hosts concerts during summer months, a children's play area, and a variety of sculptures. Whether for a peaceful walk or a family outing, Dane John Gardens provides a perfect respite.

Canterbury: The Goods Shed

What is it?
A vibrant farmers market and food hall located in a restored Victorian railway goods shed.
Why you should go?
Foodies will delight in The Goods Shed, where local produce, artisanal crafts, and gourmet treats converge under one roof. This daily market is the perfect spot to sample Kent's rich bounty—from fresh fruits and vegetables to handmade cheeses and charcuterie. After exploring the stalls, stop at the onsite restaurant to enjoy a meal made with ingredients sourced straight from the market. It's a delicious foray into Canterbury's local flavor.

Canterbury: Franciscan Gardens

What is it?
Quiet, picturesque gardens on the site of a former Franciscan friary dating back to the 13th century.
Why you should go?
For a peaceful retreat, the Franciscan Gardens are a hidden gem within Canterbury. Reflective of the city's monastic heritage, these gardens offer a serene environment perfect for quiet contemplation or a romantic walk. The ancient ruins amidst contemporary landscaping tell a story of historical significance while providing an idyllic urban sanctuary.

Canterbury: Conquest House

What is it?
A historic medieval house reputed to be the meeting place for knights before the murder of Thomas Becket.
Why you should go?
History enthusiasts and mystery lovers will be drawn to Conquest House, known as the scene of conspiracy against Archbishop Thomas Becket. The house boasts a fascinating façade and interiors that transport visitors into the narrative of one of Canterbury's most famous tales. It stands today as a venue for art and cultural events, linking its rich history with contemporary creativity.

TOP-5 tours in Canterbury for first time visitors

  • Uncover the spiritual allure of Canterbury Cathedral, where tales of medieval intrigue and architectural splendor come alive in your personal audio guide.
  • Amble through the historic streets with the Canterbury Heritage Tour, enriching your visit with stories of the city's past resonating through your headphones.
  • Embark on The Canterbury Tales tour, where Chaucer's stories unfold through dramatic audio reenactments, transporting you to the pilgrimage of yore.
  • Delve into the city's Roman roots with the Canterbury Roman Museum tour, discovering ancient artefacts and ruins with engaging narrative accompaniment.
  • Experience the serenity and beauty of the St. Augustine's Abbey audio tour, guiding you through ruins and gardens with layered histories.

Fun things to do in Canterbury with kids

Embarking on a family adventure in Canterbury is a delightful experience, offering an array of fun-filled attractions that are perfect for children. The Canterbury Tales attraction brings literature to life, where kids can engage in the interactive experience of pilgrims recounting riveting stories on their journey to Canterbury. Imaginations soar as medieval characters and scenes offer an entertaining history lesson. The Howletts Wild Animal Park, a short drive from the city center, promises an exciting day out, with the chance to witness exotic animals in expansive habitats, fostering a love for wildlife and conservation. For playful exploration, the Westgate Gardens provides not only a scenic escape but also a playground where little ones can frolic amid the beauty of one of Canterbury's historical landmarks. With so many things to do, Canterbury is a treasure trove of cultural and historical exploration that caters to the curiosity and energy of every child.

Things to do in Canterbury with family

Canterbury welcomes families with a rich tapestry of historical and educational attractions suitable for all ages. Heading the list is the iconic Canterbury Cathedral, an impressive site of pilgrimage and worship. An audio tour here captivates with tales of its ancient roots and gothic architecture, making it a cornerstone among historical Canterbury tours. Venturing through the cobblestone streets to the Canterbury Roman Museum offers a fascinating underground expedition into Roman occupation, showcasing mosaics, tools, and ancient relics that animate the past for curious minds. To blend relaxation with discovery, the Dane John Gardens provides a lush, green haven within the city walls. Offering scenic walks, picnic spots, and a children’s play area, it's a tranquil retreat after a day of exploration. Each location enriches the Canterbury experience, ensuring memorable family outings among cultural landmarks and natural beauty.

Free things to do in Canterbury

Canterbury's charm isn't just in its rich history, but also in the abundance of free activities available to all visitors. Begin with a stroll along the city's medieval walls, providing panoramic views and a tangible link to Canterbury's past. These ancient fortifications circle the old city, making for a captivating and scenic walk. Next, step into the Canterbury Heritage Museum, where seasonal free admission days allow access to exhibits showcasing local history from the Roman era through to modern times. It's a treasure trove for history buffs and casual visitors alike. Lastly, do not miss the opportunity to wander through the Westgate Gardens. These beautifully manicured gardens stretch along the River Stour and are a perfect setting for picnics, leisurely walks, and simply soaking up Canterbury’s serene environment. Each location is a key part of the fabric that makes Canterbury a delightful destination, proving that the best things in life—and travel—can indeed be free.

Cheap things to do in Canterbury

Touring Canterbury on a budget is effortlessly enjoyable with a wealth of low-cost attractions. First on the list for an affordable foray into history is the Canterbury Castle. With minimal entrance fees, visitors can explore the stone remains of this Norman fortress and let their imaginations run wild amidst its ancient walls. For nature enthusiasts, the Blean Woods Nature Reserve is a must-visit. This expansive woodland offers free access to miles of trails, perfect for hikers, birdwatchers, and those simply seeking tranquillity. Lastly, actors and artists of all kinds take center stage at the Marlowe Theatre's community showcases, which often feature affordable ticket options. This local venue provides a platform for Canterbury's burgeoning arts scene, ensuring cultural engagements are accessible to everyone. Each of these experiences underscores that enjoying the essence of Canterbury doesn't have to come with a high price tag.

Things to do in Canterbury for couples

Romance is always just around the corner in Canterbury, with its historic ambiance setting the perfect scene for couples. Meander down to the serene River Stour for a punt or rowing trip, an idyllic activity offering calm waters and picturesque views of flora and the city's medieval architecture—a quintessential Canterbury excursion for two. For an enchanting dose of history, couples can explore the St. Augustine's Abbey ruins. The serene atmosphere lends itself to contemplative walks and quiet conversation amid storied rubble and age-old archways. As evening falls, wrap up your day with a visit to The Goods Shed, Canterbury’s daily farmers market that transforms into a cozy dining spot. Couples can indulge in locally sourced food and wine, relishing the ambient lighting and rustic charm. These attractions are guaranteed to create memorable moments and offer intimate experiences for those traversing the cobbled streets of this ancient city together.

Things to do in Canterbury at night

As dusk descends on Canterbury, the city unfurls a nocturnal tapestry rich with history and entertainment. History buffs can immerse themselves in the city's darker side on a Ghost Tour, wandering ancient streets and hearing tales of bygone residents whose spirits are rumored to linger. For those with a taste for drama and spectacle, the Marlowe Theatre offers an evening of cultural immersion, showcasing everything from Shakespearean plays to modern musicals. Equally engaging are the cozy pubs and bistros lining the King’s Mile, where couples and friends gather to sample local ales and cuisine. Each venue plays its part in Canterbury’s nightlife, proving that this historic city does not simply rest after sundown—it transforms, providing an array of experiences for night owls and culture seekers alike.