Thinking about day tripping to Canterbury? Wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle to the heart of the Garden of England? At just around an hour and 40 minutes drive from Central London, where better to head than this charming, quaint South Kent town!
We’ve got some great ideas for what to get up to, when you get there - whether you’re a fan of castles, crêpes or cathedrals! So get that Hiyacar booked and let’s go…
At the beginning of the high street is this stunning French-inspired cafe, with a garden at the back, beautiful Parisian-inspired decor and croque monsieurs to die for! Head to this charming cafe for well-priced, tasty baguettes and croissants galore. This cafe has been a staple of the Canterbury high street for the last 25 years!
This almost 1000 year old Gothic style cathedral is a work of art, the very heart of Canterbury, and definitely worth a visit. The immense stained-glass windows and grand vaulted ceilings are a marvel. Take a walk around the grounds and see its spires from the outside and take a look inside to take in the majesty of a building whose history is central to the city and to England itself.
Have a wander around the Westgate Gardens. Come rain or shine, these beautifully manicured riverside gardens are a beloved part of the city. In the summer you’ll find local students and tourists picnicking by the river, enjoying the views of the city’s recognisable Westgate Towers. In the winter you’ll see the snow-topped Tower House and the stone arches by the Great Stour.
Walk the Roman Walls
For fantastic views of the streets of Canterbury, head up and around the Roman-built city walls. Parts of the walls were built and rebuilt at different historical periods, so walking around the city and seeing the work of different eras; that of the Romans, to medieval builders to contemporary parts, is fascinating. One of the best sections of the walls is towards the south of the city, near the Dane John Gardens.
As mentioned above, this gorgeous park in the south of the city is bordered on one side by the Roman Walls and was formerly a Roman burial ground. The ‘Dane John Mound’ -a formerly Norman Castle mound stands at the edge of the park and offers fantastic city views. This park is a hive of activity in the summertime, and with a café selling hot drinks in the winter, it’s a great place to get out of the busy shopping streets!
Selling antiquarian and contemporary books, this stunning bookshop established in 1956, but housed in a gorgeous 18th century building towards the south-west of the city, is a great place for book lovers. Veer off the high street for a short walk to this stunning building housing literary treasures.
Stroll down Palace Street & Sun Street
Arguably the two most popular streets in Canterbury with locals and tourists alike, find a veritable feast of places to eat, drink and shop on Palace Street and Sun Street. Right next to Canterbury’s centrepoint, the Cathedral, these streets look like something out of a fairytale, with the Sun Hotel, built in 1480 a popular photo op in the city. Palace Street ends its row of shops and eateries with the fabulous Crooked House. Read on for more about this historic building.
Visit the Crooked House
This aptly named house, also known as the ‘Sir John Boys House,’ was constructed in the 17th century and is a well-known Canterbury landmark. Found at the end of Palace Street, there’s great views of the cathedral’s spires from here. This building and its fabulously skewed front door makes for a sight to behold (and to share on social media!) A charity bookshop, this structure rivals that of the Chaucer Bookshop, but each is worth visiting!
After walking the city walls, why not stop by the quaint Moat Tea Rooms, housed in a 16th century building just next to the walls on the east side of the city, this tea room is renowned for its ample afternoon teas… not to mention, the cakes in the window are mouthwatering, who can walk past and not be enticed in?! With a courtyard ‘secret garden’ at the back, it’s the cherry on the cake of Canterbury’s café scene.
Punting on the Stour
Last, but not least, take a punt ride down the river Stour, flowing through the city, for a relaxing look at what the city has to offer, from the water. Punting is an age-old English tradition, slowly meandering down a river on a wooden boat, quite like a gondola. A great way to see the sights and try a new activity!
After more day trip ideas? How about a trip to the Cotswolds!
Peaked your interest in a day trip out of London - book your perfect Hiyacar now.