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To know nothing about Canterbury

41 replies

tensmum1964 · 02/05/2021 20:36

Sorry not an AIBU but would very much appreciate your opinions. I have to go to Canterbury in Kent for a few days for work in July. I was thinking of adding a few days on to the trip and getting my partner and daughter to meet me there for a short break. Is Canterbury a nice place for a mini break? I was thinking a few nice meals out, trips to the beach , interesting places to visit etc. Anyone know Canterbury well that could share their thoughts. Thank you in advance

OP posts:
RickiTarr · 02/05/2021 20:43

It’s a lovely city. Very compact & walkable. Six miles from Whitstable. There are a couple of very nice hotels at the Westgate end of town (sorry, names escape me). Everything is so close together, you could spend a couple of days just wandering and stopping where you fancy and another at the coast. Lovely shops, the cathedral, some historic sites, almost too much choice of places to eat. The Canterbury Tales “experience” is cute. Also boating trips and bus tours available. I’d do it.

MamaPriory · 02/05/2021 20:46

It's wonderful. One of my favourite places. If I could live there I would.
The hotel the previous poster is missing is abode.

UserEleventyNine · 02/05/2021 21:03

When in July? The Open Golf is on in Sandwich in July; you might want to avoid being in the area then. Other than that, this summer might be a good time to go; normally Canterbury is full of students (two universities) and French school parties.

But yes, definitely enough to do for a short break. The Cathedral is one of those 'everyone should see at least once' sights.

And lots of places to visit nearby. If you don't want to be bothered with a car, there are buses going in all directions, thanks to the Roman road network. Double deckers, so you get good views over the lovely countryside.

I love East Kent in the sunshine! When I was in my teens it was my ambition to live in Canterbury, but when I came to buy a house, I couldn't afford it, and it was too far from London to suit my lifestyle at the time.

AtLeastThreeDrinks · 02/05/2021 21:18

It’s lovely! Get yourself on a river boat tour, they’re very entertaining and give a good history of the city. I imagine there are free walking tours now too, I always love doing those on city breaks.

Lots of lovely indie restaurants. See what’s on at the Marlowe Theatre. Have afternoon tea at Tiny Tim’s. Walk the city walls and climb Westgate tower. I’m pretty sure there are routes you can find online that take you on a “sculpture walk” around the city, a good way to explore and get to know it. It’s really a small city so perfect for exploring on foot. Westgate Gardens is lovely for ice cream by the river. Pootle around the cobbled streets and stop at the Chocolate Cafe for treats.

Definitely a day trip to Whitstable (drive or the bus route is basically a straight line from the city centre!) for fish and chips on the seafront. And loads of lovely sandy beaches a bit farther afield.

tensmum1964 · 02/05/2021 21:21

Thank you. It sounds lovely and perfect for a short break. I think I will definitely add a few days on to the trip now.

OP posts:
Vulgarlady · 02/05/2021 21:23

The Falstaff is a nice hotel and there is a lovely new shop in the Marlowe arcade selling local crafts and artworks

RandomMess · 02/05/2021 21:26

I've only been for a day, absolutely want to go back it's lovely.

MolyHolyGuacamole · 02/05/2021 21:31

It's a lovely town. No idea when boat rides will come back but that's a nice thing to do, give the ruins a quick visit and also near to Whistable which is worth a visit as well. Also Deal and Dover!

3totheright4totheleft · 02/05/2021 21:32

There is a museum called the Booth (I think) which is great for kids.

FizzyPink · 02/05/2021 21:36

Definitely take a day trip to Whitstable and eat at the lobster shack

Great restaurants in Canterbury -
Cafe des Amis (Mexican at the Westgate where you can also pick up a boat trip down the river)
A la Turka
The Ambrette (really lovely sophisticated Indian)
The Refectory (breakfast/brunch)
The Goods Shed (next to Canterbury west station, you can buy lovely fresh produce or have a meal/snack)

You might also like to have a day trip to Folkestone, easy drive or bus (number 16 from the town centre). The harbour arm is now lovely and in the nice part of town (down by the sea front) there’s lots of lovely shops/cafes

CrumbleLady · 02/05/2021 21:41

@3totheright4totheleft - you might be thinking of The Beaney museum?

Sn0tnose · 02/05/2021 22:15

The Canterbury Tales “experience” is cute I think that closed permanently last year.

The Falstaff is a nice hotel Agree with this, and they do fabulous cocktails. It’s in between the train station and the city centre. Less than five minutes walk from both.

Obviously there’s the cathedral, which you absolutely cannot miss. Howletts is just down the road, punting tours are really good fun (keep an eye out for the ducking stool as you look over the bridge next to Weavers restaurant). The cricket ground is nearby and often holds big games and other large events, you have the Marlowe & the Gulbenkian theatres, there are more bars, pubs and restaurants than you can shake a stick at and most of them are in incredibly old buildings with loads of history and most do nice food (if you have any vegans, try the Lady Luck pub for lunch. It’s a bit alternative but the staff are absolutely lovely and their food is really nice for a typical pub lunch).

The bus station is in the centre of town and you can take a ride along the coast roads. Folkestone cobbled high street and the Harbour Arm aren’t bad. Hythe is next to Folkestone and is a lovely little town. You can hire rowing boats or pedalos to go down the military canal (it’s not deep). Ashford is... better than it used to be. There are big plans in the offing for the future but there’s not much to attract tourists. Same goes for Dover, except they do have the castle, which is a fantastic day out. You can walk along the Wye downs. There are vineyards coming out of our ears. Leeds castle is just up the road and they have a golf course and Go Ape etc.

Bearnecessity · 02/05/2021 22:20

Also Howletts Zoo down that way......great day out...

Also Broadstairs nearby for a great seaside day out...

UserEleventyNine · 02/05/2021 22:22

The Falstaff is a nice hotel Agree with this, and they do fabulous cocktails. It’s in between the train station and the city centre.

That's the West station. There are two railway stations in Canterbury, and they're on different lines, going to different places. If you're travelling by train, you need to know which one you want.

katscamel · 02/05/2021 22:42

I guess I'm suffering from that 'when you've lived somewhere for years it loses its charm' factor.
If the weather is nice then the Westgate Gardens are lovely and Tower House will probably be doing teas etc on the patio bit. A river trip is an option, you can't miss the guys selling trips.
There are a couple of museums...if they've managed to stay open - the Beaney in the library and the Roman Museum... and I suppose in a way you could see the Cathedral as a museum. Think its pretty expensive unless you go in for the evening service in which case its free. Unfortunately the Canterbury Tales closed down last year.
The nicer part of town is down near the Westgate with more independent shops and cafes and older style buildings. If wanting to do a tour then start at the bus station ... head towards the Dane John and up to the monument at the top. Out the park at the other side and you'll get to the castle (pile of old rocks all fenced off). On the other side of town there is whats called The Kings Mile, again, some good independent shops and of course the house with the crooked door).
Not sure what will be happening this year but there have been a couple of fun gin trails (free gin ... yay) and the food festival.
Nearby, if you have time Whitstable is a favourite of mine, Horsebridge Centre often have exhibitions and the walk from there to Herne Bay is lovely.
Faversham is quite nice as well and home of Shepherd Neame, who have/had a brewery tour.
You'll be lucky as there won't be as many summer school teenagers around this year (there are usually at least 6 summer schools based in Canterbury with students left to roam the streets asking people to complete questionnaires etc.... sorry everyone, I was one of those teachers ).

Mowly75 · 02/05/2021 22:52

Good thread! I am nearby & this is inspiring me to get out and do stuff again. If you go to Whitstable, which you should, fish and chips from VC Jones on Harbour Street is a must. They’re closed Mondays though.

tensmum1964 · 03/05/2021 13:17

Thank you everyone. Some great information and recommendations on here. Looks like a mini break in Canterbury is in order Smile

OP posts:
GreenDahlia · 03/05/2021 13:21

Ooh how lovely, I was taken to Canterbury as a child, the astonishment of the beauty stayed with me. Enjoy your few days 🌸

poppycat10 · 03/05/2021 13:23

Yes it is a lovely city, Kent is a pretty county. As well as Canterbury itself there are other pretty towns like Tenterden (nice vineyard just outside), Rye (not Kent but East Sussex but not too far away) and castles at Deal and Walmer, to name a few places.

Whitstable is a bit "Cornwall on the Medway" (though actually it's nowhere near the Medway! but you get the idea!). Rochester, which is on the Medway, is quite nice too.

As well as buses there is a good train network - Canterbury has two stations.

AdaColeman · 03/05/2021 13:30

Look out for Gypsy tart, a delicious local delicacy to try.

UserEleventyNine · 03/05/2021 13:38

Gypsy tart was a staple of school dinners in the past. I didn't know it was specific to Kent until many years later, when a friend from outside Kent who had heard of it asked me about it. Doubt you'd see it on a school dinner menu today - not a healthy ingredient anywhere near it!

WellIWasInTheNeighbourhoo · 03/05/2021 14:39

Fordwich Arms is very nice for a special meal

bungaloid · 03/05/2021 14:52

It's got everything all in a very nice walkable distance. KFC, Burger King, McDonald's at one end. Go upmarket with Nandos or Five Guys at the other end. The best bit, is that whether you are at Westgate or Burgate there's no worries, as there is a Wetherspoons at each location.

UserEleventyNine · 03/05/2021 15:18

The best bit, is that whether you are at Westgate or Burgate there's no worries, as there is a Wetherspoons at each location.

Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin

Tanaqui · 03/05/2021 15:23

There was a great cafe called Kitsch down near Westgate, was my favourite place for breakfast, but I don't know if it has made it through covid Sad

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