A charming blend of city, coast and countryside
anterbury is definitely worth a pilgrimage, whether to meet Chaucer’s colourful characters, explore fascinating history, visit the shrine of Thomas Becket, or just to eat, drink and merrily shop till you drop. Beyond the charms of the heritage city, you’ll find rugged coastline, the traditional seaside resort of Herne Bay and yet more fascinating history so come on, pilgrim, get travelling.
History and Heritage
The centre of English Christianity since 597 AD when Pope St Augustine did some serious reconverting, Canterbury is full of fascinating history. Between St Martin’s Church , St Augustine’s Abbey and the Cathedral where Thomas Becket was gruesomely murdered back in 1170, there’s plenty of past to delve into. If you want to go even further back in time then head to the Roman Museum .
Arts and Culture
With rotating exhibitions, talks and workshops, Sidney-Cooper Gallery allows you to really experience art and the Lilford Gallery showcases national and international contemporary fine art. For independent cinema and cutting-edge theatre the University of Kent’s Gulbenkian is the place to head. The New Marlowe Theatre delivers the biggest and best plays, operas, ballets, and bands whilst nurturing new talent.
Must See Attractions
Complete your own pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket and admire the Cathedral’s gothic splendour before completing the World Heritage experience with a look around St Martin's and St Augustine's Abbey. Or take in the historic sights in style with a river tour along the Stour before heading to Herne Bay for sand beaches and seaside fun.
Food and Drink
Canterbury is Kent’s culinary capital. With restaurants serving the best grub from across the globe including Morocco, Thailand, and Spain but also inspirational local produce like Whitstable oysters on offer, it’s a tasty prospect. For seasonal produce bursting with flavour visit the Goods Shed restaurant followed by the surrounding farmer’s market.
Canterbury is not your average shopping city. From the starlings chatting in the lime trees along the High Street to the maze of cobbled side streets rife with hidden gems, it’s a unique brand of retail therapy on offer. On the historic streets of King’s Mile you can find independent shops whereas Whitefriars Shopping Centre has more high street shops than you can shake a credit card at.
The golden oldies may dominate the city - Chaucer, Thomas Becket, St Augustine and Christopher Marlowe are all pretty big acts to follow - but Hollywood heartthrob Orlando Bloom proves that the city still delivers the goods.
Let Chaucer’s pilgrims take the kids back to medieval England at Canterbury Tales which is alive with the sights, sounds and smells the 14th century. Kids don’t care that Leeds Castle is the loveliest – they want to tackle the maze, watch birds of prey and let off steam in the Knights Realm playground. For a really wild show, Howletts Wild Animal Park has apes, big cats and rhinos.
Psst... Handy Hints
Save money and buy a Canterbury Attractions Passport for discounted entry to some of Canterbury's best known historical attractions.
Join a foraging tour of the Canterbury coast and learn how to cook with seaweed, and various plants.
Head to Canterbury Cathedral by 5.30pm in the week or 3pm at the weekends for the aural treat of Evensong.
Follow the irresistible smell from the City Fish Bar on St Margarets Street for the best fish and chips in town.
Port Lympne Wild Animal Park offers the ultimate safari experience.Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, Kent
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