With a world-famous cathedral, popular chocolate cafe and punting tours, Canterbury is the perfect destination for a UK city break! Canterbury is a cathedral city in the south east of England, with roots as a pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages. The ancient walls surrounding the city were originally built by the Romans, framing the cobbled streets and timber-framed medieval houses.
Here are a list of things to see and do in Canterbury!
Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England, forming part of the World Heritage Site. The cathedral was founded in 597, and was completely rebuilt between 1070 and 1077. Canterbury Cathedral is the Mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The cathedral welcomes nearly a million visitors a year and there’s a wide range of visitor facilities available for guests to enjoy. There’s a small fee to enter the cathedral and its grounds (adults £12.50 | Adults 65+ £11.50 | Full time students £10.50 | children (under 18) £8.50 | Family ticket (2 adults, up to 3 children) £33.00 | Family ticket (1 adult, 2 children) £23.00) and students studying at the local universities can enjoy free entry with their student ID.
You can stroll around at your own pace, or there’s a number of guided tours, mini talks and audio tours taking place around the cathedral to guide you around. At this world-famous cathedral you will see beautiful glass memorials, the chapter house, the great cloisterand chapels.
Eleto Chocolate Cafe
Eleto Chocolate Cafe is an independent coffee shop (with its sister site in Folkestone) serving up delicous food and drink throughout the day until 11pm each day – including signature hot chocolates and an extensive list of desserts and sweet treats.
The chocolate cafe is just steps away from the Cathedral gate and the High Street – so it’s a great location to sit outside and watch the world go by!
When I went with my friend Alice, I ordered the white chocolate crepe with strawberries and Alice ordered the crepe of the day, which happened to be Kinder Beuno on the day. The desserts were deliciously sickly and sweet, and very reasonably priced too!
Cafe Du Soleil
Cafe du Soleil is a wonderful little restaurant beside the river Stour, serving up a delicious range of Mediterranean dishes inspired by southern France, Italy and the Pacific rim.
The restaurant is housed in a former 18th century wool store, with exposed brick walls, tiled floors and low-lights, and a relaxing and cosy atmosphere. I wrote a full review on the delicious menu (where we ate Chicken Saltimbocca: a delicious pan fried chicken breast in parma ham with a sage, leek and tarragon cream sauce, served with a macadamia crusted parmesan risotto cake and kale, and we shared the Wood Fired Alaska for 2: a home made banana bread topped with Madagascan vanilla ice cream and meringue, served with a red fruit and wine compote).
Cafe du Soleil also has a sister restaurant called Cafe des Amis, which serves a range of Mexican dishes in a vibrant atmosphere.
Westgate Punts is an independent punting operator in Canterbury, offering relaxed chauffeured river punt trips on the Great Stour river in Canterbury.
There are three different punting routes with Westgate Punts; short trip, long trip and long city trip. The short trip takes you through Westgate Gardens to Whitehall Meadows and takes 35-40 minutes: Adults £12 – Children £6. The long trip is through Westgate Gardens then out to Hambrook Marshes and takes 50 minutes: Adults £16 – Children £7. The long city trip takes you on a 60-65 minute journey through Westgate gardens, Bingley island, down the Romon canal, past Weavers House and returning through medieval tunnels: Adults £20 – Children £8.
The punting trips are relaxing, as opposed to the Cambridge punting trips, but they’re a relaxing and peaceful way to enjoy the city.
Exploring the cobbled Roman streets
Canterbury is a lovely city to just wander around in, checking out all the independent cafes, boutique shops and the medieval-style buildings. The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge is the central museum, library and art gallery of the city of Canterbury, housed in a Grade II listed building. Another interesting historical building to see are the Canterbury Westgate Towers and City Gaol, which has partly been transformed into a bar called The Pound.
Have you been to Canterbury before? What do you enjoy doing there?